Interdisciplinary MA Dissertation

The details
Philosophical, Historical and Interdisciplinary Studies (School of)
Colchester Campus
Autumn & Spring
Postgraduate: Level 7
Thursday 03 October 2024
Friday 21 March 2025
13 September 2023


Requisites for this module



Key module for

MA F85212 Environment, Society and Culture,
MA F85224 Environment, Society and Culture,
MA F852MO Environment, Society and Culture,
MA V70012 Heritage and Museum Studies,
MA V70024 Heritage and Museum Studies,
MA V700MO Heritage and Museum Studies

Module description

The MA dissertation is a substantial piece of interdisciplinary work 12,000 words long, which culmates the MA course. It is an opportunity to investigate a topic of your choice and really develop your interests and skills.

Students will receive initial guidance on choosing a topic and supervisor from the module director. The supervisor will then provide students guidance on developing their project, carrying out the research and writing the dissertation.

Module aims

The aims of this module are:

  • To provide students with the opportunity to undertake a significant research project involving in-depth investigation at an advanced level;

  • To provide students with the opportunity to use and develop advanced level interdisciplinary research skills at master's level.

Module learning outcomes

By the end of this module, students will be expected to:

  1. Have an appreciation of how different research methods can be used to investigate a specific problem or topic addressed within a substantial piece of written work;

  2. Be able to produce a significant piece of written work that demonstrates critical analysis of a defined issue and explores it within a substantial, coherent argument;

  3. Be able to select, reflect upon, justify and use appropriate qualitative research methods and sources;

  4. Be able to identify, interpret and integrate information from a range of disciplinary perspectives.

Module information

Students who have no prior experience of doing research are strongly recommended to audit the Doing Interdisciplinary Research module.

Learning and teaching methods

The four Spring term sessions will combine short lectures with class discussion and exercises. It is very important that you attend these sessions and do the preparatory reading. Students are also required to do two short assignments in the Spring term: a review of a past dissertation (5%) and a selection of key texts relevant to their research topic (5%).

In Week 32, students will then give a ten-minute oral presentation of their research proposal (5%) at the Dissertation Workshop and receive feedback from the Dissertation Coordinator and their MA Course Director. The final written research proposal (10%) is due on the Friday of Week 33. In the summer term students will conduct independent research for their dissertation in consultation with their supervisors.


This module does not appear to have a published bibliography for this year.

Assessment items, weightings and deadlines

Coursework / exam Description Deadline Coursework weighting
Coursework   Written Research Proposal (1000 words)    10% 
Coursework   Dissertation (12000 words)    75% 
Coursework   Review of Past Dissertation (750 words)    5% 
Coursework   Selection of Key Texts     5% 
Coursework   Oral Project Presentation    5% 

Exam format definitions

  • Remote, open book: Your exam will take place remotely via an online learning platform. You may refer to any physical or electronic materials during the exam.
  • In-person, open book: Your exam will take place on campus under invigilation. You may refer to any physical materials such as paper study notes or a textbook during the exam. Electronic devices may not be used in the exam.
  • In-person, open book (restricted): The exam will take place on campus under invigilation. You may refer only to specific physical materials such as a named textbook during the exam. Permitted materials will be specified by your department. Electronic devices may not be used in the exam.
  • In-person, closed book: The exam will take place on campus under invigilation. You may not refer to any physical materials or electronic devices during the exam. There may be times when a paper dictionary, for example, may be permitted in an otherwise closed book exam. Any exceptions will be specified by your department.

Your department will provide further guidance before your exams.

Overall assessment

100 per cent Coursework Mark


100 per cent Coursework Mark

Module supervisor and teaching staff
Dr Jane Hindley, email: janeh@essex.ac.uk.
PHAIS Postgraduate Queries: phaispg@essex.ac.uk



External examiner

Dr Daniel James Rycroft
University of East Anglia
Associate Professor
Available via Moodle
Of 87 hours, 2 (2.3%) hours available to students:
85 hours not recorded due to service coverage or fault;
0 hours not recorded due to opt-out by lecturer(s).


* Please note: due to differing publication schedules, items marked with an asterisk (*) base their information upon the previous academic year.

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