Accessibility Skip to Global Navigation Skip to Local Navigation Skip to Content Skip to Search Skip to Site Map Menu

HIST490 Dissertation

A dissertation of between 16,000 and 20,000 words on an approved research topic.

One of the most important elements of the Honours Degree and Postgraduate Diploma, the history dissertation involves writing a research thesis of between 16,000 and 20,000 words on a subject of the student's own choice, based on primary sources. These sources may be printed or published, or archival, depending on the topic chosen. The dissertation offers a comprehensive training in research skills and methods and requires you to submit a short thesis based on primary sources that meets professional standards of argument, documentation and presentation. The successful completion of one of these projects is regarded as the principal research qualification for those who may wish to proceed to MA study or beyond. Employers seeking evidence of substantial self-discipline also regard completion of these projects highly.

Paper title Dissertation
Paper code HIST490
Subject History
EFTS 0.5000
Points 60 points 60 points
Teaching period(s) Full Year, 1st Non standard period (6 July 2020 - 25 June 2021)
Domestic Tuition Fees (NZD) $3,426.50
International Tuition Fees (NZD) $13,983.00

^ Top of page

Pre or Corequisite
48 300-level HIST points
Limited to
BA(Hons), PGDipArts
Enrolments for this paper require departmental permission.
View more information about departmental permission.
Teaching staff

Professor Takashi Shogimen and Associate Professor Mark Seymour


William Strunk Jr and E.B. White, The Elements of Style, 4th edition (Boston: Allyn and Bacon, 2000).

William Zinsser, On Writing Well: An Informal Guide to Writing Non-fiction, 5th edition (New York: Harper Perennial, 1994.)

In addition, course materials will be made available electronically.
Graduate Attributes Emphasised
Global perspective, Lifelong learning, Scholarship, Communication, Critical thinking, Cultural understanding, Environmental literacy, Information literacy.
View more information about Otago's graduate attributes.
Learning Outcomes
Specific learning objectives of the dissertation include:
  • The development of the capacity to work independently
  • The refinement of skills in accessing and evaluating information
  • The capacity to analyse material in a logical and coherent manner
  • The articulation of ideas in the form of an extended academic discourse
  • The development of habits of scholarship, in particular the ability to set high standards, to be self-critical, to critique sources and to prepare and present material of publication standard

^ Top of page


Full Year

Teaching method
This paper is taught On Campus
Learning management system


Stream Days Times Weeks
A1 Wednesday 12:00-12:50 9-12, 18, 20-22, 28, 30, 33, 37

1st Non standard period (6 July 2020 - 25 June 2021)

Teaching method
This paper is taught On Campus
Learning management system