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Unit information: Dissertation with fieldwork or community placement in 2021/22

Unit name Dissertation with fieldwork or community placement
Unit code THRS30046
Credit points 40
Level of study H/6
Teaching block(s) Teaching Block 4 (weeks 1-24)
Unit director Dr. Lomi
Open unit status Not open




School/department Department of Religion and Theology
Faculty Faculty of Arts

Description including Unit Aims

This variant of the dissertation gives students the opportunity to combine their academic learning with practical experience of field-work or community-based placement. The students are supported to make contact and establish relationships with their chosen area of field-work / placement, and to formulate research questions enabling them to engage with the field-work / placement in a scholarly context. The students will experience first hand the interaction of religion, society and academia in their chosen community or placement and are encouraged to reflect on this in both their portfolio and dissertation. This unit aims to help students plan ahead for a career after graduation and to enhance their employability by providing opportunities to network and to develop a range of practical and transferable skills, such as effective communication, presentation, negotiation and teamwork.

Students will have the opportunity to present their work to non-specialist audiences and to organize elements of an academic event.

Students are also introduced to higher level research and scholarly cutting edge material by fortnightly attendance at the department's research seminars.

Suggestions for locations in Bristol and beyond include:

  • Downside Abbey, Bath
  • Bristol &South Gloucestershire Methodist Circuit
  • UoB Multifaith Chaplaincy
  • Clifton Diocese (Catholic)
  • St Peters Hospice Chaplaincy
  • Buddhapadipa Thai Temple (Wimbledon)
  • The Buddhavihara Temple Kings Bromley, Staffordshire
  • Amaravati Buddhist Temple The Hindu Temple, Bristol
  • Places of Worship Bristol
  • Bristol Synagogue (Park Row)
  • Bristol Mosques (Central and Jamia)


To familiarise students with some of the central debates in contemporary philosophy of religion

To develop students’ ability to offer their own assessment of the key philosophical issues to which these discussions give rise

To develop skills in philosophical reading, writing and argumentation

Intended Learning Outcomes

On successful completion of this unit students will be able to:

  1. demonstrate research skills through the production an extended piece of independent research in accordance with level H;
  2. form their own research questions;
  3. work with both secondary and primary resources and draw reasoned and considered conclusions from them;
  4. work with a community and be able to think holistically and creatively about contemporary conditions of uncertainty and complexity (assessed by portfolio part a)
  5. critically evaluate their own and others’ values, attitudes and behaviours in relation to religious issues and to determine what constitutes ethical responsibility in relation to such issues;
  6. reflect on their learning in the field and be able to explain and justify their actions and behaviour, in relation to other (perhaps opposing) viewpoints, principles, or beliefs with respect to religious and cultural issues;
  7. present their work to non-specialist audiences and to organize elements of an academic event.

Teaching Information

Teaching will involve a combination of seminars, workshops, group meetings and 1-2-1 supervision. Students will be expected to attend fortnightly seminars and regular workshops, engage with readings for their chosen topics and participate in a half day conference. Students will be supported in their work with tutor and peer feedback.

Assessment Information

1 x 7,000 word dissertation project (including footnotes) (70%) [ILOs 1-6]

1 x 3,000 word portfolio consisting of: (a) analysis of place, situation or event; (b) structured interview and (c) reflective account. (30%) [ILOs 4, 5, 6]

1 x 300-word reflective piece based on organisation and participation of research at annual UG/MArts conference (formative) [ILO 7]


If this unit has a Resource List, you will normally find a link to it in the Blackboard area for the unit. Sometimes there will be a separate link for each weekly topic.

If you are unable to access a list through Blackboard, you can also find it via the Resource Lists homepage. Search for the list by the unit name or code (e.g. THRS30046).

How much time the unit requires
Each credit equates to 10 hours of total student input. For example a 20 credit unit will take you 200 hours of study to complete. Your total learning time is made up of contact time, directed learning tasks, independent learning and assessment activity.

See the Faculty workload statement relating to this unit for more information.

The Board of Examiners will consider all cases where students have failed or not completed the assessments required for credit. The Board considers each student's outcomes across all the units which contribute to each year's programme of study. If you have self-certificated your absence from an assessment, you will normally be required to complete it the next time it runs (this is usually in the next assessment period).
The Board of Examiners will take into account any extenuating circumstances and operates within the Regulations and Code of Practice for Taught Programmes.