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The University of Southampton

PHIL6051 Philosophy Dissertation

Module Overview

You will complete a 20,000 word dissertation on a subject of your choice, subject to available supervisory expertise.

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 and secondary literature
  • the place of your topic in philosophy considered more broadly
  • the processes by which understanding is achieved and new ideas advanced within the discipline
Subject Specific Intellectual and Research Skills

Having successfully completed this module you will be able to:

  • critically evaluate a wide range of both primary and secondary texts, and the arguments contained in them
  • synthesize and integrate the analysis of these texts and the philosophical positions they contain into a coherent, sustained and convincing dissertation argument
  • present and debate ideas, both orally and in writing, in an open minded and rigorous way
  • conceptualize a feasible and intellectually adventurous research project as well as a programme of study to bring it to fruition
Transferable and Generic Skills

Having successfully completed this module you will be able to:

  • identify a significant research question and the appropriate way of addressing it
  • locate relevant scholarly literature, using a variety of bibliographic aids, to permit a convincing response to be made to the research question
  • communicate a coherent, sustained and convincing argument over 20,000 words
  • demonstrate the capacity for self-directed problem-solving, independent working and autonomous time- management
  • develop and manage a programme of study to bring your chosen research project to fruition


You will complete a 20,000 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 • one-to-one meetings with supervisor • feedback on written work Learning activities include • oral discussion with supervisor • conceptualization of dissertation project • research for and organization and composition of dissertation

Independent Study740
Total study time750

Resources & Reading list

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. 

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. 

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


Assessment Strategy

Assessments designed to provide informal, on-module feedback • Comment on seminar presentation • Personal essay-session 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 philosophical topic of your choice and your own intellectual independence.


MethodPercentage contribution
Diligence and Initiative  (20000 words) 100%


MethodPercentage contribution
Coursework 100%

Repeat Information

Repeat type: Internal & External

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