Durham University
Programme and Module Handbook

Postgraduate Programme and Module Handbook 2012-2013 (archived)

Module THEO53160: Dissertation

Department: Theology and Religion

THEO53160: Dissertation

Type Open Level 4 Credits 60 Availability Available in 2012/13 Module Cap


  • None


  • None

Excluded Combination of Modules

  • None


  • to enable students to apply research methods and skills learned in the Resources, Methods and Interpretation;
  • 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 a 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 research project;
  • be able to collate appropriate sources and to interpret them in a precise and clear 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:

    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
    Total 600

    Summative Assessment

    Component: Dissertation Component Weighting: 100%
    Element Length / duration Element Weighting Resit Opportunity
    Dissertation 12,000 - 15,000 words 100%

    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