BA Politics and German

Year of entry: 2023

Course unit details:
Dissertation in German Studies

Course unit fact file
Unit code GERM30000
Credit rating 40
Unit level Level 3
Teaching period(s) Full year
Offered by German Studies
Available as a free choice unit? No


This course unit is a guided research unit, in which the student submits a 12,000-word dissertation on a subject of her or his own choosing that relates to the German-speaking world (subject to approval by the convenor). The student will be expected to identify and develop a dissertation topic appropriate to the scale of the project. They will shape a central research question that should provide scope to explore sophisticated critical issues and undertake complex research and analysis. Following some initial lectures on key issues related to undertaking and designing a dissertation project, the convenor will allocate the student a dissertation supervisor, who will provide guidance with relevant research methods, writing skills and analysis of data. Thus, this course unit affords the student the opportunity to design and undertake a large research project, and will involve significant independent research. 


IMPORTANT: Students are reminded that they should seek formal ethical approval before undertaking any research for their dissertation that involves third parties (e.g. interviews, questionnaires, etc.). This includes any preliminary research that students may wish to undertake during their year abroad or the summer prior to their final year. They should contact the dissertation convenor for guidance on how and when to apply for such approval. 


None. However, an average mark of 60% at Level 2 is usually necessary for admission onto this course unit. 


  • To develop a better understanding of the languages, cultures and/or histories of the German-speaking world 

  • To explore an aspect of the languages, cultures and/or histories of the German-speaking world in greater analytical depth 

  • To develop critical thinking, conceptual reasoning and analytical skills 

  • To place an analysis of culture and/or history in their social, aesthetic and political context 

Learning outcomes

On successful completion of the course the student will be able to:

Knowledge and understanding

  • Show an in-depth knowledge of an aspect of the languages, cultures and/or histories of the German-speaking world 

  • Show familiarity with key scholarly debates and literature about their chosen topic   

Intellectual skills

  • Define a topic for research 

  • Write and revise a key research question 

  • Write analytical plans for extended pieces of work  

  • Develop a written argument of depth and complexity, using primary sources and critical literature, with a standard of scholarly presentation of the material produced appropriate to Level 3 study.¿

Practical skills

  • Use the library, electronic and online resources 

  • Engage in significant independent research 

  • Design a large-scale research project appropriate to Level 3 study 

  • Organize a large volume of information  

Transferable skills and personal qualities

  • Manage time effectively, self-motivate and work to deadlines 

  • Communicate a coherent and critical argument of depth and complexity in written form  

  • Use information and communication technology (ICT) 

  • Assess the relevance and importance of the ideas of others 

  • Demonstrate powers of analysis 

  • Display good literacy skills in English 

  • Show awareness of and responsiveness to the nature and extent of intercultural diversity. 

Employability skills

Analytical skills
Students taking this unit will be able to analyse and evaluate both existing literature on the material studied and the primary set materials themselves. Above all, committed students will emerge from this course unit with an advanced capacity to think critically, i.e. knowledgeably, rigorously, confidently and independently.
On this unit students are encouraged to design a large-scale research project, and respond imaginatively and independently to the questions and ideas raised by existing literature on the topic and the primary materials studied.
Project management
Students taking this unit will be able to work towards deadlines, work independently and to manage their time effectively.
Students on this unit will be required to digest, summarise and present large amounts of information. They are encouraged to enrich their responses and arguments with a wide range of further reading.
Written communication
Students on this unit will develop their ability to communicate a coherent and critical argument of depth and complexity in written form and to write in a way that is lucid, precise and compelling

Assessment methods

Assessment task  


Weighting within unit 

  1. Dissertation title, abstract and annotated bibliography due normally in week 8 of Semester 1 (summative and formative) 


1,000 words 


  1. Dissertation plan due normally in week 11 of Semester 1 (summative and formative) 

500-1,000 words 


  1. Draft chapter due no later than 2 weeks before the Easter vacation 

2,000 words 


  1. Dissertation (summative) 

12,000 words 



Feedback methods

Feedback method

Formative or Summative

Written and oral feedback on the title, abstract and annotated bibliography


Written and oral feedback on the dissertation plan


Written and oral feedback on draft chapter


Written feedback on the dissertation 



Recommended reading

Suggested further readings 

Chambers, Ellie, and Northledge, Andrew, The Arts Good Study Guide (Milton Keynes: Oxford University Press, 1997) 

Reardon, Denis, Doing Your Undergraduate Project (London: SAGE, 2004) 

Study hours

Scheduled activity hours
Lectures 3
Project supervision 6
Independent study hours
Independent study 391

Teaching staff

Staff member Role
Sebastian Truskolaski Unit coordinator

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