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The University of Southampton

HIST6092 History Dissertation

Module Overview

Provide you with the opportunity to make your own contribution to historical understanding, by presenting a coherent, detailed and sustained argument at length on a historical topic. Provide a supervisory framework which furnishes an appropriate level of guidance with regard to source materials, theoretical perspectives, organization and composition whilst encouraging you to develop your own ideas and organize your project independently. Augment and refine the practical skills of historical study as well as key skills useful to you in life outside university.

Aims and Objectives

Learning Outcomes

Knowledge and Understanding

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

  • the subject chosen for your dissertation, including principal primary source materials and relevant scholarly literature
  • the processes by which understanding is achieved and new ideas advanced within the historical discipline
  • the means by which empirical research and a response to historiographical and theoretical debates can be integrated to produce an original scholarly argument
Subject Specific Intellectual and Research Skills

Having successfully completed this module you will be able to:

  • critically evaluate a wide range of both primary source materials and arguments contained in secondary historical texts, and propose new hypotheses on the basis of these evaluations
  • synthesize and integrate the analysis of primary sources and secondary texts into a coherent, sustained and convincing dissertation argument
  • interrogate the validity of existing historiographical perspectives and/or theoretical models through your own in-depth historical research
  • conceptualize a feasible and intellectually adventurous research project as well a programme of study to bring it to fruition
  • conduct historical research through the study of primary sources
  • develop a historical argument from the study of primary sources and critical evaluation of secondary historical texts
  • coherently integrate theoretical and historiographical perspectives with detailed empirical research
  • locate and identify relevant primary and secondary source materials
Transferable and Generic Skills

Having successfully completed this module you will be able to:

  • identify a significant research question and a practical means of addressing it
  • locate relevant source materials to permit a convincing response to be made to the research question
  • communicate a coherent, sustained and convincing argument over 15,000 words
  • demonstrate the capacity for self-directed problem-solving, independent working and autonomous time- management
  • develop and manage a practical programme of study to bring your chosen research project to fruition


You will complete a 15,000-word dissertation on a subject of your choice, subject to available supervisory expertise. This dissertation may follow on from (but not replicate) work completed in other elements of the programme, but this is not a requirement. You will be allocated an appropriate supervisor, and develop the project under his or her initial guidance. The bulk of the work, however, is done independently. Samples of written work and a full draft of the dissertation may be submitted for comment to the supervisor

Learning and Teaching

Teaching and learning methods

Teaching methods include • tutorials with supervisor • feedback on written work Learning activities include • tutorial discussion with supervisor • conceptualization of dissertation project • research for and organization and composition of dissertation

Independent Study740
Total study time750

Resources & Reading list

Liz Hampson (1994). How's your Dissertation Going?: Students share the Rough Reality of Dissertation and Project. 

Derek Swetnam (1997). Writing Your Dissertation: How to Plan, Prepare and Present Your Work Successfully. 

Roy Preece (1994). Starting Research: an Introduction to Academic Research and Dissertation Writing. 

Charles R. Doty (1997). Guide to Dissertation Proposal Preparation & Dissertation Preparation. 

James E. Mauch & Jack W. Birch (1993). Guide to the Successful Thesis and Dissertation: A Handbook for Students and Faculty. 

Fred Pyrczak (1999). Completing Your Thesis or Dissertation: Professors Share Their Techniques and Strategies. 


Assessment Strategy

• informal feedback is provided on sample of written work and draft dissertation The dissertation is the most substantial element of independent study within the degree programme. Coming at the end of your studies, it allows you to put into practice and to integrate virtually all the skills you have been developing over the course of the programme, and to do so in particular with a degree of autonomy which tests the depth of your understanding of the practices by which scholarly understanding is advanced and your own intellectual independence.


MethodPercentage contribution
Diligence and Initiative  (15000 words) 100%


MethodPercentage contribution
Coursework 100%

Repeat Information

Repeat type: Internal & External

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