Dissertation in History (HISM400)

StaffDr Tawny Paul - Convenor
Credit Value60
ECTS Value30
NQF Level7
Pre-requisitesHISM016 Advanced Historical Research Skills
Duration of Module Term 2: 11 weeks; Term 3: 11 weeks;

Module aims

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.

ILO: Module-specific skills

  • 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

  • 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

  • 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

Seminars on the pre-requisite, HISM016, Advanced Historical Research Skills, introduce students 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 teaching activities6Individual supervision
Guided independent study594Research and writing of dissertation

Formative assessment

Form of assessmentSize of the assessment (eg length / duration)ILOs assessedFeedback method
Draft chapter 5000 words 1-11Oral 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
Dissertation10020,000 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
DissertationDissertation1-11As specified by exam board

Indicative learning resources - Basic reading

The dissertation is predicated on independent research agreed between student and 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. Other resources: Advanced Historical Research Skills module materials; online archival resources, document collections and Library collections of archival materials and published documents.

Module has an active ELE page?


Available as distance learning?


Origin date


Last revision date

July 2012

Key words search

Dissertation, History