Undergraduate Module Descriptor

PHL3040: Philosophy Dissertation

This module descriptor refers to the 2017/8 academic year.


NQF Level6
Credits30 ECTS Value15
Term(s) and duration

This module ran during term 1 (11 weeks) and term 2 (11 weeks)

Academic staff

Giovanna Colombetti (Convenor)


Students would normally have completed one or more of the second year core Philosophy modules



Available via distance learning


The writing of a philosophy dissertation offers you the opportunity to engage in a research project on a topic of your own choice. Guidance and support include discussions with the module convener, allocation of an expert academic supervisor and participation in small discussion groups of students working on similar topics. The main aim is for you to select a topic and way of working on a philosophical problem that suits you and through which you can show your acquired skills in independent research, philosophical analysis and writing. You may choose to engage with and discuss a specific traditional or current problem, a particular author or book, or write a philosophical essay on a current ethical, social or epistemological problem.

The module begins with a two-hour session of general introduction to expectations, progress measures, library and other resources, and supervisor support. You will then be assigned to a supervisor, and submit the first outline and summary of your project idea and research plan (and an initial bibliography covering some of the relevant literature). In a second step you will discuss this outline with your supervisor and other students in a first small-group seminar. Throughout both terms you can request inidividual 1:2:1 supervision on general and more specific aspects of the dissertation. A substantial draft of the dissertation, which outlines the course of your argument and has at least half of the text written up (with references and argued to the expected standard), is expected to be ready for the second February group seminar meeting. In the intervening weeks you are expected to conduct your research independently and seek advice from your supervisor and other academic experts on the way when needed. After an extensive discussion of the draft dissertation with your supervisor, you complete the dissertation for submission at the end of April/beginning of May. The word maximum for the dissertation is 9000 words (plus or minus 10%)

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