late 14c., "unaccented syllable or note," from Latin thesis "unaccented syllable in poetry," later (and more correctly) "stressed part of a metrical foot," from Greek thesis "a proposition," also "downbeat" (in music), originally "a setting down, a placing, an arranging; position, situation," from reduplicated form of PIE root *dhe- "to set, put." Sense in logic of "a formulation in advance of a proposition to be proved" is first recorded 1570s; that of "dissertation presented by a candidate for a university degree" is from 1650s.
Entries linking to thesis
*dhē- , Proto-Indo-European root meaning "to set, put."
It forms all or part of: abdomen ; abscond ; affair ; affect (v.1) "make a mental impression on;" affect (v.2) "make a pretense of;" affection ; amplify ; anathema ; antithesis ; apothecary ; artifact ; artifice ; beatific ; benefice ; beneficence ; beneficial ; benefit ; bibliothec ; bodega ; boutique ; certify ; chafe ; chauffeur ; comfit ; condiment ; confection ; confetti ; counterfeit ; deed ; deem ; deface ; defeasance ; defeat ; defect ; deficient ; difficulty ; dignify ; discomfit ; do (v.); doom ; -dom ; duma ; edifice ; edify ; efface ; effect ; efficacious ; efficient ; epithet ; facade ; face ; facet ; facial ; -facient ; facile ; facilitate ; facsimile ; fact ; faction (n.1) "political party;" -faction ; factitious ; factitive ; factor ; factory ; factotum ; faculty ; fashion ; feasible ; feat ; feature ; feckless ; fetish ; -fic ; fordo ; forfeit ; -fy ; gratify ; hacienda ; hypothecate ; hypothesis ; incondite ; indeed ; infect ; justify ; malefactor ; malfeasance ; manufacture ; metathesis ; misfeasance ; modify ; mollify ; multifarious ; notify ; nullify ; office ; officinal ; omnifarious ; orifice ; parenthesis ; perfect ; petrify ; pluperfect ; pontifex ; prefect ; prima facie ; proficient ; profit ; prosthesis ; prothesis ; purdah ; putrefy ; qualify ; rarefy ; recondite ; rectify ; refectory ; sacrifice ; salmagundi ; samadhi ; satisfy ; sconce ; suffice ; sufficient ; surface ; surfeit ; synthesis ; tay ; ticking (n.); theco- ; thematic ; theme ; thesis ; verify .
It is the hypothetical source of/evidence for its existence is provided by: Sanskrit dadhati "puts, places;" Avestan dadaiti "he puts;" Old Persian ada "he made;" Hittite dai- "to place;" Greek tithenai "to put, set, place;" Latin facere "to make, do; perform; bring about;" Lithuanian dėti "to put;" Polish dziać się "to be happening;" Russian delat' "to do;" Old High German tuon , German tun , Old English don "to do."
Trends of thesis
updated on September 28, 2017
- 4 . humility
- 6 . handbag
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- 8 . educate
- 9 . ketchup
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Definition of dissertation
Examples of dissertation in a sentence.
These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'dissertation.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.
1651, in the meaning defined above
Dictionary Entries Near dissertation
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“Dissertation.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary , Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/dissertation. Accessed 6 Nov. 2023.
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Theses and dissertations are already intensive, long-term projects that require a lot of effort and time from their authors. Formatting for submission to the university is often the last thing that graduate students do, and may delay earning the relevant degree if done incorrectly.
Below are some strategies graduate students can use to deal with institutional formatting requirements to earn their degrees on time.
Disciplinary conventions are still paramount.
Scholars in your own discipline are the most common readers of your dissertation; your committee, too, will expect your work to match with their expectations as members of your field. The style guide your field uses most commonly is always the one you should follow, and if your field uses conventions such as including all figures and illustrations at the end of the document, you should do so. After these considerations are met, move on to university formatting. Almost always, university formatting only deals with things like margins, font, numbering of chapters and sections, and illustrations; disciplinary style conventions in content such as APA's directive to use only last names of authors in-text are not interfered with by university formatting at all.
