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Module WXM-3277:

Module Facts

Run by School of Music, Drama and Performance

40 Credits or 20 ECTS Credits

Semester 2

Organiser: Prof Chris Collins

Overall aims and purpose

  • to build on and enhance musicological skills acquired in Year 2
  • to enhance originality and depth of thought
  • to enhance skills in dealing with issues in current musicology, ethnomusicology and/or musical analysis
  • to enhance skills in the search for use of primary and secondary scholarly material
  • to refine skills in argument, writing and presentation

Course content

The dissertation is an independent piece of writing on a musicological or ethnomusicological topic selected by the candidate in consultation with a member of staff and approved by the Board of Examiners. This selection and approval takes place in the summer term immediately preceding Year 3.

The dissertation should answer one (or more than one) specified research question. The work should take account of previous relevant research but demonstrate originality of mind in approach and argument. Credit will be given for quality of ideas, clarity and logic of argument and presentation, suitability of bibliography, and elegance of presentation.

The dissertation will be accompanied by seminars on the research, bibliography and methodology skills required for writing the dissertation.

Assessment Criteria


D-: Work which displays basic, restricted knowledge of the subject, with simple ability at conceptual thought, and a limited awareness of issues, but has some evidence of a generally intellectual approach, with fair expression


B-: The work should display a sound grasp of the subject, a good level of conceptual thought, awareness of the main issues, with evidence of intellectual acumen and good expression


A: Work which displays a thorough grasp of the subject, with evidence of further study, deeper thought, originality of approach and excellent written skills

Learning outcomes

  1. On completion of this module, students will be able to demonstrate possession of powers of sustained independent inquiry.

  2. On completion of this module, students will be able to think in an original and profound manner.

  3. On completion of this module, students will be able to devise, plan and execute an original research project from start to finish.

  4. On completion of this module, students will be able to demonstrate advanced skills in the search for and the use of primary and secondary scholarly resources.

  5. On completion of this module, students will be able to demonstrate possession of advanced communication skills, using appropriate musicological conventions.

Assessment Methods

Type Name Description Weight

An extended dissertation setting out the findings of your research, for submission on Monday of Week 12 of Semester 2.


A presentation on the topic of your dissertation, to be given during the Assessment Period of Semester 1.

REPORT Interim report

A report on the research question, methodology, and planning for the completion of your research project, to be submitted on Monday of Week 13 of Semester 1.


Teaching and Learning Strategy


Four seminars (1 hour each) in Semester 1

Private study 388

Individual supervisions with an allocated supervisor, amounting to a minimum total duration of 8 hours. It is the student's responsibility to arrange supervisions.


Transferable skills

  • Literacy - Proficiency in reading and writing through a variety of media
  • Computer Literacy - Proficiency in using a varied range of computer software
  • Self-Management - Able to work unsupervised in an efficient, punctual and structured manner. To examine the outcomes of tasks and events, and judge levels of quality and importance
  • Exploring - Able to investigate, research and consider alternatives
  • Information retrieval - Able to access different and multiple sources of information
  • Inter-personal - Able to question, actively listen, examine given answers and interact sensitevely with others
  • Critical analysis & Problem Solving - Able to deconstruct and analyse problems or complex situations. To find solutions to problems through analyses and exploration of all possibilities using appropriate methods, rescources and creativity.
  • Presentation - Able to clearly present information and explanations to an audience. Through the written or oral mode of communication accurately and concisely.
  • Management - Able to utilise, coordinate and control resources (human, physical and/or financial)
  • Argument - Able to put forward, debate and justify an opinion or a course of action, with an individual or in a wider group setting
  • Self-awareness & Reflectivity - Having an awareness of your own strengths, weaknesses, aims and objectives. Able to regularly review, evaluate and reflect upon the performance of yourself and others

Subject specific skills

  • Musicianship skills – recognition, classification, contextualisation, reconstruction, exploration
  • Intellectual skills specific to Music – contextual knowledge, cultural awareness, critical understanding, repertoire knowledge, curiosity, analytical demonstration
  • Technological skills – digital capture, digital expression, digital innovation
  • Intellectual skills shared with other disciplines – research and exploration, reasoning and logic, understanding, critical judgement, assimilation and application
  • Skills of communication and interaction – oral and written communication, public presentation, team-working and collaboration, awareness of professional protocols, sensitivity, ICT skills, etc.
  • Skills of personal management – self-motivation, self-critical awareness, independence, entrepreneurship and employment skills, time management and reliability, organisation, etc.
  • Enhanced powers of imagination and creativity (4.17)


Pre- and Co-requisite Modules

Courses including this module

Compulsory in courses: