Language Studies Dissertation

The details
Language and Linguistics
Colchester Campus
Full Year
Undergraduate: Level 6
Thursday 05 October 2023
Friday 28 June 2024
10 October 2023


Requisites for this module



Key module for

BA Q140 Language Studies,
BA Q143 Language Studies (4 Years Including Foundation Year),
BA R106 Language Studies with Latin American Studies,
BA R107 Language Studies with Latin American Studies (Including Foundation Year)

Module description

Building on the knowledge and skills gained in their language modules and the Language Expert modules, students will conduct an independent study, under supervision, on a topic related to their chosen language (areas studied at levels 4 and 5). The topic must be approved by their supervisor. The study culminates in a dissertation of 5,000 words written in the target language. The dissertation can take a variety of forms: for example, a research project on an aspect of culture or society, a literature/film review and analysis (with a focus on a specific author/text or director/film), etc.

Module aims

With this module, students can expect to develop their ability to conduct independent research, to work with varied and complex sources of information in the target language, thus having the opportunity to develop their analytical thinking and problem solving abilities, and expand their linguistic proficiency and communication skills in the target language.

Module learning outcomes

On completing the module they will have a sound understanding of how to conduct independent research, gather information and report the results of research. They will have advanced lexical and grammatical knowledge of the target language, and an in-depth understanding of the topic they have investigated. They will also have acquired useful transferrable skills such as independent learning, planning and organization and editing and digital skills.

Module information

Materials placed on Moodle are essential to the module and should be treated like a textbook. They must be downloaded, printed and brought to classes. Materials will be added to Moodle when needed, and you are expected to check updates regularly.

Learning and teaching methods

* A combination of seminar work, individual supervision in person and by email, and independent study. * Generic (all languages + linguistics students) classes (2 hours each) on research methods and academic skills; * Language specific: 2 individual supervision sessions in term 1 and 3 sessions in term 2. Term 0: – Summer Term prior to final year of study: * Select a topic for study (+ scope and range) and email a suggestion to the language teacher. A supervisor will be assigned. * With the help of the supervisor, identify research questions, sources of information and data gathering methods and start independent research. * Send a draft proposal to the supervisor in week 38. * Complete a written Project Proposal* of 400 words and submit it to the supervisor by week 40. This will count for 10% of the overall mark for the dissertation. Term 1: * Attend the generic sessions and the individual sessions with the supervisor. * Submit a dissertation plan and a bibliography. * Submit the draft of a section/chapter (1,000 words) by week 16. This is a formative piece of assessment, for which students will receive feedback but which will not count towards the final mark. Term 2: * Attend the generic sessions and the individual sessions with the supervisor. * Re-write the 1,000 draft in the light of the supervisor's feedback. * Write up the dissertation, considering comments from the supervisor and peer review (where applicable). Term 3: * Finalise and submit the 5,000 word dissertation, including content page, annotations/bibliography, appendices, etc. by week 30. This will count for 70% of the overall mark. * Prepare a viva to defend your work: this will consist in a 7-8 min. oral presentation in week 32, with written support (slides, bibliography), followed by 7-8 min. questions. This will count for 20% of the overall mark. * Any subsequent changes to the proposal will have to be agreed by the supervisor and the module director.


This module does not appear to have any essential texts. To see non - essential items, please refer to the module's reading list.

Assessment items, weightings and deadlines

Coursework / exam Description Deadline Coursework weighting
Coursework   Written proposal (in English)    10% 
Coursework   Final Dissertation     70% 
Practical   Oral presentation (viva)     20% 

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

Coursework Exam
100% 0%


Coursework Exam
100% 0%
Module supervisor and teaching staff
Ms Dounia Bissar, email:
Various see below for contact details
Dounia Bissar, Room 4.215, tel. 2213, email Contact teachers: Teresa Torres (Spanish), Dounia Bissar (French), Emma Hopper (German), Daniela Carboni (Italian), Beatriz De Paiva (Portuguese). Any member of the Modern Languages teaching staff may be involved in student supervision, depending on their area of expertise.



External examiner

Ms Laurence Richard
University of Southampton
Director Centre for Language Study
Mrs Enza Siciliano Verruccio
University of Reading
Associate Professor
Prof Maria Teresa Conde
University of Cambridge
University Professor
Ms Maria Isabel Moros
University of Exeter
Senior Lecturer in Hispanic Studies
Available via Moodle
Of 14 hours, 14 (100%) hours available to students:
0 hours not recorded due to service coverage or fault;
0 hours not recorded due to opt-out by lecturer(s), module, or event type.


Further information
Language and Linguistics

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