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SEL3377 : Dissertation in English Literature & History

  • Offered for Year: 2021/22
  • Module Leader(s): Dr Kirsten MacLeod
  • 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

1. Develop an in depth study of an area that reflects their own particular interests and intellectual strengths. Students will have considerable choice and can orientate their dissertation towards written and/or visual texts.

2. Demonstrate an ability to plan, conceptualise, research and execute an extended piece of work.

3. Exercise independent thinking and refine their research skills and skills in critical thinking, writing and presentation.

4. Synthesise their subject-specific skills in a piece of independent and interdisciplinary research.

Outline Of Syllabus

This module allows students to write at length on a self-directed topic which utilises conceptual and methodological approaches from English Literature and History and is thus 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 month of semester 1 of their third year. In this process they will be supported by the module leader(s) and required to attend a series of plenary lecture-workshops on independent research designed to guide them in their initial planning. They will then be be expected to work under individual supervision for remaining months of the dissertation module. In regular supervisory meetings, they will discuss the overall design of their dissertation and have the opportunity to receive oral or written feedback on plans and written feedback on up to 2500 words of draft writing. They will also have the opportunity to work with other students in seminars, culminating in an oral presentation of their research at a Dissertation Workshop.

Teaching Methods

Teaching Activities
Category Activity Number Length Student Hours Comment
Guided Independent StudyAssessment preparation and completion1401:00140:00N/A
Structured Guided LearningAcademic skills activities121:0012:00N/A
Guided Independent StudyDirected research and reading1401:00140:00N/A
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesWorkshops22:004:00Students present work in progress to peers.
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesDissertation/project related supervision61:006:00N/A
Guided Independent StudyIndependent study921:0092:00N/A
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesScheduled on-line contact time61:006:00n/a
Teaching Rationale And Relationship

Students will be guided initially by the module leader and then directed to consult with the appropriate members of staff in SELLL and SCHA about their topic and approach. They will only be allowed to begin to work on the dissertation when their topic has been approved.

There will be timetabled consultation with supervisors over the 2 semesters to check progress and to support reading, study and conceptual approach. Students also can and should make their own appointments with supervisors in between these times. Students are given additional formal support through a series of academic skills activities and support each other through peer review sessions at the dissertation workshop.

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
Dissertation2A100A dissertation of 10,000 words.
Formative Assessments
Description Semester When Set Comment
Written exercise1MStudents to submit a 1000 word plan and annotated bibliography in first semester.
Oral Presentation2MPresentation to peers of project. 3-5 minutes
Written exercise2MDraft work of up to 2500 words.
Assessment Rationale And Relationship

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

Students will submit a dissertation plan in semester 1 as they define their project. They will present their project to their peers in semester 2 to develop presentation skills and to receive and provide feedback. Students have the option to submit draft work in semester 2 (up to 2500 words) to their supervisors for feedback.

Reading Lists