Use your university's formatting guidelines and templates to your advantage.
If your institution has a template for formatting your thesis or dissertation that you can use, do so. Don't look at another student's document and try to replicate it yourself. These templates typically have the necessary section breaks and styles already in the document, and you can copy in your work from your existing draft using the style pane in MS Word to ensure you're using the correct formatting (similarly with software such as Overleaf when writing in LaTeX, templates do a lot of the work for you). It's also often easier for workers in the offices that deal with theses and dissertations to help you with your work if you're using their template — they are familiar with these templates and can often navigate them more proficiently.
These templates also include placeholders for all front matter you will need to include in your thesis or dissertation, and may include guidelines for how to write these. Front matter includes your table of contents, acknowledgements, abstract, abbreviation list, figure list, committee page, and (sometimes) academic history or CV; everything before your introduction is front matter. Since front matter pages such as the author's academic history and dissertation committee are usually for the graduate school and not for your department, your advisor might not remember to have you include them. Knowing about them well before your deposit date means you won't be scrambling to fill in placeholders at the last minute or getting your work returned for revision from the graduate school.
Consider institutional formatting early and often.
Many graduate students leave this aspect of submitting their projects until it's almost too late to work on it, causing delays in obtaining their degree. Simply being aware that this is a task you'll have to complete and making sure you know where templates are, who you can ask for help in your graduate office or your department, and what your institution's guidelines are can help alleviate this issue. Once you know what you'll be expected to do to convert to university formatting, you can set regular check-in times for yourself to do this work in pieces rather than all at once (for instance, when you've completed a chapter and had it approved by your chair).
Consider fair use for images and other third-party content.
Most theses and dissertations are published through ProQuest or another publisher (Harvard, for instance, uses their own open publishing service). For this reason, it may be the case that your institution requires all images or other content obtained from other sources to fall under fair use rules or, if an image is not considered under fair use, you'll have to obtain permission to print it in your dissertation. Your institution should have more guidance on their specific expectations for fair use content; knowing what these guidelines are well in advance of your deposit date means you won't have to make last-minute changes or removals to deposit your work.
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How to organise a history essay or dissertation
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There are many ways of writing history and no fixed formula for a 'good' essay or dissertation. Before you start, you may find it helpful to have a look at some sample dissertations and essays from the past: ask at the Whipple Library.
Some people have a clear idea already of what they are going to write about; others find it more difficult to choose or focus on a topic. It may be obvious, but it is worth pointing out that you should choose a topic you find interesting and engaging. Ask a potential supervisor for a list of appropriate readings, chase up any further sources that look interesting or promising from the footnotes, or seek further help. Try to define your topic as specifically as possible as soon as possible. Sometimes, it helps to formulate a question (in the spirit of a Tripos question), which could then be developed, refined, or re-formulated. A good topic should allow you to engage closely with a primary source (text, image, object, etc.) and develop a historiographical point – e.g. adding to, or qualifying historians' current debates or received opinion on the topic. Specific controversies (either historically or historiographically) are often a great place to start looking. Many dissertations and essays turn out to be overambitious in scope, but underambition is a rare defect!
Both essays and dissertations have an introduction and a conclusion . Between the introduction and the conclusion there is an argument or narrative (or mixture of argument and narrative).
An introduction introduces your topic, giving reasons why it is interesting and anticipating (in order) the steps of your argument. Hence many find that it is a good idea to write the introduction last. A conclusion summarises your arguments and claims. This is also the place to draw out the implications of your claims; and remember that it is often appropriate to indicate in your conclusion further profitable lines of research, inquiry, speculation, etc.
