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The University of Southampton

ARCH6064 Archaeology Masters Dissertation

Module Overview

The dissertation is a personal research project which is completed with guidance from a personal supervisor. It takes place primarily over the summer period and should involve original research and high-quality formal presentation of material. The word limit allows enough space for both analysis and discussion, as well providing the required detailed account of methods used. The specific format of the dissertation and the support provided in preparing it is provided in the Archaeology Dissertation Handbook.

Aims and Objectives

Learning Outcomes

Knowledge and Understanding

Having successfully completed this module, you will be able to demonstrate knowledge and understanding of:

  • The topic you have selected in your chosen field of study
  • Relevant theoretical approaches applicable to your topic
  • Relevant analytical methods appropriate for your topic
  • Scholarly and policy debates relating to your topic
Subject Specific Practical Skills

Having successfully completed this module you will be able to:

  • engage with critical debates through an extended piece of work;
  • analyze/ synthesize primary and secondary sources;
  • evaluate and critically assess previous work on your chosen subject;
  • make connections between different critical methodologies and use interdisciplinary modes of approaching the subject;
  • communication of research;
  • demonstrate originality of thought and approach which moves beyond a simple synthesis of secondary materials.


The dissertation is a considerable piece of self-directed research. It aims to give you the opportunity to undertake an extended piece of independent research, with guidance from a supervisor. It will require reflection on a theoretical framework and critical analysis relating to your chosen topic. It will enable you to make an original contribution to the literature on Archaeology and prepare you for progressing to more advanced study and to preparation of work autonomously beyond academia. It offers an opportunity considerably to enhance your archaeological skills, and in particular those based within your chosen programme During the two semesters preceding your dissertation, you will: • Identify and develop the research skills that you need to undertake your dissertation project. • Be encouraged to engage with the research community through attending and presenting at a range of relevant seminars, workshops or conferences, and through digital channels such as blogs. • Prepare a Project Design. During the summer you will primarily be working independently to execute and write-up your research project. You will have periodic meetings with a supervisor to monitor your progress and discuss any problems that arise. You may also provide updates via digital channels. Towards the end of the summer vacation you will submit draft chapters and sections for feedback at these supervision meetings.

Learning and Teaching

Teaching and learning methods

Teaching methods include • tutorial support from a dedicated dissertation supervisor, and from the Dissertation Co-ordinator, and other related staff Learning activities include: • individual research • communication of research • attendance at research events such as seminars

Wider reading or practice400
Completion of assessment task145
Project supervision10
Preparation for scheduled sessions40
Total study time600



Research design


MethodPercentage contribution
Diligence and Initiative  (20000 words) 100%


MethodPercentage contribution
Diligence and Initiative  (20000 words) 100%

Repeat Information

Repeat type: Internal & External


Costs associated with this module

Students are responsible for meeting the cost of essential textbooks, and of producing such essays, assignments, laboratory reports and dissertations as are required to fulfil the academic requirements for each programme of study.

In addition to this, students registered for this module typically also have to pay for:

Travel Costs for placements

some research projects may require you to fund activities. For example, you may need to travel to visit sites or archives.

Please also ensure you read the section on additional costs in the University’s Fees, Charges and Expenses Regulations in the University Calendar available at

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