Module Information

Module Identifier
Module Title
Academic Year
Semester 2 (Taught over 2 semesters)
External Examiners
  • Dr Alice J Taylor (Reader - King's College London)
  • Mr William D Jones (Reader - (Formerly Cardiff University))
  • Professor Michael P Brown (Professor - University of Aberdeen)
Other Staff

Course Delivery

Delivery Type Delivery length / details
Lecture 1 x 1 Hour Lecture
Lecture 4 x 2 Hour Lectures


Assessment Type Assessment length / details Proportion
Semester Assessment 1 x 2,000 word research proposal  10%
Semester Assessment 1 x 12,000 word dissertation  90%
Supplementary Assessment 1 x 2,000 word supplementary (resit) research proposal  10%
Supplementary Assessment 1 x 12,000 word supplementary (resit) dissertation  90%

Learning Outcomes

On successful completion of this module students should be able to:

Organise and present a historical argument based on independent research

Develop their ability to manage their time and work to deadlines

Display a critical understanding of relevant historical literature

Produce an extended piece of work to accepted academic standards


The Dissertation is an essential core element in the single honours programmes in the Department. It enables students to develop independent research skills, building on their previous learning experience within the Department. This module will guide students through the preparation, planning and writing of such an extended piece of historical writing.

Brief description

The first semester of this module provides students with a foundation for the planning and researching of their undergraduate dissertation. During the first semester, students will choose and define their topic, with the guidance of staff members, so that an individual supervisor may be allocated to them. Lectures and workshops will discuss the problems of selecting and refining a subject for study and of locating sources and producing bibliographies. After the end of Session 4, a supervisor will be designated for each student and the remaining sessions in the first semester will take the form of small group meetings with supervisors. Thereafter, students will receive individual supervision meetings as they proceed with the research and writing of the 12,000 dissertation.

Prerequisites: HY30020, HY30510 or HY30610


Semester 1
Session 1: Introduction to writing a dissertation (2 hours)
Session 2: Information technology and skills (2 hours)
Session 3: Sources and Research (2 hours)
Session 4: Defining the Topic: a workshop for students to discuss their ideas, in consultation with members of staff (2 hours)
Session 5: Individual meeting with designated supervisor (30 minutes)
Session 6: Sources (2 hours)
Session 7: Historigraphical Matters (2 hours)
Session 8: Planning (2 hours)

Semester 2
2 x 2 hour group sessions, one in Week 2 and one in Week 8, as well as individual meetings with supervisor

Module Skills

Skills Type Skills details
Application of Number This may be relevant if the dissertation has a particular quantitative or statistical element, for instance on a topic relating to the study of demography or economic history.
Communication This will be developed through discussions in the workshop, seminars and tutorials with other students and the supervisor on potential problems and their solutions, as well as in the writing of such an extended piece of work.
Improving own Learning and Performance Students are expected to organise their work and manage their time in order to meet the deadline for submission. They will also need to reflect critically on their progress in order to formulate their ideas and report to their supervisor.
Information Technology Students will be encouraged to use bibliographical and search databases and to locate suitable material on the web in order to apply it appropriately to their own work, as well as word-processing their work.
Personal Development and Career planning The module will develop an awareness of personal skills and qualities, along with a direct experience of planning and presenting a piece of historical work which may be of use for a future career.
Problem solving Identify problems and factors which might influence potential solutions; develop creative thinking approaches to problem solving; evaluate advantages and disadvantages of potential solutions.
Research skills The dissertation will be based on original, independent research and the development of effective research skills are an essential element of the module.
Subject Specific Skills The module will develop the students¿ skills in producing a substantial piece of work, demonstrating a familiarity will the historical context and an awareness of the publishing conventions for the discipline.
Team work


This module is at CQFW Level 6