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Module code


This is an opportunity for students to formulate, frame and undertake a substantial piece of philosophical writing and research in an area of their choice.

You work closely with your supervisors but are also expected to take a high degree of responsibility for your projects, which will result in a 10 -12,000 word dissertation on a specialist topic that reflects the aims and outcomes of your MLitt Programme.

The dissertation topic will be finalised in consultation between you and a designated supervisor. This process will take place as early as possible in the case of full-time students, and the topic will normally be agreed at the start of the second semester of study at the latest. In the case of part-time students, the dissertation topic will normally be agreed by the end of the second semester in the first year of study, to allow for initial research over the summer vacation period.

The designated dissertation supervisor will give students guidance about the nature of the research required, the parameters of the project, and the standard expected, as well as about planning the research project, necessary rates of progress, and appropriate research approaches. Supervisor and student will meet regularly to review the student’s ongoing work, and the supervisor will request and comment on written work as appropriate and in a constructive manner.


This module is assessed by your 10,000-12,000 word dissertation.

Intended learning outcomes

  • Students will have an enhanced capacity to work independently and to identify, formulate and undertake research projects
  • Students will better appreciate the challenges involved in undertaking and presenting detailed specialist research of an original nature
  • Students will extend their familiarity with a significant body of specialist literature, and be able to situate themselves critically in relation to that literature
  • Students will acquire enhanced skills of analysis and argumentation
  • Students will be better able to put into practice the skills and approaches acquired on the three taught MLitt modules
  • Students will be better prepared for further independent research at a higher level
  • Students will have a better understanding of what is involved in making a scholarly and significant contribution to their chosen field, and will be better placed to do so


  • To enable students to work independently on a research project chosen and formulated by themselves
  • To facilitate in-depth and original research on a particular topic relevant to the field
  • To deepen knowledge and understanding of primary and secondary literature in the relevant field
  • To extend students’ capacities for rigorous and critical argumentation
  • To put into practice skills and approaches acquired from the taught MLitt modules
  • To develop students’ capacity for further independent research at a higher level
  • To better equip students with the skills required to make a scholarly and significant contribution to their chosen field


You will received individual supervision, and are expected to undertake a high degree of structured independent study.

You will be asked to produce an abstract and to produce plans and draft chapters according to a timetable agreed with the supervisor.

Students normally give a presentation on their dissertation work to the postgraduate "work-in-progress" seminar.