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Unit information: English and History Dissertation in 2021/22

Unit name English and History Dissertation
Unit code HUMS30003
Credit points 40
Level of study H/6
Teaching block(s) Teaching Block 4 (weeks 1-24)
Unit director Dr. Matthews
Open unit status Not open




School/department School of Humanities
Faculty Faculty of Arts

Description including Unit Aims

The English and History Dissertation is an exercise in extended independent research. Students are required to identify their own topic, informed by their engagement with the disciplines of English and History. It is expected that they will deploy literary criticism and source analysis in their dissertations. Students will formulate questions to be asked, identify main primary sources, set the research questions in context of issues arising from the secondary literature, and carry through an analytical study to the highest standards. Guidance will be provided in the form of lectures on devising a research topic and using primary sources. Students will also be assigned a supervisor (from either the English Department or the History Department, depending on the disciplinary orientation of the project) who will discuss with them a draft dissertation proposal and an introductory chapter, as well as the particular challenges of the chosen topic. Students will receive guidance from their supervisors in meetings, which should not normally exceed three hours in each teaching block. Students are also free to consult other lecturers with relevant expertise.

Intended Learning Outcomes

By the end of the unit successful students will be able to demonstrate:

  1. a deep understanding of a chosen subject
  2. the ability to produce an extended piece of analysis in accordance with high scholarly standards
  3. advanced proficiency in identifying and in forming their own questions
  4. advanced bibliographical skills
  5. the ability to work with primary sources, demonstrating an awareness of the provenance and nature of those sources and how to draw reasoned and considered conclusions from them
  6. the ability to work almost entirely independently in producing an extended piece of research

Teaching Information

• A series of lectures (c.8-10 hours)
• regular small and medium-sized group meetings (c.6-10 hours)
• one-to-one tuition with the designated dissertation supervisor (up to 3 hours)
• access to tutorial consultation with academic staff in consultation hours

Assessment Information

10,000 word dissertation (100%). All intended learning outcomes identified above are assessed in this exercise.


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. HUMS30003).

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.