MU6001 - Dissertation in Music

What will I learn on this module?

The dissertation is the culmination of your work in researching, thinking and writing about Music. It offers an opportunity to carry out some independent research on a topic about which you are really passionate. Working with your supervisor, you will identify a topic, propose a title and devise some research questions. You will develop skills in project management, research and writing, and experience the process of recrafting what you have written in response to feedback. With a high degree of self-motivation, you will produce a major piece of written work of which you can be proud. Your dissertation will prepare you to continue to be an independent thinker, whether you go on to further study, enter a profession related to Music, or enter the graduate jobs market.

How will I learn on this module?

This module builds on the music research skills you developed in the second-year (level 5) Music Project. For the dissertation, you will be assigned a supervisor based on your proposed research topic. The pattern of supervision will be responsive to the needs of each student. Some sessions will involve tutorials with a supervisor containing small groups of students in an environment in which peer support and encouragement is as important as input from the supervisor. However, at the beginning and the end of the module, you will have one-to-one tutorials with your supervisor in which you will be able to discuss your planning and progress, and received feedback on written drafts.

How will I be supported academically on this module?

Your main support will come from your supervisor. Your supervisor will help you to develop a research proposal, to find research material in relation to your topic, to develop your research, to build a bibliography, and will discuss the development of your writing. You will also have the support network of other students writing dissertations through the group tutorials. Your supervisor will provide feedback on your ideas for your first piece of written assessment, and feedback on this piece will feed forward to help you develop your dissertation.

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:
• You will demonstrate an in-depth knowledge of your chosen dissertation topic and an up-to-date awareness of critical developments in your field.
Intellectual / Professional skills & abilities:
• You will be able to devise, plan and manage a large-scale research project.
• You will have the ability to select relevant primary and secondary materials from electronic, print and other relevant sources and to deploy this evidence to support a compelling argument
Personal Values Attributes (Global / Cultural awareness, Ethics, Curiosity) (PVA):
• You will be able to work independently on a major piece of work that reflects your scholarly and musical interests, demonstrating determination through self-motivation.
• You will embrace self-critical awareness and feedback from others as you monitor your own progress, and be willing to support your peers by providing them with a critical appraisal of their work.

How will I be assessed?

There are three pieces of assessment. The first two are designed to help you prepare for the third, which is the dissertation itself.

1. In mid semester 1 you will submit a 1,500-word research proposal (10%). This provides an outline of your ideas for the dissertation. It will help you hone your ideas for the dissertation and prepare the ethics approval. You will receive feedback via written commentary which you will be able to discuss with your supervisor. (MLO 2, 3, 4, 5)

2. In the second semester you will give a 10-minute oral presentation of your research topic to your workshop group (15%). This will help you frame your ideas. You will learn to present complex ideas in an easily-accessible format. As well as your tutor’s grade, each student will provide feedback on the others. By doing so you will learn from each other. (MLO 2, 5)

3. At the end of the second semester you will submit a 10,000-word dissertation. This is a culmination of your degree and the most significant test of your ability to manage a large project, present it professionally, and work independently. This is worth 75%. You will receive feedback via written commentary and annotations to your work. (MLO 1, 2, 3, 4, 5)


MU5002 Music History Project



Module abstract

The dissertation is the culmination of your work in researching, thinking and writing about Music. It offers an opportunity to carry out some independent research on a topic about which you are really passionate while developing skills which will be essential for you whether you carry on with your studies, enter the music profession or follow a completely different career path.

Course info

UCAS Code W320

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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