An argument or narrative should be coherent and presented in order. Divide your text into paragraphs which make clear points. Paragraphs should be ordered so that they are easy to follow. Always give reasons for your assertions and assessments: simply stating that something or somebody is right or wrong does not constitute an argument. When you describe or narrate an event, spell out why it is important for your overall argument. Put in chapter or section headings whenever you make a major new step in your argument of narrative.
It is a very good idea to include relevant pictures and diagrams . These should be captioned, and their relevance should be fully explained. If images are taken from a source, this should be included in the captions or list of illustrations.
The extent to which it is appropriate to use direct quotations varies according to topic and approach. Always make it clear why each quotation is pertinent to your argument. If you quote from non-English sources say if the translation is your own; if it isn't give the source. At least in the case of primary sources include the original in a note if it is your own translation, or if the precise details of wording are important. Check your quotations for accuracy. If there is archaic spelling make sure it isn't eliminated by a spell-check. Don't use words without knowing what they mean.
An essay or a dissertation has three components: the main text , the notes , and the bibliography .
The main text is where you put in the substance of your argument, and is meant to be longer than the notes. For quotes from elsewhere, up to about thirty words, use quotation marks ("...", or '...'). If you quote anything longer, it is better to indent the whole quotation without quotation marks.
Notes may either be at the bottom of the page (footnotes) or at the end of the main text, but before the bibliography (endnotes). Use notes for references and other supplementary material which does not constitute the substance of your argument. Whenever you quote directly from other works, you must give the exact reference in your notes. A reference means the exact location in a book or article which you have read , so that others can find it also – it should include author, title of the book, place and date of publication, page number. (There are many different ways to refer to scholarly works: see below.) . If you cite a primary source from a secondary source and you yourself have not read or checked the primary source, you must acknowledge the secondary source from which the citation was taken. Whenever you paraphrase material from somebody else's work, you must acknowledge that fact. There is no excuse for plagiarism. It is important to note that generous and full acknowledgement of the work of others does not undermine your originality.
Your bibliography must contain all the books and articles you have referred to (do not include works that you did not use). It lists works alphabetically by the last name of the author. There are different conventions to set out a bibliography, but at the very least a bibliographic entry should include for a book the last name and initials/first name of the author, the title of the book in italics or underlined, and the place, (publisher optional) and date of publication; or, for an article, the last name and initials/first name of the author, the title in inverted commas, and the name of the journal in italics or underlined, followed by volume number, date of publication, and page numbers. Names of editors of volumes of collected articles and names of translators should also be included, whenever applicable.
- M. MacDonald, Mystical Bedlam: Madness, Anxiety, and Healing in Seventeenth-Century England , Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1981.
- William Clark, 'Narratology and the History of Science', Studies in History and Philosophy of Science 26 (1995), 1–72.
- M. F. Burnyeat, 'The Sceptic in His Place and Time', in R. Rorty, J. B. Schneewind and Q. Skinner (eds), Philosophy in History , Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1984, pp. 225–54.
Alternatively, if you have many works to refer to, it may be easier to use an author-date system in notes, e.g.:
- MacDonald , p. 89; Clark [1995a], p. 65; Clark [1995b], pp. 19–99.
In this case your bibliography should also start with the author-date, e.g.:
- MacDonald, Michael , Mystical Bedlam: Madness, Anxiety, and Healing in Seventeenth-Century England , Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
- Clark, William [1995a], 'Narratology and the History of Science', Studies in History and Philosophy of Science 26, 1–72.
This system has the advantage of making your foot- or endnotes shorter, and many choose it to save words (the bibliography is not included in the word limit). It is the system commonly used in scientific publications. Many feel however that something is historically amiss when you find in a footnote something like 'Plato [1996b]' or 'Locke '. In some fields of research there are standard systems of reference: you will find that this is the case if, for example, you write an essay/dissertation on classical history or philosophy of science. In such cases it is a good idea to take a standard secondary source as your model (e.g. in the case of classics, see G.E.R. Lloyd's The Revolutions of Wisdom: Studies in the Claims and Practices of Ancient Greek Science , Berkeley 1987).
