Dissertation (MSc History) HIST5038P

  • Academic Session: 2023-24
  • School: School of Humanities
  • Credits: 60
  • Level: Level 5 (SCQF level 11)
  • Typically Offered: Full Year
  • Available to Visiting Students: No

Short Description

Every student progressing to the degree of MSc is expected to write a dissertation on a topic of his/her own choosing. A dissertation is an argument based on primary sources, placed in the context of existing historiography. Its focus on primary source material is what distinguishes from a long essay, and it is important that you identify a manageable and appropriate body of sources on which to base your research. You will need to start thinking about the topic and sources for your dissertation from the beginning of your degree, and various components of RRSH will help you move towards shaping a topic and being ready to undertake a programme of research by the end of Semester 2. The dissertation should aim to build an argument and make a case in a coherent and convincing fashion; it should prove its case through an informed and critically aware use of primary sources; it should show how its argument relates to the existing secondary literature. Ideally your dissertation should constitute an original contribution to its field, and the best dissertations are equivalent to a publishable journal article.



Requirements of Entry

Students will not be permitted to progress to preparation of the dissertation unless their coursework achieves a weighted average aggregation score of 12 (equivalent to C3) or above, with at least 75% of the credits at Grade D3 or better, and all credits at Grade F or above. Students failing to achieve this standard will be notified in June that they may not prepare a dissertation. Exceptionally, a candidate may be permitted to progress to the dissertation where the department judges that the candidate's performance offers a reasonable prospect of that candidate reaching the standard required for the award of the Masters degree following reassessment


Research Resources for Historians (RRSH)


12-15,000 words dissertation

Main Assessment In: August

Course Aims

This course aims to:

■ train students in the form, style, apparatus and techniques of a scholarly piece of historical writing.

■ extend knowledge of a particular period chosen by the student, at a depth greater than that achieved in undergraduate study.

■ encourage the independent and original analysis of a complex range of appropriate source materials.

■ prepare students for further graduate study of an advanced kind, to M.Litt. or Ph.D. level, should the student so desire

Intended Learning Outcomes of Course

On completion of the dissertation the student should be able to:

■ assemble and assess material from a variety of sources, including libraries, archives, interviews and web-based storage media.

■ undertake and complete a sustained piece of independent original historical research

Minimum Requirement for Award of Credits