AM6001 - Dissertation

What will I learn on this module?

The American Studies dissertation is the most substantial piece of work you will produce during your undergraduate career. It will enable you to apply the skills you acquired at earlier levels to a discrete body of primary sources related to an identifiable area of scholarly enquiry. Dissertation topics will normally be chosen from an area you have studied before or are studying at Level 6 and be supervised by an appropriate tutor. Whereas the American Studies Extended Essay at Level 5 is explicitly interdisciplinary, Dissertations may utilise a single-disciplinary approach to the chosen subject, in line with each student’s developing interests and disciplinary inclinations.

How will I learn on this module?

This is an individual project which is negotiated between the student and their supervisor. There is therefore no set teaching syllabus, but there will be some introductory lectures at the beginning of the semester. The lectures are accompanied by fortnightly workshops, which will provide students with a background on sources, information retrieval, research skills and practice, and managing the dissertation. In semester two, you will meet with your supervisor for tutoring sessions on a one-to-one basis. These offer the opportunity for formative feedback and for discussing plans for future work.

How will I be supported academically on this module?

Your academic development will be supported through engagement with your peers, academic tutors, and programme leaders. Academic support is provided through workshops and through individual tutorials which allow specific issues to be addressed and to promote progress in academic development. The module tutor will be accessible within publicised office hours and via email. Your peers will provide you will a collaborative learning environment, and your programme leader will guide you through the requirements and expectations of your course. You will also be supported through individual engagement with the academic literature and resources available on the eLearning Portal. Formative feedback will be on-going throughout seminar activities and essay tutorials.

What will I be expected to read on this module?

All modules at Northumbria include a range of reading materials that students are expected to engage with. The reading list for this module can be found at:
(Reading List service online guide for academic staff this containing contact details for the Reading List team –

What will I be expected to achieve?

Knowledge & Understanding:

1. An extensive knowledge of a particular topic related to the concerns of the discipline of American Studies or its component disciplines (including but not limited to History, Politics, Literature, Film Studies).
2. An awareness and understanding of the range of literature and information concerning a particular topic.

Intellectual / Professional skills & abilities:

3. An ability to develop a grounded and focused research question concerning a particular topic, and a structured, analytical and reflective argument in a written form.
4. An ability to critically reflect on the location of their dissertation within an evolving body of scholarship on their chosen topic, including the use of theory and methodology as appropriate to researching a particular topic.

Personal Values Attributes (Global / Cultural awareness, Ethics, Curiosity) (PVA):
5. An ability to understand and apply the ethical considerations required of the researcher undertaking research into a particular topic.

How will I be assessed?

The assessment strategy for the module corresponds with the module’s learning outcomes and learning and teaching strategy. Assessment is by a dissertation proposal of 500 words (formative) due mid-way through Semester 1 and a 10,000-word dissertation (summative) submitted in semester two. Students will receive formative assessment through two draft chapters submitted in Semesters 1 and 2, as well as workshop discussions and tutorials throughout the year. The summative assessment will assess MLOs 1-5.





Module abstract

Please find details of this module in the other sections provided.

Course info

UCAS Code T700

Credits 40

Level of Study Undergraduate

Mode of Study 3 years full-time or 4 years with a placement (sandwich)/study abroad

Department Humanities

Location City Campus, Northumbria University

City Newcastle

Start September 2024 or September 2025

Fee Information

Module Information

All information is accurate at the time of sharing. 

Full time Courses are primarily delivered via on-campus face to face learning but could include elements of online learning. Most courses run as planned and as promoted on our website and via our marketing materials, but if there are any substantial changes (as determined by the Competition and Markets Authority) to a course or there is the potential that course may be withdrawn, we will notify all affected applicants as soon as possible with advice and guidance regarding their options. It is also important to be aware that optional modules listed on course pages may be subject to change depending on uptake numbers each year.  

Contact time is subject to increase or decrease in line with possible restrictions imposed by the government or the University in the interest of maintaining the health and safety and wellbeing of students, staff, and visitors if this is deemed necessary in future.


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