Whatever system you decide to follow for your footnotes, what matters most is that the end-product is consistent.
Keep accurate records of all the relevant bibliographic information as you do your reading for your essay/dissertation. (If you don't you may waste days trying to trace references when you are close to submission deadlines.)
Consistency of style throughout the essay/dissertation is encouraged. There are many professional guides to thesis writing which give you more information on the style and format of theses – for example the MLS handbook (British) and the Chicago Manual of Style (American), both in the Whipple, and a booklet, H. Teitelbaum, How to Write a Thesis: A Guide to the Research Paper , 3rd ed., 126 pp., New York: Macmillan (& Arco), 1994 (in the UL: 1996.8.2620). But don't try to follow everything they say!
Every now and then you should read through a printout of your whole essay/dissertation, to ensure that your argument flows throughout the piece: otherwise there is a danger that your arguments become compartmentalised to the size of the screen. When reading drafts, ask yourself if it would be comprehensible to an intelligent reader who was not an expert on the specific topic.
It is imperative that you save your work on disk regularly – never be caught out without a back-up.
Before you submit:
- remember to run a spell-check (and remember that a spell check will not notice if you have written, for example, 'pheasant' instead of 'peasant', or, even trickier, 'for' instead of 'from', 'it' instead of 'is', etc.);
- prepare a table of contents, with titles for each chapter of your essay/dissertation, page numbers and all;
- prepare a cover page with the title, your name and college;
- prepare a page with the required statement about length, originality etc.
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Dissertations are a part of many degree programmes, completed in the final year of undergraduate studies or the final months of a taught masters-level degree.
Introduction to dissertations
What is a dissertation.
A dissertation is usually a long-term project to produce a long-form piece of writing; think of it a little like an extended, structured assignment. In some subjects (typically the sciences), it might be called a project instead.
Work on an undergraduate dissertation is often spread out over the final year. For a masters dissertation, you'll start thinking about it early in your course and work on it throughout the year.
You might carry out your own original research, or base your dissertation on existing research literature or data sources - there are many possibilities.
What's different about a dissertation?
The main thing that sets a dissertation apart from your previous work is that it's an almost entirely independent project. You'll have some support from a supervisor, but you will spend a lot more time working on your own.
You'll also be working on your own topic that's different to your coursemate; you'll all produce a dissertation, but on different topics and, potentially, in very different ways.
Dissertations are also longer than a regular assignment, both in word count and the time that they take to complete. You'll usually have most of an academic year to work on one, and be required to produce thousands of words; that might seem like a lot, but both time and word count will disappear very quickly once you get started!
Find out more:
Key dissertation tools
There are lots of tools, software and apps that can help you get through the dissertation process. Before you start, make sure you collect the key tools ready to:
- use your time efficiently
- organise yourself and your materials
- manage your writing
- be less stressed
Here's an overview of some useful tools:
Digital tools for your dissertation [Google Slides]
Setting up your document
Formatting and how you set up your document is also very important for a long piece of work like a dissertation, research project or thesis. Find tips and advice on our text processing guide:
University of York past Undergraduate and Masters dissertations
If you are a University of York student, you can access a selection of digitised undergraduate dissertations for certain subjects:
- History of Art
- Social Policy and Social Work
The Library also has digitised Masters dissertations for the following subjects:
- Centre for Eighteenth-Century Studies
- Centre for Medieval Studies
- Centre for Renaissance and Early Modern Studies
- Centre for Women's Studies
- English and Related Literature
- Health Sciences
- History of Art
- Hull York Medical School
- Language and Linguistic Science
- School for Business and Society
- School of Social and Political Sciences
Dissertation top tips
Many dissertations are structured into four key sections:
- introduction & literature review
There are many different types of dissertation, which don't all use this structure, so make sure you check your dissertation guidance. However, elements of these sections are common in all dissertation types.
