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Study information

Dissertation in Medieval Studies

Module titleDissertation in Medieval Studies
Module codeHISM180
Academic year2023/4
Module staff
Duration: Term123
Duration: Weeks



Number students taking module (anticipated)


Module description

The dissertation is the most substantial piece of work you will produce on your MA, and for many students it is one of the most challenging and rewarding parts of the course. It is your opportunity to research a topic of your own choosing, subject to approval by your supervisor(s), and to produce a long and original piece of independent research. You can either pursue a topic which falls within one of the disciplines covered by the MA in Medieval Studies, or you can take an interdisciplinary approach: for example, a dissertation which crosses over History and Archaeology or Literature and History. If you are thinking of going on to doctoral study, you can also use the Dissertation as a pilot project for your proposed PhD topic.

Module aims - intentions of the module

This module allows you to pursue an individual programme of research on a topic chosen by you and approved by your supervisor and the programme director. It aims to develop your skills at independent research at a high scholarly level. As well as choosing and researching their topic, you will be asked to demonstrate the significance and originality of your topic within the research field; to use an appropriate range of primary and secondary resources; and to use appropriate methodologies and theoretical approaches to set your topic in its historical, cultural and other relevant contexts. The module also requires you to demonstrate your abilities to analyse, synthesise and present cogent arguments in accordance with the academic parameters of a dissertation and to use proper systems of referencing, citation and bibliography.

Intended Learning Outcomes (ILOs)

ILO: Module-specific skills

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

  • 1. Display an advanced knowledge of a discipline or disciplines within Medieval Studies
  • 2. Review and engage with previous research into both the subject matter of the dissertation and the specialist field to which it relates
  • 3. Identify a suitable topic of research and produce a plan for its execution

ILO: Discipline-specific skills

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

  • 4. Assimilate and critically analyse primary and published sources
  • 5. Present a clearly structured, logically argued and well written dissertation with a full scholarly apparatus appropriate to the discipline chosen
  • 6. Produce a piece of original research that demonstrates attention to concepts, to detail, and to argument

ILO: Personal and key skills

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

  • 7. Demonstrate independent work that engages with core aspects of a higher degree course
  • 8. Write fluently and cogently within word and time limits

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:

  • Workshops to introduce you to the core requirements of the dissertation as an independent research project
  • You will submit a dissertation proposal, outlining your proposed topic of research, methodology and primary sources
  • You will be assigned to a suitable supervisor for your project based on your dissertation proposal
  • Your allocated dissertation supervisor will meet with you in a series of individual tutorials, giving specific advice on the research topic and the writing up of the dissertation

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 teaching6Individual supervision
Guided independent study594Research and writing of dissertation

Formative assessment

Form of assessmentSize of the assessment (eg length / duration)ILOs assessedFeedback method
Reading of draft chapter(s)Up to 25% of word limit1-8Oral and written feedback
Reading of detailed plan of the dissertation1-3 sides of A41-8Oral and written feedback

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
Dissertation10015,000 words1-8After submission of the dissertation, you will be able to collect a marked copy of the dissertation, with comments from the first marker

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

Original form of assessmentForm of re-assessmentILOs re-assessedTimescale for re-assessment
Dissertation (15,000 words)Dissertation (15,000 words)1-8Referral/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 50%) you will be required to submit a further assessment as necessary. The mark given for a re-assessment taken as a result of referral will be capped at 50%.

Indicative learning resources - Basic reading

The reading list will depend on the topic chosen for the individual dissertation.

Indicative learning resources - Web based and electronic resources

Key words search

Medieval studies, dissertation, independent study

Credit value60
Module ECTS


Module pre-requisites


Module co-requisites


NQF level (module)


Available as distance learning?


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Last revision date