Durham University
Programme and Module Handbook

Postgraduate Programme and Module Handbook 2014-2015 (archived)

Module BUSI4I260: Dissertation (Integrated PhD)

Department: Business School (Business)

BUSI4I260: Dissertation (Integrated PhD)

Type Tied Level 4 Credits 60 Availability Available in 2014/15 Module Cap None.
Tied to L1I101
Tied to N2I101
Tied to N3I101
Tied to N3I201
Tied to N4I101
Tied to N5I101


  • None


  • None

Excluded Combination of Modules

  • None


  • To provide students with the opportunity to conduct an in-depth investigation at an advanced level on a specific issue relevant to their planned doctoral study, building on the knowledge and skills acquired in the preceding subject-specific taught modules and advanced research training modules.


  • Students select a topic for their dissertation that fits within the remit of their subject area. This is to be approved by the student’s supervisory team in the first instance and subsequently ratified by the Director of the PhD Programme. They are advised that the dissertation should analyse a relevant issue in some depth, demonstrating a critical understanding of relevant theory, empirical research and practice; and that the investigation must enable them to draw on and utilise knowledge and skills gained in the preceding modules.
  • It is appropriate for the Dissertation to be seen as something to feed into the research phase of the PhD with Integrated Studies programme and therefore it may take the form of an advanced purposeful literature analysis (e.g., a meta-analysis) and theorisation or theoretical positioning, a scoping enquiry, a preliminary investigation, etc. All proposed topics must be formally approved by the supervisory team and Programme Director as outlined above.
  • Students will normally have 6 formal supervision meetings during the period of the Dissertation module.

Learning Outcomes

Subject-specific Knowledge:
  • Have developed advanced critical understanding of a relevant topic through a review of the literature, identification of research questions and the utilisation of appropriate techniques of analysis.
Subject-specific Skills:
  • Have the ability to conduct an independent piece of research at an advanced level and produce a substantial piece of written work demonstrating critical analysis of a specific issue with a robust research design and strategy from a coherent philosophical position.
Key Skills:
  • Have the ability to critically review a specialised area of knowledge and research;
  • Have the capacity for sustained independent work and learning at an advanced level and the ability to learn through critical evaluation and reflection on complex scholarly ideas, theories and studies;
  • Be able to think independently, problem solve and exercise appropriate judgement in complex and specialised contexts;
  • Have the ability to accept a high level of personal responsibility, including an ability to evaluate and remedy any ethical dilemmas which may arise.

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

  • During the dissertation period there will be individual meetings with the appointed supervisory team, normally up to a total of 6. This is considered appropriate, as the dissertation module is underpinned by the advanced research training modules and subject-specific modules that constitute the PhD with Integrated Studies programme. These one-to-one meetings enable monitoring of progress towards achieving the learning outcomes.
  • The summative assessment of the module is by a 10,000 word written dissertation.

Teaching Methods and Learning Hours

Activity Number Frequency Duration Total/Hours
Supervision meetings 6 as required normally up to 1 hour 6
Preparation and reading 594
Total 600

Summative Assessment

Component: Dissertation Component Weighting: 100%
Element Length / duration Element Weighting Resit Opportunity
Dissertation 10,000 words 100% same

Formative Assessment:

Students will be required to submit a dissertation research proposal of no more than 1,000 words, and an accompanying indicative bibliography. This will be assessed by the two members of staff constituting the supervisory team. This document also constitutes the topic for their dissertation and the nature of the dissertation, which must fit within the remit of their subject area and explain the nature of the study. This is to be approved by the student’s supervisory team and subsequently ratified by the Director of the PhD Programme as outlined previously. Staff must agree that the proposal meets the normal standard expected of a doctoral proposal. Feedback will be provided by the supervisory team.

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