Dissertation (TRU3032)

StaffDr Kate Hext - Convenor
Credit Value30
ECTS Value15
NQF Level6
Pre-requisites120 credits at level 2
Duration of Module Term 2: 11 weeks;

Module aims

The module aims to:

  • Enable you to operate independently and responsibly, and take a positive and active role in your learning, in the service of the production of a sustained piece of critical work
  • Support your research development through a structured programme of lectures and workshops that addresses both practical and conceptual aspects of the research process, as well as through traditional one-to-one supervisions focusing specifically on your project
  • View your research projects as part of a process that is founded upon conceptual as well as methodological, expository, and bibliographic training
  • The training provided in lectures/workshops and also in specifically tailored supervision meetings involves the production of a formative portfolio of writing that feeds directly into the extended dissertation essay itself

ILO: Module-specific skills

  • 1. Demonstrate in-depth knowledge of the chosen subject, building appropriately on the work completed during the earlier years of your programme
  • 2. Demonstrate a capacity for independent study and self-directed inquiry and research
  • 3. Identify and pursue appropriate, subject specific questions
  • 4. Reflect upon research methodologies. Draft, revise and edit written work accordingly.

ILO: Discipline-specific skills

  • 5. Analyse the chosen literature and to relate its concerns and its modes of expression to its historical context
  • 6. Interrelate texts and discourses specific to their own discipline with issues in the wider context of cultural and intellectual history
  • 7. Understand and analyse relevant theoretical ideas, and to apply these ideas to literary texts

ILO: Personal and key skills

  • 8. Demonstrate appropriate research and bibliographic skills
  • 9. Select and develop an appropriate research topic
  • 10. Construct a coherent, substantiated argument at an advanced level
  • 11. Write clear and correct prose

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:


Following examinations in Year 2 Term 3, students attend the dissertation forum. They then have the vacation and Year 3 Term 1 to consider their area of focus and to discuss it with one or more members of staff. By the Term 1 deadline (end of November), students must submit a completed ‘General Area of Study’ Form, which outlines their proposed area of interest and the kinds of project that they might develop in relation to existing scholarship in this area. Students are strongly recommended to work within the expertise of staff within the Department. Based as much as possible on stated areas of interest, students are assigned to an individual supervisor in Week 10 Term 1.

Term 2

In weeks 1-2, the supervisor will hold the first of 3 supervision sessions, which may be a group supervision. The two remaining supervision sessions will take place during Term 2 by arrangement between the student and supervisor. They will be initiated by the student in response to their own assessment of their pace, progress, and needs. Also in Term 2, alongside individual supervision sessions, students attend weekly (x10) workshops/lectures, which may cover topics such as Choosing the Best Topic, 2. Beginning your Dissertation, Choosing a ‘Style Sheet’, Conducting Theoretical Research, Conducting Material Research, Writing a Literature Review, Establishing Argument and Building Structure.

Abstracts, and Editing, and include an optional Workshop

Over the course of the 11 weeks, students will have chances to produce and workshop the discrete   elements that together form their formative portfolio (literature review, critical intervention statement, abstract), as well as to discuss these documents with their supervisor in supervision sessions. By the Term 2 deadline (late March) students may elect to submit (online) a formative portfolio and extract, on which the supervisor will offer feedback. This constitutes the formative coursework for the module. The extract constitutes formative coursework for the module. At the same time, the final title confirmation form should be submitted.

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 teaching10Lectures
Guided independent study286Private Study
Guided independent study4Supervisions

Formative assessment

Form of assessmentSize of the assessment (eg length / duration)ILOs assessedFeedback method
Extract from Dissertation2000 words1-11Oral and written feedback in supervision meetings
Portfolio2000 words1-11Oral and written feedback in supervision meetings

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 words1-11Written feedback

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

Original form of assessmentForm of re-assessmentILOs re-assessedTimescale for re-assessment
Dissertation Dissertation 1-11Referral/Deferral period

Re-assessment notes

Same as above but in the reassessment period.

Indicative learning resources - Basic reading

  • Students are asked to purchase: MLA Handbook for Writers of Research Papers, 7th ed. (MLA, 2009)

Module has an active ELE page?


Indicative learning resources - Web based and electronic resources


Indicative learning resources - Other resources

  • Other resources to be developed, under direction, by the student
  • Module supported by dedicated site on the Exeter Learning Environment (e-learning platform)

Available as distance learning?


Origin date


Last revision date