Philosophy Dissertation

The details
Colchester Campus
Undergraduate: Level 6
Monday 13 January 2020
Friday 20 March 2020
27 September 2019


Requisites for this module



Key module for

BA VV15 Philosophy and History,
BA VV16 Philosophy and History (Including Placement Year),
BA VV51 Philosophy and History (Including Foundation Year),
BA VV5C Philosophy and History (Including Year Abroad),
BA VV5X Philosophy and History (Including Foundation Year and Year Abroad)

Module description

Please note, although this is a Spring term module there are assignments due in the Autumn term.

Students write a 5000 word dissertation on a philosophical topic studied in either their second year or the autumn term of their final year. This is an independent research project.

Note that requests for supervision of a dissertation are not automatically accepted. Enrolment onto PY426 for the spring term is on a provisional basis until confirmed or cancelled at the end of the preceding autumn term, based on the strength of a 500-word summary and a 1500-word proposal. Students whose proposals are not approved will be requested to choose an alternative spring-term module to make up the required credits.

Module aims

The module aims to allow third/final year students to write their first piece of independent research on a topic which they have chosen themselves.

Module learning outcomes

By the end of the module students will have acquired and/or developed the relevant research skills, such as: independence of thought, the capacity to organise and structure a longer piece of written work, the ability to explore the secondary literature on a particular topic in an autonomous way and to develop their own ideas more in depth than in a standard-length essay.

Students will also have:

* Deepened their knowledge of the area of philosophy relevant to the topic they have selected;

* Developed transferable skills such as the ability to think independently, to consider and act on advice, to work creatively with others (the supervisor), time management, and clear communication, both oral and written.

Module information

The dissertation must be linked EITHER to a Philosophy module taken and passed during the second/penultimate year (either 15 or 30 credits) OR to a Philosophy module taken during the autumn term of the third/final year. In the latter case the dissertation can be linked either to a stand-alone third year 15 credit module OR to the first half of a third year 30 credit module. Note that if the dissertation is linked to a module taken in the autumn, the assessment for that module will occur as normal (in other words, the dissertation does NOT replace the standard assessment for the linked module).

If the dissertation is linked to a Philosophy module taken during a period of study abroad, all coursework submitted for the relevant module taken abroad must be submitted to the Undergraduate Office (6.130) prior to the start of the term in which the dissertation module is to be taken.

Enrolment onto PY426-6-SP: Philosophy Dissertation in the spring term is on a provisional basis until confirmed or cancelled at the end of the preceding autumn term, based on the strength of a 500-word summary (accompanied by a short bibliography of the 3 most relevant references) and a 1500-word proposal (with a bibliography of the 5 most relevant references). Students whose proposals are not approved, or who fail to submit either of the two assignments above, will be requested to choose an alternative spring-term module to make up the required credits. Details can be found in the Module Description for PY426.

If your request to take the Dissertation module is approved, you will be allocated a Supervisor. Your Supervisor (who must be a member of academic staff in Philosophy) can be either the person who taught on the module to which your dissertation is connected, or another member of staff who has expertise in the relevant area.

Please note that writing a dissertation involves carrying out some independent research into the topic which you have chosen. This must be evidenced in your concluding bibliography, which should be substantial. Such a project requires strong self-motivation, a capacity for autonomous work, and good time-management skills. If carrying out such independent research does not appeal to you, then you should choose a taught module instead.

The marking criteria for the Dissertation are the same as those applying to philosophy essays.

Learning and teaching methods

Initial meeting with supervisor plus 1.5 to 3 hours of supervision, to be split in as many or as few sessions as required over the course of the relevant term. All supervisions are to take place during term-time.


This module does not appear to have a published bibliography.

Assessment items, weightings and deadlines

Coursework / exam Description Deadline Weighting
Coursework 500 Word summary of Dissertation idea 18/10/2019
Coursework Proposal (1500 words) 29/11/2019
Coursework Philosophy Dissertation (5000 Words) 24/04/2020 100%

Overall assessment

Coursework Exam
100% 0%


Coursework Exam
100% 0%
Module supervisor and teaching staff
Individual supervisor



External examiner

Dr Thomas Joseph Stern
University College London
Senior Lecturer
Available via Moodle
Of 3 hours, 3 (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).


Further information

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