Module Provider: Archaeology
Number of credits: 80 [40 ECTS credits]
Terms in which taught: Spring / Summer term module
Non-modular pre-requisites:
Modules excluded:
Current from: 2018/9

Module Convenor: Dr Gabor Thomas


Type of module:

Summary module description:
This module comprises a series of Dissertation workshops; a Masters Conference and a sustained period of independent supervised research in the writing of a Masters Level Dissertation.


The aim of this module is to develop advanced student high-level skills in critical evaluation and understanding of current research problems and method and theory, and in designing, planning and implementing a major independent research project, through writing a dissertation of 15-20,000 words.

Assessable learning outcomes:
The Dissertation workshops will enable students to:
•assess the nature and scope of recent dissertation research problems, methodologies and data, and gain a practical understanding of originality in the application of knowledge and techniques of research and enquiry
•evaluate critically the depth of knowledge, structure, argument, and writing style in dissertations on a range of scientific and socio-cultural topics
•develop oral communication skills in structured group discussions, as well as in formal conference presentation at the Masters Conference
Through dissertation proposal, research and writing it is expected that the student will be able to:
•identify and appraise critically current research problems at the cutting-edge of archaeological theory and practice
•demonstrate practical understanding and originality in research design, techniques, and implementation
•organise independently data collection, analysis and interpretation
•evaluate critically the construction and interpretation of knowledge
•structure written arguments and articulate complex issues clearly

Additional outcomes:

It is also expected that students will be able to: • develop personal responsibility and initiative in planning, managing and executing a major research project professionally • make decisions during unforeseen and complex situations as the research progresses and develop self-reliance and -direction in addressing and solving problems

  • If incorporating a research article, learn to follow specific journal guidelines and synthesis research 

Outline content:
This module will begin with an introduction to critical analysis of the strategies and skills required for writing a Masters level Dissertation. Several sessions will then be devoted to structured group critique and discussion of past dissertations, led by different members of staff. Students will write their own dissertation research proposal during this module, which will be assessed. Examination preparation, making oral presentations at conferences and writing papers for publication will also be reviewed and key skills highlighted. Students will make an oral presentation on their Dissertation research at the Department Masters Conference. Part-time students will attend the Workshops and present at the Masters Conference in their first year.

Dissertation research areas are wide-ranging, and include critical evaluation of primary and/or published sources, and their relation to current problems at the forefront of archaeological method and theory. Research methods and approaches may include original archaeological or environmental fieldwork, in-depth analysis of primary data, and/or application of innovative approaches and theories. The research subject areas and approaches may relate to the MA Option modules, or to other areas which can be supervised by Department staff, who have a wide range of expertise.

Brief description of teaching and learning methods:
This subject-specific module will be taught by staff from the Department of Archaeology. The sessions on dissertation critiques will be run by different members of staff, drawing on experience of a range of research areas and approaches. Students will learn through: individual oral presentation of a critique of dissertation; structured group discussion; writing of a dissertation research proposal, and oral presentations at the Masters Conference. Each student receives individual supervision on dissertation research design, implementation and writing, from one or two members of staff with relevant expertise.

Contact hours:
  Autumn Spring Summer
Lectures 17
Seminars 6
Project Supervision 10 32
Demonstration 4
Practicals classes and workshops 3
Guided independent study 60 668
Total hours by term 100.00 700.00
Total hours for module 800.00

Summative Assessment Methods:
Method Percentage
Written assignment including essay 5
Dissertation 90
Oral assessment and presentation 5

Summative assessment- Examinations:

Summative assessment- Coursework and in-class tests:

Formative assessment methods:

Penalties for late submission:
Penalties for late submission on this module are in accordance with the University policy. Please refer to page 5 of the Postgraduate Guide to Assessment for further information:

Assessment requirements for a pass:
50% overall

Reassessment arrangements:
A failed dissertation may be resubmitted in the following academic year, but it cannot carry forward more than a pass mark.

Additional Costs (specified where applicable):
1) Required text books:
2) Specialist equipment or materials:
3) Specialist clothing, footwear or headgear:
4) Printing and binding:
5) Computers and devices with a particular specification:
6) Travel, accommodation and subsistence:

Last updated: 28 September 2018


Things to do now