Skip to main content


SEL3423 : Dissertation in English Language and Literature

  • Offered for Year: 2021/22
  • Module Leader(s): Dr James Harriman-Smith
  • 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 in both language and literature.

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 language/linguistics and is thus interdisciplinary in character.

Students will be asked to identify their likely area of interest at the end of their second year, and develop their ideas at the start of their third year. They will be supported in this process by the module leader(s) and required to attend a series of plenary lecture-workshops at the start of stage 3 on independent research designed to guide them in their initial planning. They will then be expected to work under individual supervision for the 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.

Teaching Methods

Teaching Activities
Category Activity Number Length Student Hours Comment
Guided Independent StudyAssessment preparation and completion1140:00140:00N/A
Guided Independent StudyAssessment preparation and completion1140:00140:00N/A
Structured Guided LearningAcademic skills activities121:0012:00N/A
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesSmall group teaching61:006:00Guidance sessions from module leader
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesWorkshops22:004:00Work-in-progress presentations to peers
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesDissertation/project related supervision81:008:00N/A
Guided Independent StudyIndependent study190:0090:00N/A
Teaching Rationale And Relationship

Students on this module will send their choice of topic to the module leader for approval. They will work with the module leader in the first few weeks of term to hone their project ideas before receiving project approval and being allocated supervision.

The student will then receive supervision over two semesters to check progress, and to support reading, study and conceptual approach. Additional support will be provided through peer-to-peer feedback in workshops and structured online skills activities.

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.
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.

Reading Lists