Double Weighted Dissertation Topics

Marks and degree classification

Each piece of written work will be awarded a numerical mark (0 to 100 per cent) and a literal mark (A to F). You will also receive written comments in the margins of the essay and on a cover sheet, and markers will be very willing to discuss these with you.

Work that does not count for assessment, and work done for the three first year units, will normally be marked only by one person; this means that it can be marked and returned to you as quickly as possible.

How the final mark is awarded for a module is usually explained in the course unit description. For more information on how your work is assessed, take a look at your course handbook.

Scale of literal marks and their numerical equivalents

Literal MarkNumerical MarkDegree classification
69Upper Second






59Lower Second





C++ 49

C+ 46-48
C 43-45
C- 40-42


30-39Fail (compensated)

Determination of Honours Classification:

The classification of the honours degree to be awarded shall be based on the average of all the weighted results for completed modules from Levels 5 (I) and 6 (H) that have been assigned a mark of 0-100.

The College sets the class of Degree that may be awarded as follows:

First: 70% or above for the average weighted module results
Upper Second:
60% or above for the average weighted module results
Lower Second:
50% or above for the average weighted module results
40% or above for the average weighted module results

The final Degree classification agreed through the assessment process is based on academic judgement and the above calculation is only used as a guide.

Once a student has fulfilled the criteria for the honours degree they may not undertake further modules in order to improve his/her average result.

Whilst the arithmetical average will be the main factor under CAS regulations, a preponderance of marks in a particular class, with good support, will normally ensure a degree classification in that class should the average result be borderline. The classification of a degree is at the discretion of the BA English Sub-Board of Examiners. All marks are provisional until agreed by the College Board of Examiners.

  • First: At least four full unit marks or the equivalent in the A range (i.e. above AB) plus at least four full unit marks or the equivalent above B and one other normally of B= or above, except that one mark in the C range can be compensated by a fifth A mark.
  • 2:1: At least five full unit marks or the equivalent above B with at least two others in the B range [i.e. B++ to B=]. Marks in the C range can be compensated by marks of B++ or above.
  • 2:2: At least five full unit marks or the equivalent of B= or above and support in the C range [i.e. C++ to C-].
  • 3: Seven marks of C- or above. Of the two remaining marks (F marks) at least one must be in the 30-39 (compensated fail) and this mark must be for a level-6 module [see below for levels and weightings].
  • Fail: Any profile with two non-compensated fails (29 or below) is a failure.

Levels and Weightings

For degree classification all modules (course units) are assigned a ‘level’ and a ‘weighting’.

Levels: BA degree programmes are made up of 12 modules, some of which are at level 4, some level 5 and some level 6. Degree programmes at Birkbeck differ in the number of modules required at each level. For example, in BA English the three first-year core modules are at level 4, the two compulsory second year modules and the option module taken by full-time students in the first year are at level 5, and most other modules and half modules are at level 6. (Thus the balance of levels four, five and six is generally 3-3-6 on this programme. Other programmes have different balances, e.g. 4-4-4).

Weighting: First year core modules (level 4) are weighted at zero, that is, they are not included in the final degree qualification. Compulsory second year modules (level 5) and any level 5 option taken by full-time students in the first year are weighted at 1. Optional modules (level 6) are weighted at 2.

These weightings come into effect only at the end of the degree course. In final degree classification, when the exam board works out a student’s average numerical score, weighting is a way of giving more prominence to work done in the third and fourth years. It is based on the idea that students progress during their course and that progression should be rewarded. Building in a reward for progression is common practice in universities, and it has been regularly used in other departments at Birkbeck in the past. It is now an integral part of the Common Awards Scheme.

In final degree classification the weighted average will be used only in the framework of the ‘criteria for degree classification’ given above.

This weighting scheme does not apply to students who began their course prior to CAS standardization. Please see your administrator if you have questions regarding your CAS status.

Please note: The assessment criteria given here apply only to Inter-disciplinary courses run by the Department of English & Humanities. It is the responsibility of the student to make sure they have correct information about assessment criteria in each Department in which they take modules. Please see the Common Awards Scheme ( for more detailed information.

Examiners are invited to assess the following aspects of the work:

  • originality of candidate’s ideas, aims and approach
  • understanding of literary and critical issues
  • quality of analysis
  • relevance
  • awareness of secondary literature
  • coherence and rigour of argument
  • clarity of expression and quality of English
  • organisation
  • presentation

Module Description

No such Code for prog: CFG0 Natural Sciences

Department: Anthropology


TypeTiedLevel3Credits20AvailabilityAvailable in 2017/18Module CapLocationDurham
Tied toL605 Medical Anthropology (Last intake of students October 2016)
Tied toL606 Social Anthropology (Last intake of students October 2016)
Tied toL607 Biological Anthropology (Last intake of students October 2016)
Tied toCFG0 Natural Sciences


  • Methods and Analysis (ANTH2031) OR Doing Anthropological Research (ANTH1NEW) or equivalent Methods module in another department.


  • MAnth students must take this module alongside ANTH3372 Research Proposal

Excluded Combination of Modules

  • Natural Sciences students can do a single (20 credit) or Double (40 credit) dissertation. No student may take the Single (20 Credit) Dissertation (ANTH 3141) together with the Double (40 Credit) Dissertation (ANTH 3162 or ANTH 3382)). For MAnth students, the topic studied in the Project Proposal (ANTH 3372) must be substantially different to the topic studied as part of the 20 credit dissertation (ANTH 3141).


