Durham University
Programme and Module Handbook

Postgraduate Programme and Module Handbook 2010-2011 (archived)

Module MELA40360: Dissertation

Department: Modern Language and Cultures

MELA40360: Dissertation

Type Open Level 4 Credits 60 Availability Available in 2010/11 Module Cap None.


  • None.


  • None.

Excluded Combination of Modules

  • None.


  • To allow students to explore in considerable detail an aspect of the theorisation, history or representation of otherness.
  • To enable students to conduct extensive individual research.
  • To produce a piece of well-presented scholarly writing that demonstrates familiarity with relevant theoretical frameworks and the ability to apply them to the study of an appropriate object of study.


  • The precise content of the dissertation will depend on the students' particular preferences, and will be agreed in conjunction with the supervisor.

Learning Outcomes

Subject-specific Knowledge:
  • Students will have acquired a detailed understanding, based on primary research and secondary reading, of a defined topic in alterity studies, and an understanding of the methodologies relevant to this chosen topic.
Subject-specific Skills:
  • Students will have developed the ability to design and complete a research project that engages in original research into some aspect of alterity studies; to analyse primary and secondary source material; and to use such material to construct and present a coherent and scholarly argument.
Key Skills:
  • Students will have developed proficiency in writing and editing a sustained and substantial piece of academic work, and the ability to situate that work within a broader research context.

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

  • The project will be discussed with the relevant supervisor before the dissertation commences, to ensure that the project is of sufficient scope and is realistic within the time-frame of a master's programme. The Research Methods and Resources module willl provide extensive guidance, and will partially be assessed on the basis of the students' dissertation project proposal.
  • Regular supervision by a scholar actively engaged in research connected to alterity studies will ensure that the plan of study is adhered to, whilst allowing scope for independent research. Students will be required to submit draft chapters as the dissertation progresses, and oral feedback will be given on these, Each supervision will conclude with agreed action points, to be carried out by the student in advance of the next supervision.
  • The Research Methods and Resources module will provide guidance on the bibliographical skills necessary for the research and presentation of academic research papers.

Teaching Methods and Learning Hours

Activity Number Frequency Duration Total/Hours
Tutorials 3 variable 2 hours 6
Preparation and Reading 594
Total 600

Summative Assessment

Component: Dissertation Component Weighting: 100%
Element Length / duration Element Weighting Resit Opportunity
Dissertation 12000 to 15000 100%

Formative Assessment:

Regular discussion of work in progress, on the basis either oral reports, or of short written assignments agreed between the supervisor and the student.

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