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Study information

Liberal Arts Dissertation

Module titleLiberal Arts Dissertation
Module codeLIB3000
Academic year2019/0
Module staff

Mike Finn (Convenor)

Duration: Term123
Duration: Weeks



Number students taking module (anticipated)


Module description

This module provides an opportunity to carry out independent research in sustained way on a chosen topic. The dissertation is written in your final year of undergraduate study, and will allow you to put to use the intellectual, critical and academic skills you have acquired throughout the Liberal Arts programme, by thinking at length about a question that is of particular interest to you. 

Module aims - intentions of the module

This core module provides an opportunity for students to:

  • carry out independent research in a sustained way on a topic chosen by the student (with guidance)
  • to present the findings of research in an extended piece of academic written prose

Intended Learning Outcomes (ILOs)

ILO: Module-specific skills

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

  • 1. research and write at length, in an independent and self-critical way, about a self-selected topic in Liberal Arts
  • 2. synthesize and make critical use of interdisciplinary approaches
  • 3. demonstrate intellectual flexibility through the practice of a variety of complementary methods of study

ILO: Discipline-specific skills

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

  • 4. demonstrate a sophisticated ability to analyse texts, images or other data, to think critically, and to present ideas persuasively and cogently
  • 5. demonstrate a critical ability to interrelate texts, images (or other data) and discourses specific to their own discipline with issues in the wider context of cultural and intellectual history and debate
  • 6. demonstrate the ability to create a persuasive argument in a sustained and critical essay

ILO: Personal and key skills

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

  • 7. undertake independent research within broad guidelines
  • 8. shape information independently into a coherent and creative account
  • 9. make critical and independent use of written sources
  • 10. communicate clearly in a sustained written form

Syllabus plan

1. Proposal

A provisional broad topic for your dissertation must be decided at the end of Stage 2 in consultation with your academic advisor, who will appoint a supervisor to work with you. Staff will help define the topic in detail and give assistance with bibliography.

2. Supervision

You will receive feedback on your proposal from your assigned supervisor. Throughout the year you should keep in contact with your supervisor in order to maintain a realistic work schedule, but the maximum time allowed for consulting your supervisor is three hours. These hours will include initial discussion of an appropriate topic, title, contents and research material. Your supervisor will comment on one draft of each chapter in turn, or one draft of the whole dissertation.

3. PowerPoint presentation

In January you will be expected to deliver a PowerPoint presentation on the topic of your dissertation to a small group of staff and students, which will constitute 15% of your mark for this module. This process is designed to ensure that you have a clear central argument or thesis to your dissertation, and that you have been exposed to a wide range of possible questions or challenges to that argument or thesis.

4. Writing and presenting your dissertation

Further details will be available in the Liberal Arts handbook.  

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 teaching3Supervisions
Scheduled learning and teaching1Presentations
Scheduled learning and teaching1Dissertation information session
Guided independent study295Research, planning, preparation and management of the dissertation project

Formative assessment

Form of assessmentSize of the assessment (eg length / duration)ILOs assessedFeedback method
Draft chaptersUp to 12000 words in total1-10Written comments on draft

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
Presentation1515 minutes2-9Written and oral feedback
Dissertation8510000-12000 words1-10Written and oral feedback

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

Original form of assessmentForm of re-assessmentILOs re-assessedTimescale for re-assessment
PresentationPresentation2-9To be arranged individually with module team
DissertationDissertation1-10Refer/Defer period

Indicative learning resources - Basic reading

As determined by the research subject.

Indicative learning resources - Web based and electronic resources

As directed by module convenor.

Key words search

Dissertation, Research, Liberal Arts, Interdisciplinary

Credit value30
Module ECTS


Module pre-requisites

Two from LIB1101, LIB1102, LIB1103

NQF level (module)


Available as distance learning?


Origin date


Last revision date