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Study information

Dissertation in History

Module titleDissertation in History
Module codeHISM400
Academic year2024/5
Module staff

Dr David Thackeray (Lecturer)

Duration: Term123
Duration: Weeks



Number students taking module (anticipated)


Module description

This module allows you to develop and pursue a piece of original research, based on analysis of original sources. With the advice and support of your supervisor you will use the use the skills and knowledge you have acquired in the taught modules to undertake a substantial piece of original research. It follows on from HISM016, which is intended to provide you with the skills to draft a detailed dissertation proposal.

Module aims - intentions of the module

This module will allow you to pursue an individual programme of research on a research topic of your choosing approved by the module co-ordinator in conjunction with your individual supervisor.  

  • You will identify a suitable topic for research and produce a plan for its execution
  • Complete an extended review of the existing scholarship and key debates surrounding the subject-matter of the dissertation and the field(s) to which it relates
  • Identify and collate original and secondary sources related to the topic of research
  • Identify and apply appropriate critical and historical methodologies
  • Demonstrate your ability to construct a coherent, substantiated and sophisticated argument in both clear and correct prose.

Intended Learning Outcomes (ILOs)

ILO: Module-specific skills

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

  • 1. Identify a suitable topic for research, to produce a plan for its execution
  • 2. Demonstrate your ability to complete an extended review of the secondary sources and key debates surrounding both the subject-matter of the dissertation and the specialist field to which it relates
  • 3. Identify and collate information from original and secondary sources related to the topic of research
  • 4. Apply appropriate methodologies
  • 5. Demonstrate your ability to draw conclusions based on the analysis of sources gathered

ILO: Discipline-specific skills

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

  • 6. Demonstrate your ability to assimilate and critically analyse primary and published sources
  • 7. Demonstrate your ability to present a clearly structured, logically argued and well written dissertation with a full scholarly apparatus
  • 8. Demonstrate your ability to complete a detailed historiographical survey investigating relevant literature and analysing the key debates within the specialist field
  • 9. Demonstrate your ability to apply key skills (archival, bibliographical, linguistic, palaeographical) where appropriate

ILO: Personal and key skills

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

  • 10. Demonstrate the capacity to research a topic independently
  • 11. Show the ability to condense large quantities and diverse types of information into coherent argument

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:

Seminars on the pre-requisite, HISM016, Advanced Historical Research Skills, introduce you to the requirements and scope of the dissertation, including the dissertation proposal.

Summer Term:

Allocated dissertation supervisors provide individual tutorials giving specific advice on a research topic; a minimum 6 hours of tutorials are offered 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
Draft chapter Up to 25% of word limit1-11Oral 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
Dissertation10015000 words1-11Written

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

Original form of assessmentForm of re-assessmentILOs re-assessedTimescale for re-assessment
DissertationDissertation1-11Referral/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 dissertation is predicated on independent research agreed between you and your supervisor. While somewhat dependent on research topic, this is likely to require extensive use of web-based archival and library materials as well as consultation of electronic material available online.

Indicative learning resources - Web based and electronic resources

Indicative learning resources - Other resources

Advanced Historical Research Skills module materials; online archival resources, document collections and Library collections of archival materials and published documents.

Key words search

Dissertation, History

Credit value60
Module ECTS


Module pre-requisites

HISM016 Advanced Historical Research Skills

Module co-requisites


NQF level (module)


Available as distance learning?


Origin date


Last revision date