Durham University
Programme and Module Handbook

Undergraduate Programme and Module Handbook 2023-2024 (archived)

Module CLAS3612: Dissertation (40 Credits)

Department: Classics and Ancient History

CLAS3612: Dissertation (40 Credits)

Type Open Level 3 Credits 40 Availability Available in 2023/24 Module Cap Location Durham


  • For students taking Single and Joint Honours degrees offered in the Department of Classics and Ancient History, none. For other students, two modules coded CLAS taken in their Level 2 year, of which one may be a Level 1 module.


  • For such other students, one module coded CLAS.

Excluded Combination of Modules

  • None.


  • Training in argument, analytical and critical skills, and presentation of evidence.


  • Dissertation on a topic chosen by the student and approved by the Chairman/Chairwoman of the Board of Studies in Classics or his/her representative.

Learning Outcomes

Subject-specific Knowledge:
  • In-depth knowledge of a Classical or related subject capable of reasonably complete treatment within the given limit of 12,000 words.
Subject-specific Skills:
  • These will vary according to the subject or topic chosen, which may - among other things - be literary, historical, philosophical, theoretical, or in the field of reception studies. In each case, the student refines and further develops skills acquired in the previous two years of study in Higher Education.
Key Skills:
  • An ability to complete the complex process of the construction of a significant piece of written work, from initial conception to final product.
  • To develop an argument.
  • To analyse and criticise.
  • To present evidence clearly and effectively.
  • To balance alternative views and positions.
  • To express the argument in correct and appropriate English.
  • To provide references laid out according to academic conventions.

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

  • Teaching: (1) An hour's group briefing session on the nature and process of the discipline of dissertation-writing, and the expected outcomes;
  • (2) An individual, face-to-face advisory meeting with a member of staff - who may not be the eventual supervisor - with expertise in the area in which the student proposes to write his/her dissertation;
  • (3) If required, a further individual meeting with a member of staff to adjust the dissertation plan, should the initial plan prove unacceptable. [(1) - (3) to take place in Year 2];
  • (4) 6 hours of supervision (divided as appropriate between half-hour and hour-long sessions), such hours to be distributed as appropriate between the first and second terms of Year 3.

Teaching Methods and Learning Hours

Activity Number Frequency Duration Total/Hours
Individual supervision 6 As appropriate As appropriate 6
Preparation and reading 394
Total 400

Summative Assessment

Component: Dissertation Component Weighting: 100%
Element Length / duration Element Weighting Resit Opportunity
Dissertation (to be submitted no later than the Friday after the last week of the Epiphany term) Maximum of 12,000 words 100%

Formative Assessment:

Oral presentation; dissertation plan methodology and primary materials; draft chapter; preparation for meetings with supervisor.

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