Durham University
Programme and Module Handbook

Undergraduate Programme and Module Handbook 2017-2018 (archived)


Department: Music


Type Tied Level 3 Credits 40 Availability Available in 2017/18 Module Cap Location Durham
Tied to QRV0
Tied to QRVA
Tied to LA1
Tied to LA2
Tied to W300


  • MUSI2691 Historical Studies 2 OR MUSI2661 World Music Traditions OR MUSI2681 Russian and Soviet Music OR MUSI2731 Psychology of Music


Excluded Combination of Modules

  • Folio of Compositions (MUSI3312), MUSI3672 Performance 3: Public Performance Project


  • To enable students in their final year to undertake a substantial study of a topic approved by the Department of Music. This serves as the capstone of the degree and as preparation for postgraduate study.
  • Students are expected to demonstrate an ability to work independently, with the support of regular individual supervision, applying research skills developed in the first two years of the course (i.e. defining a research question, collecting and evaluating a body of relevant information, and writing the results up in a coherent and logical manner).


  • The student will produce a dissertation of not more than 12,000 words on a subject approved by the Department of Music in one of the following areas: musicology, music analysis, ethnomusicology, music and science, or popular music.
  • Preparation begins with the specification of an area and proposed topic in the Easter term of the student’s second year; following approval and completion of ethics procedures where applicable, a preliminary search for source material is to be conducted over the summer vacation and an abstract prepared for the start of the Michelmas term. The student is expected to work on the dissertation consistently over the course of the academic year, maintaining regular contact with a nominated supervisor.
  • Students are also expected to attend dissertation seminars, and to discuss their own project with other students.

Learning Outcomes

Subject-specific Knowledge:
  • Students will also increase their knowledge of the particular topic addressed in the dissertation.
Subject-specific Skills:
  • Students apply and further develop a range of core musicological research skills, including the definition of research questions or problems; searches for source material including academic literature; awareness of research ethics issues; critical reading of scholarly literature and, as appropriate, skills in the analysis and interpretation of other sources; and writing a sustained narrative in an appropriate prose style and presented according to standard academic conventions. In the context of dissertation seminars students develop their skills in presenting their own arguments, and in commenting on the work of others in a constructive manner.
Key Skills:
  • Students will be able to demonstrate an ability to work effectively on an independent research project, and to communicate effectively with clarity of written expression and the appropriate use of scholarly conventions and specialist vocabulary.

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

  • One to one tutorials will guide students through the process from the definition of a research question and initial literature searches to writing up. Students are expected to keep in regular contact with their supervisors, and to take the initiative in arranging tutorial sessions at appropriate times. They are expected to present samples of written work in a timely manner in order to allow supervisors to give feedback. Dialogue with the supervisor, and with fellow students in the context of seminars, sharpen students’ ability for critical debate, independent thinking, and reflective judgement.

Teaching Methods and Learning Hours

Activity Number Frequency Duration Total/Hours
Lectures 1 Start of term 1 1 hour 1
Tutorials 6 3 each in terms 1 and 2 40 minutes 4
Seminars 3 1 in each term 2 hours 6
Preparation and Reading 389

Summative Assessment

Component: Dissertation Component Weighting: 100%
Element Length / duration Element Weighting Resit Opportunity
Dissertation, on a subject chosen in advance by the Department of Music 12000 words max 100% No

Formative Assessment:

Individual comments on materials (text, bibliography, discography etc.) submitted by students for tutorial sessions. Feedback from peers and staff on material presented at seminars.

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