This information is for the 2015/16 session.

Teacher responsible

Prof Alan Sked SAR 3.16


This course is compulsory on the MSc in Empires, Colonialism and Globalisation, MSc in History of International Relations and MSc in Theory and History of International Relations. This course is not available as an outside option.

Course content

The HY499 dissertation is an exercise in using primary sources to write on a precise topic in International History. The only formal limit on the choice of subject is that it must fall within the syllabus - i.e. it has to be a topic in International History, and the dissertation has to be a study in the discipline of history. Dissertations that represent contributions to disciplines outside history, such as International Relations or Politics, will not be approved or accepted. Dissertations must therefore be based substantially on a critical analysis of primary sources, and candidates should aim to include an element of originality in the argument and/or the treatment of the evidence. The subject must involve an element of engagement with the analysis of relations between states and/or societies; alternatively it may involve the study of the history of attitudes and/or policies in one society towards others or comparative studies involving at least two states and/or societies. The topic must not be confined purely to the domestic affairs of one society or state. The dissertation supervisor is the final judge of whether a particular topic falls within the syllabus.


4 one-hour sessions in MT.

HY499 teaching is provided through HY499 Dissertation workshop sessions and through the individual supervision of dissertation projects by supervisors in the Department of International History. Students should use the Michaelmas Term to find, decide on, and develop a suitable dissertation topic and consider possible dissertation supervisors. Help with this process is available from the students' personal advisers. Students are then required to complete the HY499 Dissertation Proposal Form and to seek approval for their project from their dissertation supervisor. It is the students' responsibility to locate a supervisor. They should meet with the potential supervisor in late Michaelmas term (every member of staff has weekly office hours) to discuss their dissertation proposal, and then get the supervisor to sign the HY499 Dissertation Proposal Form before the deadline on 12.00 noon of Wednesday 13 January 2016 at the latest. It is the students' responsibility to contact their supervisor to arrange at least one but no more than three meetings in the Summer Term to discuss their dissertation. At this stage the supervisor will be prepared to read and give feedback on a draft table of contents and a draft chapter, or a section or a detailed plan of the dissertation of no more than 1,000 words.


Dissertation (100%, 10000 words) in September.

100% by dissertation. A Fail cannot be compensated, and a degree cannot be awarded unless HY499 has been passed. Dissertations must not exceed 10,000 words, including text and footnotes but excluding the cover page, the table of contents, the list of abbreviations, the bibliography and appendices. Two bound copies and one electronic copy must be submitted by 12.00 noon on Wednesday 7 September 2016 to SAR 1.03 E in the Departmental Office.

Key facts

Department: International History

Total students 2014/15: 108

Average class size 2014/15: Unavailable

Controlled access 2014/15: No

Value: One Unit

Guidelines for interpreting course guide information