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HI3S2-30 Dissertation

Undergraduate Level 3
Module leader
Lydia Plath
Credit value
Module duration
50 weeks
100% coursework
Study location
University of Warwick main campus, Coventry
Introductory description

Undertaking a dissertation will allow students to undertake a substantive piece of historical research and produce an article-length essay. It gives students the opportunity to work in a way similar to an academic historian: identifying a suitable research topic; mastering the relevant historiography; immersing themselves in a wide variety of primary sources, where appropriate; and being able to sustain a coherent and logical argument. As a final year module it will encourage students to put the training received in their earlier years of study to practical use.

Module aims

A dissertation is compulsory for all History single honours students and an option for all joint degree students. The dissertation is weighted at 30 CATS and must be based either on a final year module that the student is enrolled on, a module taken in year 2, or a module taken during the Year Abroad (the latter with permission from the Dissertations Coordinator). The dissertation length is up to 9,000 words, not including footnotes or bibliography.

Outline syllabus

This is an indicative module outline only to give an indication of the sort of topics that may be covered. Actual sessions held may differ.

Summer Term of Year 2
Week 4 Lecture: what is a dissertation; linking the dissertation to a third-year module; summer preparation
Weeks 4-10: Preliminary meeting with dissertation supervisor

Autumn Term of Year 3
Week 1 Lecture: how to narrow down your subject and find a good research question
Week 2 Lecture: how to develop a secondary bibliography; how to engage with secondary literature
Week 3 Lecture: how to find and use primary sources; ethical considerations
Week 4 Lecture: planning; writing the dissertation; presentation
Week 5 Lecture: what can we learn from the experience of others; what makes a good dissertation
Weeks 1-5: Second meeting with supervisor: finding an area
Week 7 -10: Third meeting with supervisor: designing a proposal; locating sources; planning
Week 10: Submission of title and description to Department

Spring Term of Year 3
Weeks 1-5: Fourth meeting with supervisor: discussion of progress on research and thinking
Weeks 7-10: Fifth meeting with supervisor: progress on research and thinking; guidance on oral presentation of work
Week 10: Presentation on dissertation

Summer Term of Year 3
Weeks 1-2: Sixth meeting with supervisor: guidance on writing and final presentation of work
Week 2: Submission of dissertation

Learning outcomes

By the end of the module, students should be able to:

  • Critically review and consolidate the secondary literature on their area of research.
  • Act with minimal supervision and take responsibility to identify and design an original research project.
  • Demonstrate an awareness of research ethics and personal responsibility and incorporate this into their practice where appropriate.
  • Critically evaluate evidence from a range of primary sources to support their argument.
  • Demonstrate a systematic understanding of their area of research to produce a coherently argued and professionally-written thesis.
  • Effectively reflect on and communicate their research progress.
Subject specific skills

See learning outcomes.

Transferable skills

See learning outcomes.

Study time

Type Required
Lectures 6 sessions of 1 hour (2%)
Tutorials 6 sessions of 1 hour (2%)
Private study 288 hours (96%)
Total 300 hours
Private study description

History modules require students to undertake extensive independent research and reading to prepare for seminars and assessments. As a rough guide, students will be expected to read and prepare to comment on three substantial texts (articles or book chapters) for each seminar taking approximately 3 hours. Each assessment requires independent research, reading around 6-10 texts and writing and presenting the outcomes of this preparation in an essay, review, presentation or other related task.


No further costs have been identified for this module.

You must pass all assessment components to pass the module.

Assessment group A
Weighting Study time
Presentation 10%
9000 word dissertation 90%
Feedback on assessment

Feedback online from supervisor within 4 weeks of submission.


This module is Core for:

  • UHIA-V100 Undergraduate History
    • Year 3 of V100 History
    • Year 3 of V100 History
  • Year 3 of UHIA-V102 Undergraduate History (Renaissance and Modern History Stream)
  • Year 4 of UHIA-V103 Undergraduate History (Renaissance and Modern History Stream) (with Year Abroad)
  • Year 4 of UHIA-V101 Undergraduate History (with Year Abroad)

This module is Option list A for:

  • Year 4 of UHIA-V1V6 Undergraduate History and Philosophy (with Year Abroad)

This module is Option list B for:

  • Year 3 of UHIA-V1V5 Undergraduate History and Philosophy
  • Year 4 of UHIA-V1V6 Undergraduate History and Philosophy (with Year Abroad)
  • UHIA-VM11 Undergraduate History and Politics
    • Year 3 of VM11 History and Politics
    • Year 3 of VM11 History and Politics
    • Year 3 of VM11 History and Politics
  • Year 4 of UHIA-VM12 Undergraduate History and Politics (with Year Abroad)
  • Year 3 of UHIA-VL13 Undergraduate History and Sociology
  • Year 4 of UHIA-VL14 Undergraduate History and Sociology (with Year Abroad)