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SEL3362 : Dissertation in English Literature: Long-Form Essay

  • Offered for Year: 2022/23
  • Module Leader(s): Dr Robbie McLaughlan
  • Owning School: English Lit, Language & Linguistics
  • Teaching Location: Newcastle City Campus
Semester 1 Credit Value: 20
Semester 2 Credit Value: 20
ECTS Credits: 20.0


To allow students to develop an in depth study of an area of literary studies that reflects their own particular interests and intellectual strengths.

To demonstrate an ability to plan, conceptualise, research and execute an extended piece of work.

To foster independent thinking and develop research skills and skills in critical thinking, writing and presentation.

Outline Of Syllabus

This module allows students to write at length on a self-directed topic in English Literature. Students will have considerable choice in terms of how they decide to proceed and could choose to orientate their research towards the analysis of written texts, or film or theatre, or indeed to shape a project that is interdisciplinary in character.

They will be asked to identify their likely area of interest at the end of their second year and be required to produce a research plan in the first few weeks of semester 1 of their third year. In this process they will be supported by the module leader and provided with a series of guided learning activities to support them in their initial planning. They will be assigned a supervisor and be expected to work with that supervisor over the course of the dissertation module. In regular meetings, they will discuss the overall design of their dissertation and have the opportunity to receive feedback on a submitted plan and annotated bibliography at the mid-module point. Further guided learning activities throughout the year will support student reflection on academic skills, independent research, approaches to argument and scholarly presentation.

Teaching Methods

Teaching Activities
Category Activity Number Length Student Hours Comment
Guided Independent StudyAssessment preparation and completion1140:00140:00N/A
Guided Independent StudyDirected research and reading1140:00140:00N/A
Structured Guided LearningAcademic skills activities121:0012:00N/A
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesSmall group teaching11:001:00N/A
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesDrop-in/surgery21:002:00N/A
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesDissertation/project related supervision51:005:00N/A
Guided Independent StudyIndependent study1100:00100:00N/A
Teaching Rationale And Relationship

Students will be guided initially by the module leader and then directed to consult with an assigned member of staff about their topic and approach.

There will be regular consultation with the supervisor over the 2 semesters to check progress and to support reading, study and conceptual approach. Students are given more formal support with the series of guided learning activities. There will be a scheduled drop in/surgery prior to each of the assessment points.

The main aim of the dissertation is to foster skills of independent working and to allow the students to plan and complete an extended piece of work.

Assessment Methods

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

Other Assessment
Description Semester When Set Percentage Comment
Dissertation2A90A dissertation of between 8,000-10,000 words.
Written exercise1A10The semester 1 written assessment will be a project plan of 500 words, plus an annotated bibliography of at least 15 items.
Assessment Rationale And Relationship

The dissertation (8,000-10,000 words) written under individual supervision will demonstrate both detailed knowledge of the student's chosen subject and that they acquired the appropriate skills. This will be submitted at the end of the second semester.

The 500-word mid module plan and annotated bibliography, submitted in semester 1, is designed to ensure that students keep up steady progress on their dissertation over the semester, and to provide formative feedback on the developing project that can feed into the writing in the second semester.

Reading Lists