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ARC2019 : Dissertation Studies

  • Offered for Year: 2023/24
  • Module Leader(s): Professor Rosie Parnell
  • Lecturer: Dr Stella Mygdali, Mr Toby Blackman, Dr Will Thomson, Dr Christos Kakalis, Dr Tolulope Onabolu, Professor Prue Chiles, Professor Jianfei Zhu, Professor Zeynep Kezer, Dr Stephen Parnell, Dr Nathaniel Coleman, Professor Katie Lloyd Thomas, Dr Sana Al-Naimi, Dr Alkistis Pitsikali, Dr Neveen Hamza
  • Owning School: Architecture, Planning & Landscape
  • Teaching Location: Newcastle City Campus

Your programme is made up of credits, the total differs on programme to programme.

Semester 2 Credit Value: 10
ECTS Credits: 5.0
European Credit Transfer System


The dissertation is delivered in two modules, this one in Semester 2 of Stage 2 and then a second module in Semester 1 of Stage 3.

The aims of this first module of students' dissertation studies are to:

• Introduce students to a range of research methodologies, critical appraisal, research, and study skills towards their dissertation or dissertation project (submitted in Stage 3) through lectures.

• Support the development of their individual area of interest, initial research, and project planning through tutorials and seminars.

• Gauge the viability of their topic and research methods through a short, fully referenced, dissertation essay proposal submitted at the end of this module in Semester 2 of Stage 2.

This module will also establish which of the following two dissertation routes is most appropriate for each student:

• An 8000-word Dissertation.

• A 5200-word Dissertation Project Report supported by project materials (e.g. creative practice output, prototyping or documentation of experiments, fieldwork, data collection, or analytical recordings).

Outline Of Syllabus

The syllabus allows students to develop research skills, critical and evaluative abilities, and a capacity for clear and succinct expression in written and verbal form, by:

• Introducing students to the nature of research and research methods in architecture.
• Equipping students with the ability to devise their own research strategies for their dissertation or dissertation project.
• Providing an overview for developing a research question or focus of enquiry, selecting appropriate research methods, and preparing a dissertation research proposal.
• Giving an opportunity to develop professionally orientated, transferable communication skills.

Students develop a basis for their area of interest and an understanding of appropriate methods, literature and output through seminars organised around thematic dissertation groups. These seminars are undertaken at the beginning of Semester 2 of Stage 2, and lead to a student presentation on a chosen seminar theme.

A series of lectures further develop understanding of appropriate research skills and methods to support the students’ emerging areas of specialization.

Following discussions with their dissertation tutor (normally the same person who led the students’ thematic seminars), students submit a short, fully referenced, dissertation proposal at the end of Semester 2, Stage 2, which outlines their individual research topic, intended research methods and outputs, and declares whether they will be taking the dissertation OR dissertation project route in Stage 3. The production of this proposal to a passing standard is a formal prerequisite for registration on the Stage 3 Dissertation module.

Dissertation or dissertation project approaches, choice of topic, research methods, forms of evidence, literature surveys, proposal development, case studies, database searching, technical briefing, assessment criteria.

In Stage 3, students will continue to build upon their research proposal and the feedback that they receive. Working mainly independently, but in association with a tutor/supervisor, they will develop a draft into the completed dissertation or dissertation project.

Teaching Methods

Teaching Activities
Category Activity Number Length Student Hours Comment
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesLecture91:009:00N/A
Guided Independent StudyAssessment preparation and completion150:0050:00N/A
Guided Independent StudyDirected research and reading130:0030:00N/A
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesSmall group teaching52:0010:00Seminars
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesDissertation/project related supervision20:301:00N/A
Teaching Rationale And Relationship

Students follow a themed dissertation seminar series chosen from a selection on offer, that supports their emerging research interests. These are research-led, weekly seminars from APL staff from the range of disciplines in architecture, humanities, and social sciences, to creative practice and technology.

Students are expected to augment this knowledge by reading and exploring other sources of information. Students record a presentation/film on their emerging research topic of interest, and this is submitted for formative assessment.

In addition, students’ emerging research is supported by research skills’ lectures and supervision, aiding the development of the summative submission – an essay or dissertation research proposal

Assessment Methods

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

Other Assessment
Description Semester When Set Percentage Comment
Essay2M100A 1500 word essay or research proposal.
Formative Assessments

Formative Assessment is an assessment which develops your skills in being assessed, allows for you to receive feedback, and prepares you for being assessed. However, it does not count to your final mark.

Description Semester When Set Comment
Oral Presentation2MN/A
Assessment Rationale And Relationship

This presentation takes place at the end of the dissertation seminar series, offering an opportunity for students to gain feedback on their emerging ideas for their dissertation topic, as well as feedback on their communication skills.

A 1500 word, independent essay or research proposal will build upon this feedback, synthesising the research and ideas students have been introduced to and drawing upon the research methods introduced. This assignment and written feedback will form the basis for the Stage 3 dissertation or dissertation project.

Reading Lists