module specification

SJ7P01 - Creative, Digital and Professional Writing Project / Dissertation (2017/18)

Module specification Module approved to run in 2017/18
Module title Creative, Digital and Professional Writing Project / Dissertation
Module level Masters (07)
Credit rating for module 60
School The Sir John Cass School of Art, Architecture and Design (The Cass)
Total study hours 600
510 hours Guided independent study
90 hours Scheduled learning & teaching activities
Assessment components
Type Weighting Qualifying mark Description
Coursework 5%   Proposal
Dissertation 95%   Dissertation/project
Running in 2017/18
Period Campus Day Time Module Leader
Summer studies North - -
Spring semester North - -
Autumn semester North - -

Module summary

This module is focused on the production of a practice-based project or an academic dissertation. It provides students with the opportunity to produce a substantial piece of work that integrates the subjects and approaches studied on the course, or alternatively to specialise in one area of the curriculum. Students will devise, plan and research, draft and bring to final form a dissertation, or a practice-based project plus reflective commentary. The emphasis throughout will be on the student’s ability to successfully study independently under supervision.

Module aims

The main aims of the module are:

  • to provide students with the means to enhance their communication skills through individual research and writing of a scholarly or journalistic nature; or an extended piece of creative, creative nonfiction or professional writing; or an audio-visual/digital production appropriate to the multi-media modes of current digital practice;
  • to develop a reflexive awareness of the creative, theoretical and technical processes required to engage in the planning, research and production of extended creative/creative nonfiction/journalistic/professional writing, audio-visual/digital documentary production, or an academic dissertation;
  • to promote various forms of research activity for the purposes of extended creative/creative nonfiction/journalistic/professional writing, audio-visual/digital production, or an academic dissertation, contributing to original, practice-based research or a dissertation, in each case involving sustained independent enquiry and innovation, and appropriate to a Masters level award.


The approach to and the content of the MA Creative, Digital and Professional Writing Project/Dissertation enables students to develop an area of interest that has emerged through their study of creative, digital and professional writing, bringing together technical proficiency, critical perspective and knowledge acquired on the course. Students will undertake an extensive piece of independent, original, practice-based or written research, leading to the production of either a digital/audio-visual project or journalism portfolio or extended piece of creative writing, creative nonfiction or professional writing or written dissertation, appropriate to a Masters level award.

The form of the project is not fixed: the choice of topic, scope, genre, approach and medium will be developed in discussions between the student and their supervisor. It is subject to agreement by the supervisor, on the basis of a satisfactory proposal by the student, and will be formalised in a learning contract.
For example it may take the form of a portfolio of themed, extended journalistic writing; or a novella or collection of short stories; or an extended piece of creative nonfiction or professional writing; or an audio, visual, digital or audio-visual documentary (appropriate to the multi-media modes of production of current digital practice), accompanied in each case by a substantial analytic, critically-informed commentary; or an academic dissertation. Students will be expected to build on their previous writing and/or digital/audio-visual production strengths as they have emerged on the course. Whatever form they choose must be agreed by the supervisor on the basis of a written proposal.

Learning and teaching

The project/dissertation is conducted by supported, independent study, research and creative endeavour. Dissertation students are assigned an individual supervisor, who will support and advise in matters of topic, genre and design, and give tutorial guidance and feedback on draft work during the period in which the project/dissertation is being devised and produced/written. Additional appropriate resources will be posted on WebLearn.

Learning outcomes

Students are expected to:

  • possess advanced knowledge and techniques for the purposes of individual research and writing, either academic, creative, professional or journalistic, or audio-visual/digital production;
  • be able to reflect critically upon the creative and technical processes required to engage in the planning, research and production of a sustained practice-based project;
  • be able to undertake independent research and creative activity for the purposes of producing an extended practice-based project that meets professional norms and standards, or an academic dissertation;

Assessment strategy

The module is assessed on:

  • an initial proposal that will test the student’s ability to formulate a research question, plan the research, reach agreement on its appropriate form and negotiate a learning contract with the supervisor. The proposal should be 500 words, and include agreement on the word-length for written material, and duration of digital/audio-visual material
  • an academic dissertation, or a substantial practice-led project consisting of a critical, analytic commentary and either a piece of creative writing/creative nonfiction/collection of short stories; a portfolio of themed journalistic articles; a piece or portfolio of professional writing; or a digital/ audio-visual production


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