Undergraduate Dissertation - HI605

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Module delivery information

Location Term Level1 Credits (ECTS)2 Current Convenor3 2020 to 2021
(version 2)
Spring 6 30 (15) DR S Goebel checkmark-circle


This module is designed to give final-year Single or Joint Honours History students an opportunity to independently research a historical topic, under the supervision of an expert in the field. Students are required to submit a dissertation (maximum length 9,000 words) based on research undertaken into primary sources, and an extended reading of secondary sources. It is designed to allow students to engage in their own historical research into any chosen topic (the only stipulation being that there must be a member of staff available within the School of History who is able to supervise the topic), and to present their research in a cogent and accessible format.


This module appears in the following module collections.

Method of assessment

The module will be assessed by 100% coursework. This mark will be based on the submission of one 9,000 word dissertation. Students will be required to undertake research into their chosen topic, independently but with guidance from their supervisor. Marking will examine the use of primary sources, and the deployment of relevant secondary sources and historiographical analysis.

Indicative reading

D. Swetnam & R. Swetnam, Writing Your Dissertation: The Bestselling Guide to Planning, Preparating and Presenting First-Class Work, (How To Books, 2000)
Francis X. Blouin and William G. Rosenberg, Processing the Past: Contesting Authority in History and the Archives(Oxford, 2012).
Antoinette Burton ed., Archive Stories: Facts, Fictions, and the Writing of History (Durham, NC, 2005).
Natalie Zemon Davis, Fiction in the Archives: Pardon Tales and Their Tellers in Sixteenth-Century France (Stanford, 1990).
Jacques Derrida, Archive Fever, A Freudian Interpretation (Chicago, 1996).
Arlette Farge, The Allure of the Archives (London, 2013)
Carolyn Steedman, Dust: The Archive and Cultural History (New Brunswick, NJ, 2002).

See the library reading list for this module (Canterbury)

Learning outcomes

On successful completion of the module students will:

- Be able to pursue research at an advanced level.

- Use archives as a source for historical subject matter and factual information. In particular to develop their appreciation of the epistemological and heuristic stakes and issues involved historical research.

- Have been encouraged to seek out their own student intellectual self-development and independence through the identification of a clear academic subject matter for in-depth research. This module intends to allow to students to pursue their own subjectivities and academic interests with the greatest possible freedom.

- Have conceptualised their chosen topic of research and placed it within a wider historiographical framework of debate or interest.

- Gained useful future and transferable life skills. The dissertation will give them a more reified appreciation of the historian’s craft and useful research skills which they will be able to use and deploy in most avenues of future employment.


  1. Credit level 6. Higher level module usually taken in Stage 3 of an undergraduate degree.
  2. ECTS credits are recognised throughout the EU and allow you to transfer credit easily from one university to another.
  3. The named convenor is the convenor for the current academic session.
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