We use cookies to ensure that we give you the best experience on our website. You can change your cookie settings at any time. Otherwise, we'll assume you're OK to continue.

Durham University

Postgraduate Module Handbook 2021/2022

Archive Module Description

This page is for the academic year 2021-22. The current handbook year is 2022-23

Department: Theology and Religion

THEO53160: Dissertation

Type Open Level 4 Credits 60 Availability Available in 2021/22


  • None


  • None

Excluded Combination of Modules

  • None


  • To enable students to deepen their knowledge and understanding of a particular subject in the field of theology and religion; to advance their skills in the research, analysis and synthesis of texts/data, ideas and arguments, through the writing of an academic dissertation..


  • The module consists in researching and writing a dissertation on a particular subject in the field of theology and religion. The Programme Director and appropriate supervisors will guide students in the choice of their subjects, the refinement of titles and research schedules, and the use of appropriate academic styles. Students will normally submit the completed dissertation in early September. Guidance will be provided to students through lectures and supervisions, and notes on procedures, deadlines, and the formatting of the dissertation will be available in the MA Handbook.

Learning Outcomes

Subject-specific Knowledge:
  • By the conclusion of the module, students should possess a detailed understanding of their particular subject, based on the study of relevant sources, and, where appropriate, original fieldwork.
Subject-specific Skills:
  • By the conclusion of the module, students should
 be able to identify a viable research topic, construct and implement a coherent research programme, and present their work in a readable and properly referenced dissertation.
Key Skills:
  • By the conclusion of the module, students should have acquired advanced research skills, including the ability to locate, summarise and evaluate key sources, both in print and online, and be able to cite them in a professional and academic manner; they should have advanced communication skills, including the ability to construct well-supported and sophisticated arguments, presented in clear, concise and convincing prose.

Modes of Teaching, Learning and Assessment and how these contribute to the learning outcomes of the module

  • Through lectures, students will be guided in how to choose and refine the subjects of their dissertations, how to undertake research, and how to present their work in an appropriate academic style, avoiding plagiarism. Some of these lectures will be generic and some tailored to the interests of students pursuing subjects in biblical studies, theology and ethics, or religion and society.
  • During Michaelmas Term, the Programme Director will assist students in finding appropriate supervisors for their dissertations, and the supervisors will then meet with students on a regular basis to guide them in the writing of their research proposals and literature reviews, and in continuing work on their dissertations.

Teaching Methods and Learning Hours

Activity Number Frequency Duration Total/Hours
Lectures 4 90 minutes 6
Tutorials 6 1 hour 6
Preparation and Reading 588
Total 600

Summative Assessment

Component: Dissertation Component Weighting: 100%
Element Length / duration Element Weighting Resit Opportunity
Dissertation 12,000 - 15,000 words 100% Yes

Formative Assessment:

A 5,000 word research proposal and literature review, to be submitted by a specified date in the first half of Epiphany Term. (Students applying for Scholarships must submit their proposal and review by end of Michaelmas 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