module specification

CP6013 - Critical & Contextual Studies 3: Dissertation (Art) (2023/24)

Module specification Module approved to run in 2023/24
Module title Critical & Contextual Studies 3: Dissertation (Art)
Module level Honours (06)
Credit rating for module 30
School School of Art, Architecture and Design
Total study hours 300
36 hours Scheduled learning & teaching activities
264 hours Guided independent study
Assessment components
Type Weighting Qualifying mark Description
Coursework 20% 30 Dissertation Plan (1,300-2,000 words)
Dissertation 80% 40 Completed Dissertation 6,000-7,000 words)
Running in 2023/24

(Please note that module timeslots are subject to change)
Period Campus Day Time Module Leader
Autumn semester City Wednesday Morning
Autumn semester City Wednesday Afternoon

Module summary

Critical and Contextual Studies (CCS) in Level 6 offers you an opportunity to develop a sustained enquiry into a topic you choose because it particularly interests you. Building on critical and academic skills gained during two years of previous study, the module encourages you to develop an awareness of issues around which there is some debate, uncertainty or contest. Based on this awareness, you will develop a set of research questions which constitute the topic of your study. This topic can be theoretical, historical, or technical and you may, with guidance, decide to engage with an area of scholarly interest outside the territory of your degree course.

You will develop your topic and respond to your research questions in the form of an extended critical study or Dissertation (6,000–7,000 words). Through this study you demonstrate that you can thoroughly research a topic, use appropriate methods of investigation, and work in a methodical and organised way to develop a coherent argument or line of thought. Teaching and Learning on the module is designed to support you in this process through a combination of seminars, workshops, academic skill sessions and one-to-one supervision; as well as a series of formative and summative assessments which prepare you for the final submission.

The final form and presentation of your Dissertation can reflect a broad range of approaches to research and writing. It may include visual materials or other non-written forms of presentation as long they  support your enquiry and comprise an integral part of the whole. By prior approval at the start of the module, your research can be part practice-based, and include primary research and fieldwork.

By virtue of the sustained, independent nature of the learning and substantial final output, the dissertation is also intended to prepare you for possible postgraduate study.

Prior learning requirements


Available for Study Abroad? No


The necessary academic skills and knowledge of academic conventions required for the Dissertation module will have been prepared for in the previous core pre-requisite module (CP5012 or equivalent).

Balance of independent study and scheduled teaching activity

Regular tutorials provide the guidance and foundation necessary to ensure that the independent study conducted throughout this module is effective in addressing the module’s learning outcomes and assessment tasks.

Interim submissions of work in progress are required, these are intended to encourage good planning and time management and to allow your supervisor to track your progress effectively. The final dissertation must relate to the interim submissions to be an admissible submission.

There is regular formative feedback that asks you to reflect on your progress and identify areas for improvement, including redirection or reframing of the dissertation as the iterative process of research and writing reveals challenges and opportunities.

Learning outcomes

On satisfactory completion of Design Resolution: Comprehensive Design Project 3.2, a number of Learning Outcomes (LOs) will have been addressed. You will be able to:

1. use correct and recognised methods and conventions to research and write a thorough and penetrating investigation into a historical, theoretical, practice-based or technical research question (subject specific skills);

2. independently deploy effective research skills to gather, evaluate, order and assimilate the required knowledge, theories and arguments relevant to your selected subject (knowledge and understanding);

3. make appropriate use of scholarly material and evidence to construct and present a clear argument or line of thought whilst at the same time recognising its limitations (cognitive intellectual abilities);

4. self-manage your learning, showing good planning, time management; communication, data organisation and presentation (transferable skills)’

Assessment strategy

The module is assessed through one formative, and two summative components, all of which represent work in progress and must relate to the final submission. If your final Dissertation bears little or no relation to the work in progress, it will not be an acceptable submission.

Formative Assessment – Research Diary (Week 5)
This formative submission requires you to a) consolidate your topic and formulate a set of research questions (200–300 words); and b) to produce an edited survey (10–12 examples) of the literature, materials and sources you have explored to date (800–1,000 words) in the form of a presentation.

Summative Component 1 – Dissertation Plan (Week 7, 20%)
Your Dissertation Plan requires you to submit a) a draft introduction to your Dissertation (300–500 words); b) a chapter plan with brief descriptions of the contents of each chapter, citing key sources; c) a draft chapter or excerpt from your Dissertation (1,000–1,500 words); and d) an annotated bibliography.

Summative Component 2 – Completed Dissertation (Week 15, 80%)
The length of your Completed Dissertation will be a minimum of 6,000 words or a maximum of 7,000 words. It will be assessed according to the following criteria:

1. ambition, originality and scope of approach
2. depth and breadth of knowledge and understanding
3. analysis of original work, texts, images, data, other media or material
4. clarity of the position or argument
5. clarity and appropriateness of the design, structure and methodology of the submission
6. use of appropriate scholarly conventions, e.g. references and bibliography
7. management, development and progress of the work


The bibliography is developed according to your individual research project.