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Please ensure you check the module availability box for each module outline, as not all modules will run in each academic year. Each module description relates to the year indicated in the module availability box, and this may change from year to year, due to, for example: changing staff expertise, disciplinary developments, the requirements of external bodies and partners, and student feedback. Current modules are subject to change in light of the ongoing disruption caused by Covid-19.

Type Open
Level 3
Credits 40
Availability Available in 2023/24
Module Cap 200
Location Durham
Department History


  • A pass mark in at least TWO level two modules in History.


  • None.

Excluded Combinations of Modules

  • HIST3181.


  • To allow students to pursue their own historical interests, to work independently in some depth, and to develop more advanced techniques of research, analysis and exposition.


  • (i) Identifying a broad subject area for research, and narrowing it down to a worthwhile and manageable topic, in discussion with a supervisor, who will approve it on behalf of the Boards of Studies and of Examiners, which will be informed of the topics being pursued.
  • (ii) Constructing a bibliography, including both primary and secondary sources, in discussion with a supervisor.
  • (iii) Writing and presenting a synopsis for discussion with a supervisor justifying the choice of topic, arguing for its interest and importance, and explaining the planned programme of work.
  • (iv) Conducting the research, developing and refining arguments, and if need be amending the topic, in discussion with a supervisor.
  • (v) Writing up the research, with the opportunity to present a draft chapter for close critical scrutiny by a supervisor, who will pay special attention to matters of presentation and, if need be, offer guidance to supplement that which is contained in the Department's Dissertations Handbook.

Learning Outcomes

Subject-specific Knowledge:

  • Students will gain the ability to discover, assess and use primary and secondary historical materials, the facility to write at length relevantly and coherently within the required word limit, and the skill of employing appropriate scholarly apparatus.

Subject-specific Skills:

  • Subject specific skills for this module can be viewed at:

Key Skills:

  • Key skills for this module can be viewed at:

Modes of Teaching, Learning and Assessment and how these contribute to the learning outcomes of the module

  • Dissertation and extended essay assignments enable the student to demonstrate research and methodological skills appropriate to the specific knowledge and methodologies associated with the study of history. The dissertation or extended essay assesses students' ability to formulate a research problem and conduct research, reflection and writing to an agreed timetable. Students will need to study a wide range of resources and will need to deploy a range of analytical and reflective practices in the achievement of the stated goals.

Teaching Methods and Learning Hours

Supervision Sessions6 
Workshops32 in term 1, 1 in term 21 hr3 
Preparation and Reading391 

Summative Assessment

Component: Dissertation Component Weighting: 100%
ElementLength / DurationElement WeightingResit Opportunity
Research-based dissertationMax 12000 words including footnotes but excluding bibliography100 

Formative Assessment

Synopsis of c.1000 words; preparation for meetings with supervisor; draft chapter.

More information

If you have a question about Durham's modular degree programmes, please visit our FAQ webpages, Help page or our glossary of terms. If you have a question about modular programmes that is not covered by the FAQ, or a query about the on-line Undergraduate Module Handbook, please contact us.

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Current Students: Please contact your department.