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Unit information: Dissertation in 2021/22

Unit name Dissertation
Unit code MUSIM1000
Credit points 60
Level of study M/7
Teaching block(s) Academic Year (weeks 1 - 52)
Unit director Professor. Hornby
Open unit status Not open




School/department Department of Music
Faculty Faculty of Arts

Description including Unit Aims

For the final project, students will research and submit a dissertation or critical edition on a research topic or work agreed with the supervisor. The dissertation should be 15,000 words, excluding footnotes and bibliography. For a critical edition, you should provide a transcription of a substantial corpus of music from any repertoire, together with scholarly preface and/or commentary (in the style of a Musica Britannica edition) of around 5,000 words.

You will receive a maximum of six hours of one-to-one supervision with your tutor throughout Teaching Block 2. Tutors will look at sample drafts and chapters during the summer vacation and advise where necessary, but they will not read the final submission in its entirety.

Intended Learning Outcomes

This module measures general learning outcomes for the MA in Music as follows:

(1) demonstrate knowledge and understanding of editorial techniques relevant to the notation of ‘early’ music and their reproduction in modern form; methodologies for the interpretation of primary source materials in relation to contexts such as compositional process and performance practice; sketch studies including works by living composers

(2) Demonstrate a detailed awareness of certain repertoires, verbally and in writing, by means of historical, critical or analytical investigation

(3) Synthesize a broad range of material (sometimes of a complex nature) and present the findings coherently, demonstrating a professional level of competence in appropriate bibliographic skills

(4) Demonstrate familiarity with a range of methodologies (including those imported from other disciplines)

(5) Display a sincerity of belief in particular ideas and methodologies, yet retaining a sympathy for and tolerance towards alternatives

(6) Be able to identify subtly different shades of interpretation and display sensitivity towards the consequences of their application

(7) As appropriate, to apply the various methodologies introduced in the historical, critical, analytical and editorial strands of the programme in the researching and presentation of an extended dissertation on an approved topic

(8) As a Russian Music or Medieval Music pathway student, to be able to situate their study of music in a wider context, showing a broad understanding of the relevant cultural history and major issues in studying the musical repertoire

(9) experience in seeing a project through from conception to planning, blueprint realisation, and execution

Teaching Information

One-to-one supervision

Assessment Information

(a) 15,000 word dissertation, excluding footnotes and bibliography. Successful attainment of outcome (9) will enable the student to demonstrate (2)-(5), (7) and (where relevant) (8). A successful dissertation will also embody (6).


(b) For a critical edition, you should provide a transcription of a substantial corpus of music from any repertoire, together with scholarly preface and/or commentary (in the style of a Musica Britannica edition) of around 5,000 words. Outcome (1) is strongly measured in this assessment, which draws on (7) as well, relying on (9). Outcomes (2)-(4) will be demonstrated. A successful edition will also show outcome (6)


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. MUSIM1000).

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.