Dissertations that are an extended literature review do not involve data collection, thus do not have a methods or result section. Instead they have chapters that explore concepts/theories and result in a conclusion section. Check your dissertation module handbook and all information given to see what your dissertation involves.
Introduction & literature review
The Introduction and Literature Review give the context for your dissertation:
- What topic did you investigate?
- What do we already know about this topic?
- What are your research questions and hypotheses?
Sometimes these are two separate sections, and sometimes the Literature Review is integrated into the Introduction. Check your guidelines to find out what you need to do.
Literature Review Top Tips [YouTube] | Literature Review Top Tips transcript [Google Doc]
The Method section tells the reader what you did and why.
- Include enough detail so that someone else could replicate your study.
- Visual elements can help present your method clearly. For example, summarise participant demographic data in a table or visualise the procedure in a diagram.
- Show critical analysis by justifying your choices. For example, why is your test/questionnaire/equipment appropriate for this study?
- If your study requires ethical approval, include these details in this section.
Methodology Top Tips [YouTube] | Methodology Top Tips transcript [Google Doc]
More resources to help you plan and write the methodology:
The Results tells us what you found out .
It's an objective presentation of your research findings. Don’t explain the results in detail here - you’ll do that in the discussion section.
Results Top Tips [YouTube] | Results Top Tips transcript [Google Doc]
The Discussion is where you explain and interpret your results - what do your findings mean?
This section involves a lot of critical analysis. You're not just presenting your findings, but putting them together with findings from other research to build your argument about what the findings mean.
Discussion Top Tips [YouTube] | Discussion Top Tips transcript [Google Doc]
Conclusions are a part of many dissertations and/or research projects. Check your module information to see if you are required to write one. Some dissertations/projects have concluding remarks in their discussion section. See the slides below for more information on writing conclusions in dissertations.
Conclusions in dissertations [Google Slides]
The abstract is a short summary of the whole dissertation that goes at the start of the document. It gives an overview of your research and helps readers decide if it’s relevant to their needs.
Even though it appears at the start of the document, write the abstract last. It summarises the whole dissertation, so you need to finish the main body before you can summarise it in the abstract.
Usually the abstract follows a very similar structure to the dissertation, with one or two sentences each to show the aims, methods, key results and conclusions drawn. Some subjects use headings within the abstract. Even if you don’t use these in your final abstract, headings can help you to plan a clear structure.
Abstract Top Tips [YouTube] | Abstract Top Tips transcript [Google Doc]
Watch all of our Dissertation Top Tips videos in one handy playlist:
Research reports, that are often found in science subjects, follow the same structure, so the tips in this tutorial also apply to dissertations:
Other support for dissertation writing
The general writing pages of this site offer guidance that can be applied to all types of writing, including dissertations. Also check your department guidance and VLE sites for tailored resources.
Other useful resources for dissertation writing:
Appointments and workshops
There is a lot of support available in departments for dissertation production, which includes your dissertation supervisor, academic supervisor and, when appropriate, staff teaching in the research methods modules.
You can also access central writing and skills support:
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- Last Updated: Oct 31, 2023 10:36 AM
- URL: https://subjectguides.york.ac.uk/academic-writing
Department of History
Yale history dissertations.
During the late 1800’s, only a trickle of dissertations were submitted annually, but today, the department averages about 25 per year. See who some of those intrepid scholars were and what they wrote about by clicking on any of the years listed below.
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Thesis / dissertation formatting manual (2022).
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UCI Libraries maintains the following templates to assist in formatting your graduate manuscript. If you are formatting your manuscript in Microsoft Word, feel free to download and use the template. If you would like to see what your manuscript should look like, PDFs have been provided. If you are formatting your manuscript using LaTex, UCI maintains a template on OverLeaf.
