Durham University
Programme and Module Handbook

Undergraduate Programme and Module Handbook 2023-2024 (archived)


Department: Law


Type Tied Level 3 Credits 40 Availability Available in 2023/24 Module Cap Location Durham
Tied to M101
Tied to M103


  • To satisfaction of Chair of the Board of Studies.


  • At discretion of Chair of Board of Studies, in the light of the chosen dissertation topic.

Excluded Combination of Modules

  • None.


  • To enable students to pursue a topic of interest to them which does not feature in the taught curriculum, or to pursue a topic already encountered but at greater depth than is possible within the confines of a taught course.
  • To significantly enhance students' developing legal research skills.


  • A topic chosen by the student.

Learning Outcomes

Subject-specific Knowledge:
  • Students should be able to:
  • Demonstrate a sound understanding of the principles of the topic under investigation.
  • Demonstrate a sound understanding of primary and secondary sources in their subject area.
Subject-specific Skills:
  • Students should be able to:
  • Critically analyse and evaluate an aspect of current law in the light, where this is appropriate, of internal considerations (such as inherent inconsistencies) and external considerations (social, political, moral and commercial pressures).
  • Distinguish between primary and secondary sources in their subject area and to give them appropriate weight in their research.
  • Plan and investigate a theory or argument in the context of a particular area of law.
Key Skills:
  • Students should be able to:
  • Organise their exposition of the law in a rational and coherent manner.
  • Provide a balanced and succinct discussion.
  • Provide a well considered conclusion to the issues presented for discussion.

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

  • Teaching will consist of four lectures and supplementary information provided through an online platform.
  • Learning will be facilitated by student-supervisor interaction in meetings.
  • Students will be given formative feedback on their plan and working bibliography and on a sample chapter in order to assist the student in focusing accurately on the subject under investigation.
  • Dissertation supervisors will provide ongoing support and guidance as appropriate.

Teaching Methods and Learning Hours

Activity Number Frequency Duration Total/Hours
Lectures 4 One each in Epiphany Term and Easter Term of prior year, one each in Michaelmas Term and Epiphany Term 1 hour 4
Supervision 1 One in Easter Term of prior year 30mins 0.5
Supervisions 4 Regular sessions with the student's dissertation supervisor 30mins 2
Preparation and Reading Includes time for review of materials provided online in support of lectures 393.5
Total 400

Summative Assessment

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

Formative Assessment:

Plan (max. 1,000 words) and working bibliography - by week 1 of the final year; First supervision meeting of the final year - in weeks 2-3 of Michaelmas Term; Final title and completed version of the Durham Ethics and Data Protection Form – by week 9 of Michaelmas Term; Sample chapter (max. 4000 words) - by week 1 of Epiphany Term; Final supervision meeting - in weeks 7-9 of Epiphany Term.

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