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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 0.5
Points 60 points
Teaching period(s) Full Year (On campus)
1st Non standard period (3 July 2023 - 24 June 2024) (On campus)
Domestic Tuition Fees (NZD) $3,620.00
International Tuition Fees Tuition Fees for international students are elsewhere on this website.

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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.

Professor Mark Seymour -

Teaching staff

Co-ordinator: Professor Mark Seymour


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

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Full Year

Teaching method
This paper is taught On Campus
Learning management system


Stream Days Times Weeks
A1 Wednesday 12:00-12:50 9-14, 16-22, 28, 30, 33, 37
Friday 09:00-11:50 19

1st Non standard period (3 July 2023 - 24 June 2024)

Teaching method
This paper is taught On Campus
Learning management system