History MA/MA(SocSci)

History Dissertation HIST4082P

  • Academic Session: 2023-24
  • School: School of Humanities
  • Credits: 40
  • Level: Level 4 (SCQF level 10)
  • Typically Offered: Runs Throughout Semesters 1 and 2
  • Available to Visiting Students: No

Short Description

The dissertation allows students to undertake original work over an extended period by investigating primary sources (where necessary in translation), and by setting their findings against existing research and/or theories and/or methodologies in the chosen field. The choice of topic and approach are shaped by the student, but in consultation with a supervisor.


None. Students are responsible for arranging up to five meetings with their supervisor.

Excluded Courses

4281P: Applied Dissertation with Placement in History




Students submit a brief dissertation proposal at the outset, after discussion with a putative supervisor, but they are graded on the 12,000-word dissertation submitted at the end of course. The word count includes footnotes and appendices, but not the bibliography and front matter (such as title page, table of contents, acknowledgments).

Main Assessment In: April/May

Are reassessment opportunities available for all summative assessments? Not applicable

Reassessments are normally available for all courses, except those which contribute to the Honours classification. For non Honours courses, students are offered reassessment in all or any of the components of assessment if the satisfactory (threshold) grade for the overall course is not achieved at the first attempt. This is normally grade D3 for undergraduate students and grade C3 for postgraduate students. Exceptionally it may not be possible to offer reassessment of some coursework items, in which case the mark achieved at the first attempt will be counted towards the final course grade. Any such exceptions for this course are described below. 

Course Aims

This course aims to:

■ Introduce and foster research methods.

■ Develop students' capacity for independent research and writing.

■ Provide the opportunity to study in depth a carefully defined historical topic on the basis of guidance from a specialist tutor.

■ Allow students to undertake sustained independent analysis of a substantial body of primary sources (where appropriate, in translation).

■ Enhance students' research skills by requiring that they undertake extensive independent work in libraries and, where appropriate, archives and other repositories.

■ Foster a combination of investigative, creative and organisational skills valuable not only in historical research but also in most branches of graduate employment.

Intended Learning Outcomes of Course

By the end of this course students will be able to:

■ Formulate their own research questions relating to historical problems or debates.

■ Evaluate a particular topic in terms of subject-specific context/theories/methodologies and critically incorporate this engagement into their own research.

■ Organise, pursue and complete a programme of independent research.

■ Make judicious and critical use of a broad range of secondary and primary material by synthesising it appropriately and using it to construct a cogent argument.

■ Write up a substantial piece of scholarship based on their own research findings.

■ Articulate the individual Graduate Attributes that they have developed by producing their dissertation.

Minimum Requirement for Award of Credits

Students must submit at least 75% by weight of the components (including examinations) of the course's summative assessment.

Moreover, to be eligible for the award of an Honours degree, students must have achieved a grade D3 or better for their dissertation.