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Dissertation (Year 4 only)

Module Code: IT412
Module Name: Dissertation (Year 4 only)
Module Credits: 30

The dissertation is for fourth year students who wish or are required to do an extended piece of guided, independent research in a field that falls within one of the taught modules offered by Italian Studies and taken by the student, or within an area of study undertaken on the year abroad and presented in the year abroad essay. It has the same weighting as other final year modules. It provides the opportunity to further your knowledge in a specific area of enquiry under the supervision of a member of staff.

The dissertation is, in many ways, an extended piece of writing similar to the assessments required for various undergraduate modules. Like them, it is expected to contribute new findings or perspectives, thus going well beyond summarizing the secondary literature on a given topic. However, two main differences include the significant length of the piece and the conditions under which it is written. The length is three to four times that of most essays required for modules; as a result, students contemplating writing a dissertation must be sure that they can plan and execute such a long piece of work. Also, since the dissertation is not tied to a specific module, it requires considerable initiative and independent research on the part of the student writing it. Guidance will, of course, be provided, but the time and effort involved in defining a topic, reading around it, and identifying the most promising primary and secondary works should not be discounted.

Students planning to write a final-year dissertation should make preliminary contact with a relevant supervisor (or their personal tutor) in the summer term of the third year. You will be required to submit a formal proposal, and then to submit some work at the end of the summer vacation, in order for your choice to write a dissertation to be approved. At the start of the fourth year you will be assigned a supervisor who will meet with you on a regular basis in approximately six half-hour meetings through the Autumn and Spring terms.

The dissertation will be of 8,000 to 10,000 words including footnotes and excluding bibliography. It is usually submitted in week 3 of term 3.