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Unit information: Special Field Project in 2015/16

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Unit name Special Field Project
Unit code HIST23008
Credit points 20
Level of study I/5
Teaching block(s) Teaching Block 2 (weeks 13 - 24)
Unit director Dr. Austin
Open unit status Not open




School/department Department of History (Historical Studies)
Faculty Faculty of Arts


The 5,000-word Special Field Primary Source Project (20 cp) is linked to the Special Field (20 cp) offered in TB2. It is designed to serve as a bridge between the Special Topic Project taken in 1st year and the Dissertation taken in the final year.

The project provides an opportunity to pursue a topic at greater length and depth than other essays written in the second year. A key component of the project is that it should engage with primary source materials (broadly defined). Students are, however, also expected to demonstrate how their analysis fits into and contributes to the existing literature in their field.

While projects are connected to Special Fields, it is important to understand that the project is a stand-alone 20 credit point unit, the assessment of which will be based entirely on the project submitted. Students will receive guidance from their supervisors in workshops and one-to-one meetings. This includes initial discussions about their prospective topics, guidance on source location and project development, and feedback tutorials following the handing back of the project. Students should therefore expect to spend about 200 hours attending project workshops, talking to their tutor, and researching and writing their project.


The unit enable students to research a particular aspect of their choice relating to their Special Field at greater depth and to develop their independent learning and research skills. It will also enable them to practice and develop the range of subject specific and key skills acquired through their engagement in their Special Topic and Special Field.

Intended learning outcomes

By the end of the unit students should have:

  • deepened their understanding of a particular aspect of their Special Field
  • achieved a greater integration between the various components of that Special Field
  • produced an extended piece of historical analysis in accordance with high scholarly standards
  • be more proficient in forming their own questions
  • have demonstrated that they can compile their own bibliography
  • 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
  • have a greater understanding of the process of independent learning and research and have a clearer understanding of their own developing capabilities in those areas.

Teaching details

  • 8 x 1-hour seminars
  • 2 one-to-one supervision tutorials with Special Field tutor  the first being to help define the Project, the second to provide feedback on it. Each tutorial would normally be expected to take about 20 minutes.
  • Access to additional tutorial consultation with unit tutor in office hours

Assessment Details

5000-word project.

Reading and References

The reading will depend on the precise topic chosen, but the bibliography will be constructed by the student in part from the Special Field handbook but students will be expected to show initiative in identifying and locating a wider range of sources, both primary and secondary.