PP3DIS-Dissertation in Philosophy

Module Provider: Philosophy
Number of credits: 40 [20 ECTS credits]
Terms in which taught: Autumn / Spring / Summer module
Non-modular pre-requisites: The submission of Part 2 coursework by the submission deadline except where extensions have been approved in advance
Modules excluded:
Module version for: 2017/8

Module Convenor: Mr George Mason

Email: g.p.mason@reading.ac.uk

Summary module description:

In this module you will pursue an in-depth philosophical project of your own devising. While predominately working independently you will receive one-on-one supervision with an academic working in the same field of study, and you will be encouraged to collaborate with other students on the module. 


The module will further develop your skills of independent learning, critical argument, original research, project management and clear communication. The dissertation module provides both a valuable commercial skillset and an excellent preparation for further study.

Assessable learning outcomes:

Success in this module will require you to:

  • Plan, organize and carry out a substantial piece of independent research, including the selection of an appropriate research question and the development of a rigorous research proposal.

  • Identify the relevant primary and secondary literature to your chosen research question, develop a bibliography and present it appropriately.

  • Explain and critically assess in detail the philosophical theories, arguments and texts relevant to your research question.

  • Select, explain and assess philosophical methodologies appropriate to your research question.

  • Rigorously develop, communicate and defend a cogent philosophical argument to address your research question.

  • Exercise skills of editing, proof-reading and philosophical writing to a high standard of scholarly accuracy.

  • Confidently and effectively present a detailed philosophical argument to a group of your peers and respond to the objections and arguments of others in an open forum. 

Additional outcomes:

You will also develop your ability to:

  • Effectively deploy IT skills to further an ongoing project, including searching library databases, using online resources, advanced word processing and presentation software.

  • Think laterally and effectively solve problems.

  • Work independently as a self-starter, showing independence and initiative.

  • Organise your time effectively and manage a significant project.

Outline content:

You will first select a research question and develop a rigorous research proposal that identifies a body of relevant literature and an appropriate philosophical method. You’ll be supported in creating the proposal through research methods training from the Philosophy Librarian and by your personal tutor. You’ll then implement your proposal independently, supported by one-on-one meetings with your supervisor. In the Spring term you will present a work-in-progress session to your peers at our Dissertation Day, where you’ll give and receive additional feedback. Submission of the completed dissertation will be in the Summer term.

Brief description of teaching and learning methods:

The module is taught be one-on-one supervisions. It will be your responsibility to arrange supervisions and to organise them appropriately with regards to your other commitments. You will also receive specialist library training and participate in work in progress presentations.

Contact hours:
  Autumn Spring Summer
Seminars 12
Project Supervision 3 3
Practicals classes and workshops 2
Guided independent study 140 140 100
Total hours by term 145.00 155.00 100.00
Total hours for module 400.00

Summative Assessment Methods:
Method Percentage
Dissertation 65
Oral assessment and presentation 25
Set exercise 10

Other information on summative assessment:

Formative assessment methods:

  • Discussion of draft research proposal with your personal tutor.

  • Discussion of written work with supervisor, including draft material intended for the dissertation but also of preliminary discussion pieces earlier in the process.

  • Discussion of work in progress with your peers, informally and formally as part of the Spring term Dissertation Day

Penalties for late submission:
The Module Convenor will apply the following penalties for work submitted late, in accordance with the University policy.

  • where the piece of work is submitted up to one calendar week after the original deadline (or any formally agreed extension to the deadline): 10% of the total marks available for the piece of work will be deducted from the mark for each working day (or part thereof) following the deadline up to a total of five working days;
  • where the piece of work is submitted more than five working days after the original deadline (or any formally agreed extension to the deadline): a mark of zero will be recorded.

  • The University policy statement on penalties for late submission can be found at: http://www.reading.ac.uk/web/FILES/qualitysupport/penaltiesforlatesubmission.pdf
    You are strongly advised to ensure that coursework is submitted by the relevant deadline. You should note that it is advisable to submit work in an unfinished state rather than to fail to submit any work.

    Length of examination:

    Requirements for a pass:
    A mark of 40% overall.

    Reassessment arrangements:

    Dissertation to be resubmitted during the resit period if it carries an original mark of less than 40%.

    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: 20 April 2017

    Things to do now