Durham University
Programme and Module Handbook

Postgraduate Programme and Module Handbook 2012-2013 (archived)


Department: Modern Language and Cultures


Type Tied Level 4 Credits 90 Availability Available in 2012/13 Module Cap None.
Tied to V1K507


  • None


  • None

Excluded Combination of Modules

  • None


  • To advance student skills, appropriate to Level 4, in analysis and writing relevant to their field of study by facilitating the completion of a dissertation on an approved subject that:
  • (i) is based on extensive secondary reading and some use of primary source material;
  • (ii) shows awareness of interdisciplinary approaches to the subject;
  • (iii) preferably, though not necessarily, develops an inter-disciplinary approach to some aspect of the history, literature, society or culture of the seventeenth century in Europe or elsewhere.


  • The dissertation will involve detailed study of a particular aspect of seventeenth-century history, literature, society or culture, preferably, though not necessarily, through an inter-disciplinary approach.
  • The subject, and title of the dissertation, will be determined by the student and lead supervisor under the direction of the Management Committee of the MA in Seventeenth-Century Studies.
  • The title of the dissertation will be approved by the Course Director, who will be responsible for determining the deadline for approval of the dissertation title.
  • Guidelines (for students) on the Dissertation will be provided in the course handbook (as agreed by the Management Committee of the MA in Seventeenth-Century Studies) where full information on the format and procedures for the production of the dissertation will be found.

Learning Outcomes

Subject-specific Knowledge:
  • a detailed understanding, based on primary research and secondary reading, of a defined topic in seventeenth-century studies;
  • an understanding of interdisciplinary methodologies relevant to the chosen topic.
Subject-specific Skills:
  • an ability to design and complete a research project that engages in original research into some aspect of seventeenth-century studies;
  • an ability to analyse primary and secondary source material;
  • an ability to use such material to construct and present a coherent and scholarly argument.
Key Skills:

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

  • A two-hour workshop will be held in week 5 of Epiphany term to advise students on matters relating to the dissertation and to assist them in the selection of their topic and appropriate supervisors.
  • Each student will be directed by his/her supervisor(s) in the choice of a topic by the end of week 7 in the the Epiphany term.
  • Students will be directed to existing literature relevant to the topic, and advised on the potential primary sources that should be consulted. Regular meetings between student and supervisor(s) will take place, both in the setting up of the dissertation topic and while the research and writing are taking place. In the Summer Term, students should expect meetings to occur fortnightly, then less regularly over the summer vacation, and again fortnightly in the final period of writing up in September.
  • To facilitate the inter-disciplinary aims of the 'MA in Seventeenth Century Studies' students may have more than one supervisor in more than one department/discipline, depending upon the subject chosen for study.

Teaching Methods and Learning Hours

Activity Number Frequency Duration Total/Hours
Workshop 1 2 2
Tutorials 10 Fortnightly 1 10
Other: Unscheduled meetings at the request of the student Variable Variable Variable
Preparation & Reading 888
Total 900

Summative Assessment

Component: Dissertation Component Weighting: 100%
Element Length / duration Element Weighting Resit Opportunity
Dissertation 20000 words 100%

Formative Assessment:

Discussion of work in progress, on the basis of either oral reports or short written assignments agreed between supervisor(s) and 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