- Annotated Template (Dissertation) 2023 PDF of a template with annotations of what to look out for
- Word: Thesis Template 2023 Editable template of the Master's thesis formatting.
- PDF Thesis Template 2023
- Word: Dissertation Template 2023 Editable template of the PhD Dissertation formatting.
- PDF: Dissertation Template 2023
- Overleaf (LaTex) Template
- << Previous: Tutorials and Assistance
- Next: FAQ >>
- Last Updated: Oct 6, 2023 3:10 PM
- URL: https://guides.lib.uci.edu/gradmanual
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Dissertations (15k word)
Guidance on 15k-word dissertation supervision, formatting and submission for MSc by Research students within the School of Literatures, Languages and Cultures.
The Dissertation Component
Masters taught degree programmes include submission of a dissertation which may be the written output of a practical or investigational project. Students should make full use of the experience and guidance of staff members, and plan their progress through the dissertation with the help of staff, especially the supervisor.
The dissertation is distinguishable from assessed courses by the greater depth of investigation, analysis, comprehension and critique demonstrated. Masters students are not expected to research their work as exhaustively as is typical of a higher research degree. Students, supervisors and examiners should be aware that the masters dissertation is primarily a teaching, learning and examining medium, not a medium for the presentation of research outcomes to public and peers. The dissertation may vary in the breadth of coverage, but it must have a clear focus with definable objectives and boundaries, achievable in the time and word limit available. The relative importance of theoretical and investigational content also varies. Some programmes require students to conduct primary empirical work; others do not. Investigational work should add something to the study which is not available in the literature, and be manageable given the time and resources available.
If you have questions or concerns about the dissertation process, about the allocation of supervision, or about the level of support you are receiving during the writing of your supervision you should contact your Programme Director/ Subject Officer.
Supervisors are normally selected on the basis that they have expertise in the field or topic chosen for the dissertation, and are available and willing to support the student during the period of study. Specific expertise may not always be available for all dissertation topics; but general expertise in the broad area of the dissertation is usually adequate for a Masters dissertation. Students and supervisors are expected to agree a timetable in writing; this will specify at what points student and supervisor will be in contact. There should be a minimum of 3 supervision meetings held during the dissertation period.
A short written proposal or concept note should be prepared in advance of your first meeting with your supervisor, indicating the aims and justification of the dissertation, specific research questions, literature and investigative work to be covered and a provisional outline of chapter titles and sub-headings. There should also be a written plan or timetable indicating how the work is going to be undertaken and identifying critical points when the supervisor and student should meet or otherwise be in contact with each other.
Students have responsibilities to meet their supervisors regularly and to hand in material at agreed times. Students experiencing difficulties in meeting with supervisors, or other staff members, should contact the Programme Director/ Subject Officer without delay.
Supervisors have responsibilities to respond promptly and appropriately, by making constructive suggestions both at the planning stage and in response to the material submitted. The responsibility for the academic quality of the dissertation is ultimately the student's alone.
Students should be made aware that approval by a supervisor, and the following of the advice and guidance of the supervisor carries no guarantee of success at examination. Any such approving or guiding comments cannot constitute grounds for subsequent appeal.
Students should be aware of the particular importance of acknowledging the work of others and of avoiding plagiarism.
Students should always get in touch with their dissertation supervisor and/or Programme Director as soon as any problems emerge.
Printed copies of the dissertation are not required. Students must submit their dissertation electronically ONLY via Learn no later than 4pm on Thursday 12th August 2021 , unless you have received confirmation of an alternative deadline from the School. You should check the Learn site to confirm your deadline and any guidance specific to your programme. You should submit the dissertation to the relevant drop box in Learn. Please ensure that you include your examination number in the name of the document that you upload to Learn. You will need to complete a Declaration of Own Work on Learn before you will be able to access the dissertation drop box, so be sure to allow time for this before the deadline.
