Durham University
Programme and Module Handbook

Undergraduate Programme and Module Handbook 2023-2024 (archived)

Module COMB3002: Interdisciplinary Dissertation (40 credits)

Department: Combined Honours in Social Sciences

COMB3002: Interdisciplinary Dissertation (40 credits)

Type Tied Level 3 Credits 40 Availability Available in 2023/24 Module Cap None. Location Durham
Tied to LMV0
Tied to LMVA
Tied to LMVP


  • Any level 2 methods module or other appropriate evidence.


  • A minimum of 20 credits in each of the subjects combined in the dissertation.

Excluded Combination of Modules

  • Any other dissertation module.


  • To give students the opportunity to undertake an extended interdisciplinary study bringing together the theories and concepts from the subjects they have studied within their Combined Social Science degree programme.


  • Dissertation on a substantial topic in the field of social science chosen by the student and bringing together theories and concepts from their other subject modules.

Learning Outcomes

Subject-specific Knowledge:
  • Demonstrate an ability to formulate informed research questions relating to a chosen topic;
  • Display a critical understanding of key theoretical concerns and appropriate underlying concepts relevant to their chosen area of research;
  • Display a critical understanding of the core methodological issues relating to their area of research;
  • Demonstrate detailed knowledge of the particular issues (e.g. theoretical, methodological and, where appropriate, policy-related) associated with their research topic.
Subject-specific Skills:
  • Plan and devise a programme of work applicable to investigating the defined research questions;
  • Identify and survey literature relevant to the research questions;
  • Evaluate arguments and evidence;
  • Undertake and present theoretical and empirical material in a scholarly manner;
  • Employ both theoretical and methodological expertise in independently analysing key issues related to their chosen research topic.
Key Skills:
  • Communicate complex ideas in writing;
  • Plan and manage their own learning;
  • Demonstrate a range of numeracy skills where appropriate;
  • Demonstrate a capacity to compile extensive bibliographies using a range of online search tools and web-based resources.

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

  • Students are given two plenary general dissertation workshops;
  • There will be six individual supervisions each lasting for thirty minutes;
  • A formative plan (including list of chapter headings, summary of contents and working bibliography) will be submitted and returned during Michaelmas term;
  • A formative draft chapter will be submitted and returned during Epiphany term;
  • Summative assessment will be a 12,000 word dissertation submitted at the start of Easter term.

Teaching Methods and Learning Hours

Activity Number Frequency Duration Total/Hours
General Workshops 2 2 2 hours 4
Tutorial 6 By arrangement 30 minutes 3
Preparation and Reading 393
Total 400

Summative Assessment

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

Formative Assessment:

Plan (list of chapter headings, summary of contents, working bibliography) Draft chapter

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