Language Dissertation

The details
Language and Linguistics
Colchester Campus
Full Year
Undergraduate: Level 6
Thursday 05 October 2023
Friday 28 June 2024
11 April 2022


Requisites for this module
LA041 and LA042 and LA051
The Department of Language and Linguistics can offer guidance on prior knowledge or qualification exemptions.



Key module for

BA Q140 Language Studies,
BA Q143 Language Studies (4 Years Including Foundation Year),
BA R900 Modern Languages,
BA R999 Modern Languages (5 Years Including Foundation Year),
BA R8T7 Modern Languages with Latin American Studies,
BA R8T9 Modern Languages with Latin American Studies (5 Years Including Foundation Year),
BA RR49 Spanish Studies and Modern Languages,
BA RT97 Spanish, Portuguese and Brazilian Studies,
BA RT99 Spanish, Portuguese and Brazilian Studies (5 Years Including Foundation Year),
BA R106 Language Studies with Latin American Studies,
BA R107 Language Studies with Latin American Studies (Including Foundation Year),
BA Q911 Modern Languages Translation, Interpreting and Cultural Mediation,
BA Q912 Modern Languages Translation, Interpreting and Cultural Mediation (Including Foundation Year)

Module description

Building on the knowledge and skills gained in their language modules, the Language Expert modules and the Year Abroad (if applicable), students will conduct an independent study, under supervision, on a topic related to their chosen language (areas studied at levels 4, 5 and 6). The topic must be approved by their supervisor. The study culminates in a dissertation of 6,000 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), a translation study*, a comparative translation study with commentary*, etc.
* A translation study is only available to students who are enrolled into LA067 (Translation, Subtitling and Interpreting) or have taken an equivalent translation module during their Year Abroad.

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) weekly support sessions (2 hours each) on research methods and academic skills in the autumn term. • 3 individual supervision sessions in both autumn term and spring term. 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 short drafts of sections/sub-sections. Term 2: • Submit the draft of a section/chapter (1,500 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. • Attend the individual sessions with the supervisor. • Re-write the 1,500 draft in the light of the supervisor’s feedback. • Write up the dissertation, considering comments from the supervisor and peer review (where applicable). Easter break Finalise and submit the 6,000 word dissertation, including content page, annotations/bibliography, appendices, etc. by Tuesday 11 April (week 28). This will count for 70% of the overall mark. Term 3: Prepare a viva to defend your work: this will consist in a 10 min. oral presentation in week 32, with written support (slides, bibliography), followed by 10 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 a published bibliography for this year.

Assessment items, weightings and deadlines

Coursework / exam Description Deadline Coursework weighting
Coursework   Written proposal (in English)    10% 
Coursework   Final dissertation  09/04/2024  70% 
Practical   Oral presentation (viva) in the target language, with written support (slides, bibliography)    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
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
Mrs Laura Hedwig Anneliese Lewis
Durham University
Assistant 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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