Durham University
Programme and Module Handbook

Postgraduate Programme and Module Handbook 2012-2013 (archived)

Module THEO50460: Short Dissertation for Integrated PhD

Department: Theology and Religion

THEO50460: Short Dissertation for Integrated PhD

Type Tied Level 5 Credits 60 Availability Available in 2012/13 Module Cap None.
Tied to <Integrated PhD>


  • None


  • None

Excluded Combination of Modules

  • None


  • to enable students to apply research methods and skills learned in the Resources, Methods and Interpretation module;
  • to allow students to deepen their knowledge and understanding of a particular field of Theology and Religion;
  • to advance students' skills in analysis and writing in Theology and Religion through completing a dissertation-based on appropriate primary and secondary sources.


  • the dissertation will demand a prolonged and detailed study of a particular aspect of the discipline of Theology and Religion. Students will be guided in the choice of their dissertation field and title by the Course Director and appropriate supervisors. They will produce a dissertation proposal by week eight of Epiphany term, and their dissertation topic and title will normally be approved by the final day of Epiphany term. Students will normally submit the completed dissertation by or on September 15th. Detailed guidelines for format, procedures and deadlines will be made available to students in the Department's MA Handbook.

Learning Outcomes

Subject-specific Knowledge:
  • By the conclusion of the module, students should:
  • possess an advanced and detailed understanding of their particular field of dissertation, based on appropriate study of primary and secondary sources;
  • be able to identify a viable research topic and to construct a coherent research proposal describing it.
Subject-specific Skills:
  • By the conclusion of the module, students should:
  • have the organisational and reflective skills to construct a plan of research and writing for a major research project;
  • be able to collate appropriate sources and to interpret them in a precise , clear and persuasive manner for academic peers;
  • be able to publicise their research arguments and conclusions in a sustained scholarly thesis of up to 12,000 - 15,000 words.
Key Skills:
  • By the conclusion of the module, students should:
  • be able to observe professional and academic codes of conduct in the course of research, confronting ethical issues appropriately.
  • be able to evaluate data, primary sources, and secondary literature in a critical and reflective way.
  • be able to communicate research findings that include complex information and detailed argument in a clear and orderly way.
  • be able to work largely autonomously, managing time effectively and taking a responsibility for their own work, whilst engaging creatively with the work of others.

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

  • Students will be assigned to an appropriate supervisor by the Course Director, on the basis of a Michaelmas tutorial held under the authority of the Resources, Methods and Interpretation module. Supervisors will guide students towards relevant primary and secondary sources in their field, and advise them on specifying their title. Students will meet with their supervisor on a regular basis, whilst they are researching and writing the dissertation.
  • In Epiphany term, students will attend a tutorial with the Course Director to finalise formally the choice and title of their dissertation topic. They will produce a formatively assessed dissertation proposal at this stage. Approval of their dissertation topic and title will be made on the basis of their performance in the tutorial and of the written proposal.

Teaching Methods and Learning Hours

Activity Number Frequency Duration Total/Hours
Tutorials 7 1 hour 7
Preparation and reading 593

Summative Assessment

Component: Dissertation Component Weighting: 100%
Element Length / duration Element Weighting Resit Opportunity
Dissertation 12000-15000 words 100% Yes

Formative Assessment:

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