module specification

CP6015 - Critical & Contextual Studies 3: Dissertation (Interiors) (2023/24)

Module specification Module approved to run in 2023/24
Module title Critical & Contextual Studies 3: Dissertation (Interiors)
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 15%   Dissertation Plan (1,300-2,000 words)
Coursework 85%   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
Year City Wednesday Afternoon
Year City Wednesday Morning

Module summary

Critical and Contextual Studies (CCS) in Level 6 offers you an opportunity to understand and explore the historical, social, cultural and economic factors which influence, and provide a context for, the development of architecture, art and design practice. 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 tutorials 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.

The dissertation may, by prior approval at the start of the module from the Head of Subject, be part practice-based and can include fieldwork and primary research in its methods. Its form and approach can reflect a broad range of design-specific approaches based on discussion and agreement with your supervisor.

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

CP5015 Critical and Contextual Studies 2: Interiors

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 CP5015.

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 successful completion of the Module you will be able to:

Subject specific skills

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.

Knowledge and understanding

2. Independently deploy effective research skills to gather, evaluate, order and assimilate the required knowledge, theories and arguments relevant to your art, architecture or design practice.

Cognitive intellectual abilities

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.

Transferable skills

4. Self-manage your learning, showing good planning, time management; communication, data organisation and presentation.

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 a 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 9, 15%)
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);
d) an annotated bibliography.

The annotated indicative bibliography (6-8 sources) will be a list of mostly academic sources (i.e. not websites, blogs or other self-published articles). The value and use of each source will be briefly noted. They should be listed in correct bibliographic form according to a recognised system (e.g. Harvard or MHRA).

Summative Component 2 – Completed Dissertation (Week 23, 85%)
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.

(Please also insert here the relevant texts and resources relating to Dissertation research and writing skills from Section 11 of the L5 pre-requisite module.)