Module Catalogue 2023/24

FIN3097 : Art History Dissertation

  • Offered for Year: 2023/24
  • Module Leader(s): Dr Harry Weeks
  • Other Staff: Dr Fiona Anderson, Dr Katarzyna Falecka, Ms Catriona Macdonald, Professor Richard Clay, Ms Flora Dunster
  • Owning School: Arts & Cultures
  • Teaching Location: Newcastle City Campus
Semester 1 Credit Value: 20
Semester 2 Credit Value: 20
ECTS Credits: 20.0
Pre Requisites
Code Title
FIN1013Art Histories I
FIN1014Art Histories II
Pre Requisite Comment

Students must also have taken Art History modules at stage 2

Co Requisites
Co Requisite Comment



This module enables the student to apply rigorous analytical thought in a sustained piece of writing on an art historical topic defined by them in discussion with tutors. Through structured tutorial supervision and discussion a clear understanding is developed. Knowledge of what others have said about it and critical arguments lead to independent judgment of the primary evidence and related material.

The module offers students the opportunity for in-depth engagement with a specialised topic of their choice. Fine Art students may choose a subject that relates directly to their practical work, and which helps define and develop this, or select a topic of broader interest - Combined Honours students might want to select a subject related to their other disciplines. Interdisciplinary topics are also welcomed.

Regardless of the subject chosen, the intensive critical and analytical skills involved in researching and writing the dissertation supports studio work through developing intellectual maturity and an increased awareness of historical, theoretical and critical issues.
For the purposes of the dissertation, 'Art History' is understood to embrace a wide range of possible approaches and subject areas decided in consultation with your supervisor. Some possible areas include: examining a particular facet of an artist's work; critical analysis of relevant text(s); iconographic studies; primary research involving interviews and questionnaires; gallery, museum and exhibition issues, etc.

Outline Of Syllabus

The course begins with an introductory lecture and student-led workshops on selecting your dissertation topic and beginning your research. You then complete a form indicating the subject or subject area you have chosen. You will then be allocated a supervisor who will work closely with you and give advice and feedback on researching and writing the dissertation. The syllabus, included in the Dissertation Handbook, requires that plans, bibliographies and drafts are submitted to your supervisor on the due dates. During this period there will also be supportive library and student-led workshops, activities and lectures related to the planning, time-management and writing of your dissertation. You will attend one-to-one tutorials with your supervisor to discuss the development of ideas and to get feedback on submitted work at regular intervals throughout the academic year.

Learning Outcomes

Intended Knowledge Outcomes

1. The student will have researched, understood and critically interpreted primary and secondary source material on a specialised area of knowledge related to Art History.

2. The student will have developed an enhanced knowledge of research methodologies, use of libraries and data bases.

3. The student will have, through independent research, developed a detailed knowledge of a particular facet of art history and related theories, concepts and relevant contextual factors.

Intended Skill Outcomes

1.The student will have learned the fundamentals of sustained scholarship.
2.The student will have learned how to isolate and define a subject of critical investigation.
3.The student will have learned how to design an appropriate and effective means of inquiry.
4.The student will have learned to relate works of art to the historical, cultural and critical context in which they were made.
5.The student will have learned how to organise, complete and edit a sustained piece of scholarly writing.
6. The student will have developed general transferrable skills in ordering and structuring written information.
7. The students will have developed general transferrable literacy skills.
8. the student will have learned to manage their time and work towards deadlines.
9. The student will have developed skills in working independently.

Teaching Methods

Teaching Activities
Category Activity Number Length Student Hours Comment
Structured Guided LearningLecture materials51:005:00Online materials supporting PiP teaching, including pre-recorded guidance & self-guided activities.
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesLecture11:001:00PiP introductory lecture.
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesLecture41:004:00PiP workshops and related teaching & learning activities.
Structured Guided LearningStructured non-synchronous discussion41:004:00Online Q&A sessions
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesDissertation/project related supervision61:006:00One-to-one tutorials with designated supervisor. PiP
Guided Independent StudyIndependent study1380:00380:00N/A
Teaching Rationale And Relationship

1. Lectures: to allow definition of key dissertation stages, expectations and processes to the full cohort of students. Also modelling of the level and nature of the analysis required.
2. Structured guided learning allows students to build core skills.
3. Tutorials encourage students to articulate their aims, define their subject area and demonstrate their grasp of the material involved. They provide advice to the student on all aspects of the research, content, structure and presentation of the dissertation and critical feedback on strengths and weaknesses of submitted work.

If Covid-19 restrictions lead to another lockdown and university closures, PiP delivery can be moved to synchronous online delivery.

Reading Lists

Assessment Methods

The format of resits will be determined by the Board of Examiners

Other Assessment
Description Semester When Set Percentage Comment
Dissertation2M1008000 words. 10% allowance either way.
Assessment Rationale And Relationship

The Art History dissertation provides the student with the most subject appropriate mode of demonstrating sustained scholarly research, understanding, critical independence and ability in academic writing.


Past Exam Papers

General Notes


Disclaimer: The information contained within the Module Catalogue relates to the 2023/24 academic year. In accordance with University Terms and Conditions, the University makes all reasonable efforts to deliver the modules as described. Modules may be amended on an annual basis to take account of changing staff expertise, developments in the discipline, the requirements of external bodies and partners, and student feedback. Module information for the 2024/25 entry will be published here in early-April 2024. Queries about information in the Module Catalogue should in the first instance be addressed to your School Office.