BA Music and Drama / Course details

Year of entry: 2020

Course unit details:

Unit code DRAM30990
Credit rating 40
Unit level Level 3
Teaching period(s) Full year
Offered by Drama
Available as a free choice unit? No


The Dissertation is an independent research project, carried out via desk-based research or with practice, that focuses on an aspect of drama relevant to your degree and in which you have a particular interest. It is an opportunity to conceive, plan, manage and realise an independent research project, under supervision, and it will develop your planning, project management, research and writing skills. The Dissertation is your own work and will express your own views, analyses and enthusiasms, and the end result comprises your unique contribution to Drama as a discipline. Students take part in one-to-one supervisions and complementary research training workshops throughout the academic year. Supervisors help students to define their topic and keep an eye on whether the project is within a student’s ability to complete in the timeframe and permitted word limit. Research training workshops focus on skills in planning and managing research, supervision, research proposals, research methods, research ethics, and writing up research.


Pre-requisite units


Any L1 Drama Study or Practical core option

Any L2 Drama Study core option - Practitioners in Context 1; Practitioners in Context 2; Screen, Culture and Society


Co-requisite units






·         To provide students with an opportunity to undertake independent research under individual supervision in an area of Drama in consultation with a member of staff

·         To provide students with an opportunity to write in-depth and at length on an aspect of drama based in their own interests and degree programme

·         To provide students with an opportunity to formulate their own distinctive research question/s

·         To build on, and develop, students’ competencies in independent study, research and critical thinking including;

o   skills in defining, undertaking and completing a project;

assessment, evaluation and deployment in their own work of critical material on their chosen topic; writing skills appropriate to the demands of an extended piece of professional research.

Learning outcomes

By the end of this course unit the successful student will have demonstrated:

  • independence in her/his ability to formulate a suitable research topic based on her/his own interests and degree programme;
  • Resourcefulness - including an ability to use electronic resources as appropriate - in her/his ability to research that topic;
  • The ability to assimilate and deploy appropriately critical material on that topic;
  • The formal and intellectual skills requisite to the production of an extended piece of written work
  • An ability to undertake and complete an extended research project.


It is possible, though not essential, to include a brief week-by-week breakdown of class topics in this section. It should be stated clearly when these are representative examples only (for example, if some topics are not covered every year).


Supervisions focus on the student’s developing research questions, research plan, argument and written work. Students are asked to submit work to supervisors in line with the following milestones:

·         Second year – initial research proposal and reading plan

·         Semester 1, third year – full research proposal; Dissertation plan; working bibliography

·         Semester 2, third year – title and subtitles; abstract; 2500 word section for detailed feedback


Research training workshops focus on: project management, managing your supervisor, managing your well-being and establishing support networks, timetabling and scheduling, research ethics, developing research proposals, organising your workspace, developing an effective approach to note-taking, asking questions, searching, using the library and other information repositories, reading, reviewing literature, commonly used research methods/methodologies (practice-based research, observation, participation, interviews, performance/screen analysis, working with images, working with text, working with historical sources), analysing materials, developing a line of argument, selecting and discarding, refining and focusing, developing and structuring, drafting, redrafting, editing, presentation and formatting, effective titles and sub-titles, writing abstracts. 

Teaching and learning methods

The course is taught via:


·         Interactive lecture-workshops

·         Individual supervision


The course unit will be complemented by a Blackboard site that conforms to minimum requirements including a course handbook, weekly course breakdown, provision of reading material, reading lists. Supplementary material from workshops will be added as appropriate. The blackboard site will be prepared and available to students at least one week prior to the beginning of the first teaching week each semester.

Knowledge and understanding

·         demonstrate knowledge and understanding of a specific field of enquiry in Drama

demonstrate knowledge and understanding of a specific research methods and analytical approaches in Drama appropriate to their field of enquiry 

Intellectual skills

·          demonstrate an independent ability to formulate a suitable research topic based on her/his own interests and degree programme

·         demonstrate an ability to assimilate, synthesis and appropriately deploy critical material on that topic

·         demonstrate the formal and intellectual skills requisite to the production of an extended piece of written research

·         demonstrate an ability to undertake and complete an extended research project, including evaluation of a wide range of material and ability to engage critically with that material, and ability to formulate a sustained argument in response to a topic

recognise the limits of knowledge, and its influence on analysis and interpretations, and to use this to develop sustained responses to materials as well as identify areas for on-going learning

Practical skills

·         demonstrate an ability to define, structure, develop and manage a substantial project within a set period of time

·         identify and apply a research method appropriate to the topic

·         work both independently and with a supervisor

·         organise and carry out to completion a practical research project (Dissertation by practice)

communicate ideas and articulate an argument through discussion and assessed written work

Transferable skills and personal qualities

·         demonstrate an advanced ability to self-manage learning – to ask questions independently, identify relevant research material, take initiative, make decisions, and develop independent and sustained responses to complex problems

·         demonstrate an advanced ability to present the sustained arguments effectively in written and oral form

demonstrate tenacity and resourcefulness in locating and analysing materials useful to developing a research project

Employability skills

Analytical skills
¿ Analytical skills (analysing texts and materials)
¿ Initiative (developing own research questions and setting agenda)
¿ Leadership skills (being responsible for overseeing a research project from inception through to submission)
¿ Time management (structuring and organising extended writing and research project); ¿ Editing (selection of relevant material and deciding shape of research project); ¿ Working to fixed and own set deadlines (structuring project around appropriate milestones, completing project for final deadline); ¿ Organisational skills (finding research materials and organising resources) ¿ Interpersonal skills (working with supervisors); ¿ Preparation for effective management of the transition to a master¿s programme and further postgraduate work

Assessment methods

Method Weight
Written assignment (inc essay) 10%
Dissertation 90%

Feedback methods

Full written feedback on the Long Essay, plus formative feedback conducted through one-to-one sessions with assigned tutor.

Study hours

Scheduled activity hours
Practical classes & workshops 10
Project supervision 5
Independent study hours
Independent study 385

Teaching staff

Staff member Role
Jennifer Hughes Unit coordinator

Additional notes

Available on Single Honours Drama; Single Honours Drama and Screen Studies; Joint Honours in Drama and English; Joint Honours Music and Drama; Honours in Combined Studies including Screen and/or Theatre Studies


i) At least 60 credits at Level Two in Drama course units (Single Honours Drama; Single Honours Drama and Screen Studies; Joint Honours in Drama and English; Joint Honours Music and Drama) OR
ii) 60 credits at Level Two in film-related course units, not necessarily in Drama (Combined Studies with Film) OR
iii) 60 credits at Level Two in theatre-related course units, not necessarily in Drama (Combined Studies with Theatre)


At least 20 credits at Level Three in Drama course units


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