Durham University
Programme and Module Handbook

Undergraduate Programme and Module Handbook 2005-2006 (archived)




Type Open Level 3 Credits 20 Availability Available in 2005/06 Module Cap None. Location Durham


  • Russian Grammar and Composition (RUSS2181) or Russian Grammar and Composition (with year abroad essay) (RUSS2171) OR an equivalent qualification to the satisfaction of the Chairman/Chairwoman of the Board of Studies in MLAC or his/her representative.


  • Russian Language 4B (I) (RUSS3031) and one final year option in Russian other than Russian Language 4 (II) (RUSS3041), Business Russian (RUSS3051) and Intermediate Croatian with Serbian (RUSS3121). The subject of the dissertation will be related to this optional module.

Excluded Combination of Modules

  • Student may take a Dissertation module in only one of the languages they are studying as part of their Modern European Languages programme. Joint and Combined Honours students may not take this module if they are taking a dissertation module in (one of) their other subject(s).


  • To give those students who have opted for greater depth, by studying only one or two languages, the opportunity in their final year to undertake a piece of independent research related to one of the Level 3 optional modules that they are taking.
  • Writing the dissertation will provide them with experience in planning, documenting and writing a relatively extensive piece of work (5000 words).
  • It will also increase their facility for expressing themselves at a suitable academic level in the target language and in presenting and referencing academic writing.
  • It will be valuable practice and encouragement for students wishing to progress to Level 4 study.
  • Work will begin in the last term of the year abroad, when students opt for their final-year modules.
  • Those wishing to opt for a dissertation will indicate which of their Level 3 options they wish it to relate to, and will enter into email correspondence with their supervisor, who will normally be (one of) the teacher(s) of the relevant module.
  • The supervisor will suggest possible subjects and a preliminary bibliography.
  • The subject will be defined and approved by the Board of Studies at the beginning of the Michaelmas term and the dissertation will be submitted by the last day of Epiphany term.


  • As indicated, the dissertation topic will relate to the cultural area studied in one of the Level 3 options that the student is taking.
  • The topic will not overlap with the syllabus for that option, but will be such that studying the option will support the dissertation by providing appropriate background and/or by suggesting suitable theoretical and critical approaches and methods.
  • The topic will be chosen with the advice of the supervisor.

Learning Outcomes

Subject-specific Knowledge:
  • Having completed this module, the student will have acquired a deeper level of knowledge of one area of the culture.
Subject-specific Skills:
  • The student will also have further developed their ability to express complex ideas in a suitable register of the target language.
Key Skills:
  • The student will have acquired skill and practice in researching a subject using primary and secondary sources, planning a coherent argument with the evidence to support it, presenting these arguments clearly and cogently in a sustained piece of writing, conforming to the norms of academic referencing.

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

  • The topic of the dissertation will be chosen by the student in conjunction with a supervisor, normally (one of) the teacher(s) of the Level 3 option to which the topic is related.
  • The topic will not overlap with the syllabus for that option, but will be such that studying the option will support the dissertation by providing appropriate background and/or by suggesting suitable theoretical and critical approaches and methods.
  • The student will follow a programme of reading agreed upon by negotiation between him/her and the supervisor.
  • In the Michaelmas term the student will submit to the supervisor a 300-word discursive plan of the dissertation, and in the Epiphany term a 1000-word extract.
  • these will be discussed in tutorials and further advice will be given.
  • Assessment by dissertation will test the student's ability to assimilate, understand and analyse critically the primary and secondary material associated with his/her topic.
  • It will test his/her ability to present a sustained argument with suitable evidence, and the ability to express his/herself in a suitable register of the target language.

Teaching Methods and Learning Hours

Activity Number Frequency Duration Total/Hours
Tutorials 4 Termly 1 hour 4
Preparation and Reading 196
Total 200

Summative Assessment

Component: Dissertation Component Weighting: 100%
Element Length / duration Element Weighting Resit Opportunity
Dissertation, written in Russian 5000 words 100%

Formative Assessment:

300 word discursive plan to be submitted by the end of the Michaelmas Term. 1000 word extract to be submitted during Epiphany Term.

Attendance at all activities marked with this symbol will be monitored. Students who fail to attend these activities, or to complete the summative or formative assessment specified above, will be subject to the procedures defined in the University's General Regulation V, and may be required to leave the University