Durham University
Programme and Module Handbook

Postgraduate Programme and Module Handbook 2020-2021 (archived)


Department: Archaeology


Type Tied Level 4 Credits 60 Availability Available in 2020/21


  • None


  • None

Excluded Combination of Modules

  • None


  • To equip you with the skills to identify a key issue in cultural heritage research, frame a relevant research question and address this question by:
  • gathering a relevant body of data;
  • evaluating the data using appropriate conceptual frameworks / models
  • drawing appropriate conclusions.
  • Students should be able to demonstrate:
  • detailed familiarity with theoretical models and relevant published literature;
  • understanding of complex issues
  • the ability to consult relevant academic and professional specialists appropriately
  • the ability to construct an argument and communicate ideas supported with relevant data in a logical structure


  • This module enables those students considering undertaking further postgraduate research after completing the MA course to develop and demonstrate research skills in a specific aspect of cultural heritage studies in which you are interested and which you consider justifies intensive analysis within a conceptual framework following agreement from the Module Convenor. The content is thus driven by the individual student within an appropriate, supportive but challenging learning framework. It also explores future academic and professional options.

Learning Outcomes

Subject-specific Knowledge:
  • advanced knowledge of a specific challenging issue relating to international cultural heritage sites, institutions and professional bodies and their political, social, economic and ecological contexts
  • informed and critical understanding of complex theories exploring the changing nature, role and function of tangible and intangible culture heritage and their applications in a global framework
  • advanced knowledge of critiques of a specific issue in cultural heritage , including for example, contested arenas, the contribution of cultural heritage sites and agencies to framing identities, building (or separating) communities, addressing cultural conflicts and engaging with social change and development issues
  • advanced knowledge of national and international legal, ethical and policy frameworks for tangible and intangible international cultural heritage as relevant to a specific challenging issue
Subject-specific Skills:
  • an advanced ability to apply subject-related knowledge and advanced theoretical models to a specific extended exploration of a specific issue in cultural heritage
  • advanced ability to synthesise, evaluate and present complex material, including original data and theoretical arguments relevant to cultural heritage
  • the acquisition of advanced research skills to enable engagement in complex research at MA level to underpin the production of an extended critical report or dissertation
Key Skills:
  • demonstrate intellectual and professional autonomy by learning and practising independently and taking responsibility for aspects of learning and professional activities
  • demonstrate the ability to think critically about new and/or unfamiliar ideas by communicating such reflection in written and oral contexts, forming coherent arguments and presenting them to a group (in the course of classes) or on a one-to-one basis (in tutorials)
  • demonstrate the ability to evaluate advanced theoretical models, recognise and challenge areas of apparent ambiguity or uncertainty in theoretical models and in practice and hence identify and explore areas of new research in an extended critical report or dissertation
  • demonstrate communication skills by developing the ability to express themselves clearly, concisely and appropriately in writing and with relevant illustrations using distinct formats (essays, reports, posters, case studies); identifying and analysing complex issues effectively in seminar presentations; contributing appropriately and effectively to case study seminars and group discussions supporting verbal arguments with reference to a range of case studies and theoretical models
  • develop information technology skills by demonstrating the ability to support your assignments and oral presentations appropriately (e.g. word processing, databases, presentation software, graphing, image processing, web-based resources)
  • work as a reflective practitioner by reflecting on, and recording in an appropriate format, their research, learning and professional practices and using these reflections as the basis for tutorial discussions, assignments and for the development of the concluding Professional Practice Project or Dissertation
  • demonstrate the ability to design and manage an advanced extended research project which is interesting, relevant to the sector, capable of being completed and potentially worthy of publication and dissemination through an appropriate professional publication or conference
  • demonstrate professional conduct by demonstrating the ability to observe professional and academic standards, including appropriate use of relevant ethical codes of practice

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

  • Lectures: are used to underpin the knowledge requirements of the module providing you with a sound conceptual and empirical base for developing your dissertation and exploring future professional and academic options
  • Workshops: enable practical exploration of key aspects of developing your dissertation and looking forward to future academic/professional aspects
  • Tutorials: focusing on discussion and feedback between tutors and students, usually on a one-to-one basis, and in a relatively informal learning environment, supported by a written record of the key points covered. Tutorials will enable you to develop, discuss, question and receive feedback on your subject-specific knowledge and critical understanding, and to gain experience and competence in key skills pertaining to teamwork, communication and taking responsibility for personal development.
  • Self-guided learning: comprising personal and group-based study, research, revision, problem-solving and evaluation associated with classes and assignments. Self-guided learning enables you to increase your knowledge and critical understanding of the subject-specific knowledge, and to gain experience and competence in the full range of subject-specific skills and key skills
  • Reflective Practice: expressed through the Log in which you have recorded and reflected on the development of your own intellectual and professional learning through the MA will be key in the development of your dissertation. This Log will be used to inform discussion and decisions about your choice of essay topic, challenging as well as a means of evaluating and recording progress
  • Dissertation & Professional Practice Project Student–led Seminar, comprising student presentations of work in progress
  • Some material may be presented online so it is available asynchronously

Teaching Methods and Learning Hours

Activity Number Frequency Duration Total/Hours
Lectures (some with visiting lecturers) 4 1-2 hours 6
Workshops 5 1-2 hours 9
Tutorials 2 0.5 hour 1
Student-led Seminar 1 7 hours 7
Preparation and Reading 577
Total 600

Summative Assessment

Component: Dissertation Component Weighting: 100%
Element Length / duration Element Weighting Resit Opportunity
Dissertation 10,000 Words 100% SAME

Formative Assessment:

• 500 word dissertation proposal to be produced 4 weeks after the start of the research. • 800 word dissertation plan and progress report to consolidate knowledge and understanding of the chosen aspect of cultural heritage studies and the chosen conceptual/theoretical framework to be produced 8 weeks after the start of the research; • progress reports integrated within the Reflective Practice Log at intervals agreed with the tutor • 2,000 word sample chapter at date agreed with tutor to be submitted at specified times and to be discussed with the relevant tutor. Feedback from tutor/s is regarded as an integral part of the learning process. It helps learners to consolidate knowledge and understanding and to explore and develop subject-specific and key skills. You will receive feedback from your tutor and your peers in the Research & Professional Practice Project Seminar.

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