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Study information

General Third-Year Dissertation

Module titleGeneral Third-Year Dissertation
Module codeHIH3005
Academic year2024/5
Module staff

Professor Dora Vargha (Convenor)

Duration: Term123
Duration: Weeks



Number students taking module (anticipated)


Module description

The History Dissertation module gives you the opportunity to undertake independent source-based research on a topic of your choice. Over the course of your final year, you will research and write an extended essay based on the analysis of primary sources. Although the onus is on you to identify and research your own chosen area, you are assigned a supervisor from the Department to advise and guide you through the process. The dissertation allows you to put into practice the key skills of source analysis, argumentation and independent study that you have learnt at levels 1 and 2, and represents the culmination of your training as a historian. The dissertation is your chance to pursue original research, to offer a contribution to the field and to add your voice to the debate!

The dissertation is compulsory for all final-year Single Honours History students and may be opted for by final-year Combined Honours History students, provided that they have taken HIH2001 Doing History at level 2, as the dissertation builds on this module.

Module aims - intentions of the module

This module allows you to:

  • Identify an interesting and original research question on a specific topic
  • Engage with the historiography and scholarship relating to that topic
  • Locate and analyse appropriate primary sources; and to construct a coherent, extended argument based on this material
  • Put into practice all the skills that you have learnt and developed at levels 1 and 2
  • Develop an in-depth knowledge of your chosen area and the ability to interpret primary and secondary source material at quite a sophisticated level
  • Develop and demonstrate transferable skills including: the collection and analysis of a wide range and/or amount of data; the ability to work independently; and the ability to plan and pursue an extended research project

Intended Learning Outcomes (ILOs)

ILO: Module-specific skills

On successfully completing the module you will be able to...

  • 1. Develop and complete an independent research project
  • 2. Identify, locate and interpret appropriate primary sources
  • 3. Identify, locate and critically assess secondary literature
  • 4. Evaluate the reasons for changes in historiography
  • 5. Produce an extended piece of written work that pursues a clear and coherent argument
  • 6. Demonstrate in-depth knowledge of your chosen research area

ILO: Discipline-specific skills

On successfully completing the module you will be able to...

  • 7. Collate and critique data from a range of sources, both primary and secondary
  • 8. Critically assess the work of scholars and engage with historical debate
  • 9. Deploy historical terminology correctly

ILO: Personal and key skills

On successfully completing the module you will be able to...

  • 10. Plan and pursue a research project over a long time-period
  • 11. Work independently
  • 12. Manage your time effectively
  • 13. Collect and analyse large amounts of data
  • 14. Complete an extended piece of written work for a specific deadline and within a specified word-limit

Syllabus plan

Whilst the content may vary from year to year, it is envisioned that it will cover some or all of the following topics:

  • During the latter half of the academic year prior to their final year, you will be asked to identify, from a list of broad possibilities, an area which you might wish to study, and will then discuss its viability with the relevant member of staff.
  • Once a subject has been agreed, you will set to work to produce a piece of work which makes significant use of primary sources.
  • You will then research and write up your dissertation, with supervision on an individual basis.
  • You will submit a detailed research plan at the start of the first term of your final year, which will provide an outline of your main research question, the historiographical context of the project, and the proposed source base and methodology.
  • You will be entitled to a maximum of 1 hour of supervision to set up the dissertation subject, plus a further 3 hours maximum of consultation with the relevant tutor
  • The bulk of your time will be spent on private study, at the rate of 10 hours per week. Supervisors will be allowed to see and comment on either a detailed plan of the whole work or a draft version of up to 25 per cent of the whole (usually one chapter)

Learning activities and teaching methods (given in hours of study time)

Scheduled Learning and Teaching ActivitiesGuided independent studyPlacement / study abroad

Details of learning activities and teaching methods

CategoryHours of study timeDescription
Scheduled learning and teaching22 x 1 hour lectures
Scheduled learning and teaching1Initial consultation with supervisor to set up dissertation
Scheduled learning and teaching3Maximum individual consultation time with supervisor
Guided independent study294Private study at the rate of 10 hours per week

Formative assessment

Form of assessmentSize of the assessment (eg length / duration)ILOs assessedFeedback method
Detailed Research Plan (submitted via BART).1500 words1-4, 10, 11Oral and written

Summative assessment (% of credit)

CourseworkWritten examsPractical exams

Details of summative assessment

Form of assessment% of creditSize of the assessment (eg length / duration)ILOs assessedFeedback method
Dissertation1008000 words1-14Mark and written comments

Details of re-assessment (where required by referral or deferral)

Original form of assessmentForm of re-assessmentILOs re-assessedTimescale for re-assessment
DissertationDissertation 1-14Referral/Deferral period

Re-assessment notes

Deferral – if you miss an assessment for certificated reasons judged acceptable by the Mitigation Committee, you will normally be either deferred in the assessment or an extension may be granted. The mark given for a re-assessment taken as a result of deferral will not be capped and will be treated as it would be if it were your first attempt at the assessment.

Referral – if you have failed the module overall (i.e. a final overall module mark of less than 40%) you will be required to submit a further assessment as necessary. If you are successful on referral, your overall module mark will be capped at 40%.

Indicative learning resources - Basic reading

  • As appropriate to the topic chosen.

Indicative learning resources - Web based and electronic resources

Key words search

History, Dissertation

Credit value30
Module ECTS


Module pre-requisites

HIH2001 Doing History: Perspectives on Sources or HIH2237 Doing History in the Digital Age

Module co-requisites


NQF level (module)


Available as distance learning?


Origin date


Last revision date