Credit value: 30
Module coordinator: The Deputy Department Education Lead will allocate students to staff members according to their chosen topic
Assessment: a single piece of writing on a philosophical topic, maximum 10,000-words
Teaching arrangements: five one-hour one-to-one meetings with a suitable member of staff, plus a weekly dissertation seminar in Semester 2
Pre-requisites: The dissertation is available only for single- or combined-honours philosophy students
Students are reassessed in the failed elements of assessment and by the same methods as the first attempt.
IMPORTANT: please also see the dissertation supervision & advice page in the Student Handbook.
The Dissertation module allows a student to explore a single topic in philosophy at greater length, developing this topic in consultation with a faculty member (while also doing independent research). Students will produce a single piece of writing on a philosophical topic, maximum 10,000 words in length.
You will have five 1-hour one-to-one tutorials with your supervisor. Supervisions should take place during normal teaching periods in semesters 1 and 2. We expect you to spread your hours of supervision across the year – 2 or 3 hours in semester 1, and 2 or 3 in semester 2. The following is a rough guide to efficient work on the dissertation:
- In the first meeting you will work on developing the idea for the dissertation.
- In meetings 2 and 3 you will discuss key readings, draft sections, and/or an overall dissertation plan with your supervisor.
- In the final two meetings (4 and 5) you will look at polishing the complete draft.
In general: start early and meet regularly.
All students taking the module will be required to attend a weekly dissertation seminar in Semester 2 and make one presentation of their work.
Guidance on selecting the dissertation
Important information about the dissertation will be presented at the module choices fair (for date and time see link below). If you are considering taking the dissertation module, it is strongly recommended that you attend.
Choosing your modules (returning undergraduates - year two & three)
Those considering this module should bear in mind that if they choose the module as one of their options they will need to provide a ranking of up to four topics, from a specified list of topics offered (so they can be matched to a supervisor). You are welcome to discuss your ideas with prospective supervisors, or with your personal tutor, in advance, to help you choose your preferred topic(s).
This Level 6 module is worth 30, not 15, credits. Thus it will count heavily towards your final degree. Given the significant weighting of the dissertation module, and the amount of work involved, we recommend that only students already with a 2:1 average overall consider taking the module. If you so far have an overall average lower than 60, and you still want to take the module, we strongly advise you to make an appointment with the Deputy Department Education Lead and/or your personal tutor to discuss this.
For full details, please see:
The Dissertation module is an opportunity for final-year students to produce a substantial piece of writing on a topic of their choice, with one-on-one supervision by a member of the faculty.
By the end of the module the student will have learned to:
- The ability to devise a research topic concerning philosophy.
- A critical understanding of the relevant secondary literature in the field and its significance for the research project.
- An ability to cite relevant primary source material to back their arguments.
- An understanding of methodological problems inherent in using primary source materials.
- An ability to devise and carry through a longer research-based piece of work.
- The ability to work independently, under guidance, on a longer piece of work.
The modules run in each academic year are subject to change in line with staff availability and student demand so there is no guarantee every module will run. Module descriptions and information may vary between years.