  • To encourage students to acquire skills of independent research and project management by pursuing a substantial research project.
  • Allow students to undertake a substantial piece of supervised written work featuring research into an anthropological topic of their choice.
  • Develop students' abilities to plan and manage their own learning.
  • Facilitate students' development of research skills and provide the opportunity to apply their knowledge to a topic in anthropology.
  • Design and carry out substantial independent analysis of data, which may be based on fieldwork, lab work, or be library based.
  • Exercise the inter-personal and time management skills required for research in anthropology.
  • Frame and complete a substantial piece of writing.


  • The dissertation can be viewed as the culmination of the undergraduate study of Anthropology, where the ideas and methods learned in the classroom are put into practice.
  • The dissertation provides students with an opportunity to apply their knowledge to a topic in anthropology.
  • In choosing a topic, an essential consideration is their personal interest in the subject area within which it falls.
  • The single module dissertation allows students to undertake a substantial piece of supervised written work featuring research into an anthropological topic of their choice.
  • It develops students' abilities to plan and manage their own learning and facilitates students' development of research skills.

Learning Outcomes

  • Demonstrate the ability to explore a topic of their own choosing in depth by means of independent research.
  • To apply their growing critical judgement and powers of anthropological analysis.
  • Use skills in project management, critical discrimination and a sense of proportion in evaluating data and anthropological evidence for a substantial project.
  • Cultivate a mastery of the empirical and theoretical literature bearing on their chosen project.
  • Develop a critical awareness of the epistemological basis of their chosen research methods.
  • Develop a critical awareness of the strengths and shortcomings of their methods of analysis.
  • Have a thorough understanding of their research findings.
  • Develop the ability to pursue independent research.
  • Ability to formulate a suitable research question and be able to identify appropriate methods for addressing the question.
  • Selection and application of appropriate research methods.
  • Selection of appropriate explanatory theories and their application to data.
  • Practise either the ethnographic description of social organisation and the translation of culture, or the scientific description of biological phenomena, as applied to original data.
  • Practise the representation in figures, diagrams and tables or original data (where relevant).
  • Organise and budget their time to pursue a large-scale independent research project.
  • Organise and write an extended piece of research work of their own devising, thus communicating complex data and arguments effectively.
  • Appropriate application of information technology and bibliographic search to create and/or present data and analysis.
  • Ability to communicate scholarly work to non-specialists and summarise their work in writing, in the form of an Abstract.
  • Apply problem-solving skills in a supervised research situation and to a pre-set schedule.
  • Develop written communication skills by completing draft chapters and the final dissertation for summative assessment.
  • Practice communication skills by discussing progress with the Supervisor and making best use of the consultation meetings by using email and supervisory face to face meetings to communicate with the Supervisor.
  • Learning, planning, organisation and time management by planning work to meet a set of pre-determined deadlines and preparing for meetings with the Supervisor and observing strict deadlines and schedules.
  • Applying problem solving skills by identifying relevant issues and utilising necessary analytical skills and anthropological concepts.
  • Showing initiative by exploring a range of data sources including fieldwork and data search, IT and bibliographical resourcing, and establishing the relevance of this data for the dissertation topic.
  • Demonstrating adaptability through learning to analyse data and/or undertake field research outside the narrow limits of the classroom modules.
  • Practising numeracy (depending on dissertation topic) by analysing appropriate numerical data or conveying information via statistical means.
  • Developing computer literacy as all dissertations must be word-processed.

Modes of Teaching, Learning and Assessment and how these contribute to the learning outcomes of the module

  • A dissertation is an extended piece of written work on an anthropological topic selected by the student, the work carried out under the supervision of a staff member.
  • The dissertation assesses knowledge and understanding of theoretical perspectives, formulation of questions and research ability, capacity for critical and independent thought reflecting subject-specific knowledge, ability to construct a sustained argument and use other key skills.
  • Students are therefore expected to display critical discrimination and a sense of proportion in evaluation of evidence and the opinions of others.
  • The compulsory dissertation provides necessary depth and adds very positively to students' grasp and appreciation of the discipline.
  • It also provides excellent opportunities for individual fieldwork, research and personal development.
  • The dissertation is submitted by advertised deadline.
  • Consultations are held with supervisors and tasks completed according to a specified schedule, according to an established series of deadlines (as specified in the Dissertation Handbook).
  • The students should meet their supervisor with the outline and agree the project research topic before registration at the end of their second year.
  • In their third year they will see their supervisor for at least four hours in the first two terms.
  • Supervisors will be responsible for advising students of all the practical dimensions of the module.
  • Compulsory risk assessment procedures are in place as a requirement under Health and Safety Regulations.

Teaching Methods and Contact Hours

Seminars42 per term, in two first terms1 hour4
Tutorials42 in first term and 2 in second term1 hour4
Dissertation Consultationsto be arranged with supervisor4
Preparation and Reading188

Summative Assessment

Component: DissertationComponent Weighting: 100%
ElementLength / durationElement WeightingResit Opportunity
Dissertation6000 words max(excluding bibliography and appendices)100%

Formative Assessment:

Formative assessment is based on a Literature Review/Annotated Bibliography (Michaelmas Term) and a draft (Epiphany Term) or subject to alternative arrangements with supervisor.

Attendance at all activities marked with this symbol will be monitored. Students who fail to attend these activities, or to complete the summative or formative assessment specified above, will be subject to the procedures defined in the University's General Regulation V, and may be required to leave the University

If you have a query about a specific module or degree programme, please contact the appropriate department.

If you have a question about Durham's modular degree programmes, please visit our FAQ webpage.  If you have a question about modular programmes that is not covered by the FAQ, or a query about the on-line Faculty Handbook, please contact us using the Comments and Questions form below.

Please ensure you check the module availability box for each module outline, as not all modules will run each academic year.


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