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Durham University

Faculty Handbook Archive

Archive Module Description

This page is for the academic year 2018-19. The current handbook year is 2022-23

Department: Law


Type Tied Level 3 Credits 40 Availability Available in 2018/19 Module Cap Location Durham
Tied to M101 Law
Tied to M103 Law (with Year Abroad)


  • To satisfaction of Chairman/Chairwoman of the Board of Studies.


  • At discretion of Chairman/Chairwoman 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 from a list approved by the Board of Studies.

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 two lectures dealing with electronic sources of information, planning the dissertation and related matters. Handouts will provide further guidance and there will be more detailed information supplied on DUO.
  • Learning will be facilitated by student-supervisor interaction in meetings.
  • Students will be given formative feedback on their synopsis and working bibliography 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 2 One each in Michaelmas and Epiphany 1 hour 2
Supervision 1 One in Easter Term of prior year - preferably one-on-one but can be electronic 30mins 0.5
Supervisions 5 Regular one-to-one sessions with the student's dissertation supervisor, the number and length of which will vary from student to student and from topic to topic. 30mins 2.5
Preparation and Reading 395
Total 400

Summative Assessment

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

Formative Assessment:

Synopsis and draft bibliography - by week 6 of Michaelmas Term; Sample chapter - by week 1 of Epiphany Term; First supervision meeting – after exams in Easter Term of prior year (can be electronic); Final supervision meeting - in weeks 6-8 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