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Study information

Dissertation in History

Module titleDissertation in History
Module codeHISM403
Academic year2024/5
Module staff

Dr Gregory Lippiatt (Convenor)

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

  • To pursue an individual programme of research applying appropriate principles and methodologies to a research topic approved by the programme director and their individual supervisor. To complete a detailed historiographical survey of the literature and debates pertinent to the selected dissertation topic.

Intended Learning Outcomes (ILOs)

ILO: Module-specific skills

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

  • 1. To identify a suitable topic of historical research, to produce a plan for its execution
  • 2. 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. To identify and collate information from primary and secondary sources related to the topic of research
  • 4. To apply appropriate historical methodologies
  • 5. 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. Ability to assimilate and critically analyse primary and published sources
  • 7. Presentation of a clearly structured, logically argued and well written dissertation with a full scholarly apparatus
  • 8. Completion of a detailed historiographical survey investigating relevant literature and analysing the key debates within the specialist field
  • 9. Application of key bibliographical and archival skills (including the use of on-line aids)

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:

Second term:

Seminars on the Core Module, Advanced Historical Research Skills, introduce you to the requirements and scope of the dissertation, and include one session devoted to consideration of an outline proposal.

Spring and Summer Terms:

Allocated dissertation supervisors provide an individual tutorial giving specific advice on a research topic; minimum four further 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 teaching6Supervision sessions
Guided independent study894Private study

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
Dissertation 10025000 words1-11Prior to submission, you are entitled to nine hours of supervision from your supervisor, and may ask your supervisor to read draft work to a maximum of 25% of the dissertation word limit. After submission of the dissertation, you will be able to collect a marked copy of the dissertation, with comments from the first marker

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 particular dissertation.

The 25000 word 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 journals, JSTOR, etc, 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.

Credit value90
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