Every effort should be made to adhere to deadlines. In the event of late submission, the School of Literatures, Languages and Cultures upholds the University's standard penalty for late submission of coursework.
If exceptional circumstances prevent you meeting the deadline, you should apply online for an extension before the deadline.
The Dissertation will be 15,000 words for most programmes; however, some programmes have variations in word counts so you must follow the directions of your Programme Director/Supervisor if you have been given a dissertation length other than 15,000 words. The School does not permit a margin of 10% in either direction. Special permission is required from the Programme Director, in writing, for dissertations that extend beyond the stated word limit. The word count for dissertations does not include the bibliography, cover sheet, abstract (if required) or appendices; the word count includes: in-text references, tables of contents, quotations, footnotes, list of figures, captions and all other elements of your submitted dissertation.
Because the dissertations are marked anonymously, it is essential that you ensure that your name does not appear anywhere in the dissertation.
- You must not include any acknowledgements as these might compromise the anonymity of the marking process.
- For your document setttings, use A4 paper size with standard margins and a 12-point font, preferably Times or Garamond ; double space and page number the entire document. It is essential that line spacing is at least 1.5 , except for poems, which should be single spaced.
- You should include a cover sheet (provided on Learn).
- In-text quotes less than 40 words have to appear in inverted commas followed by their reference. Any quote more than 40 words should be presented as indented quotes, without inverted commas, in font 11, followed by the reference.
- If you rephrased a scholar’s concept, you still need to give the reference in brackets in-text.
- In order to ease cross-referencing within your dissertation, please number the lines on your ST and TT if you chose to do translation and commentary.
- Spell-check and grammar-check the dissertation. If this is not sufficient to produce readable and accurate English, have your dissertation proofread. If you have chosen to write a translation and commentary, only the commentary can be proofread.
- Unless you are given specific instruction otherwise, you are welcome to use British or American spelling as long as the chosen spelling is applied systematically and consistently throughout your work.
- A programme may have a required referencing style; please consult your supervisor or personal tutor to see if a particular referencing style is required. Otherwise, the generally recommended referencing system is Harvard; however, you are allowed and are free to use another system (such as MLA) as long as it is applied systematically and consistently throughout your Dissertation.
Oxford University Press's Academic Insights for the Thinking World
How little we (can) know about the history of the English language
English Begins at Jamestown: Narrating the History of a Language
- By Tim Machan
- November 3 rd 2023
As a historical linguist, I devote much of my teaching, research, and even recreational time to trying to understand what English is today and how it got here. Some things are easily noticed: that Beowulf uses words (“æþelingas”), morphemes (“moneg um” ), and graphs (þ, æ, ð) that English no longer has. Or that later English, because of its orthography and word order, often looks more remote than it really is. “Whan that Aprill with his shoures soote,” the opening of Chaucer’s Canterbury Tales , is not much more than “When April, with its sweet showers.”
In examples like these, it’s easy to distinguish what English was from what it is. But many cases are less clear, and one of the reasons for this is that, as perhaps with all historical inquiry, the farther back in time one goes, the less substantive the evidence becomes. By which I mean the fewer the attested examples of written or spoken English. Some evidence hangs by a thread. The 3182 lines of just one poem ( Beowulf ), for example, constitute about 10% of the entire corpus of Old English poetry. If one were to graph the number of surviving examples of English against each successive year, that graph would show a steady increase in extant material from the date of the Beowulf manuscript (around 1000) until about the year 1600; a significant rise at that point due to increases in literacy and printed documents and an expansion of the kinds of works (such as personal letters) that begin to survive in abundance; and a precipitous rise after 1900, due to new media and the spread of English as a global language. For the first part of this graph the line might incline at about 20 degrees, for the second part at about 45 degrees, and for the last part, when messages, texts. and digital files of all kinds offer accessible data in the cloud, at perhaps 60 degrees.
“Any language history is not a history of what happened linguistically but a history of what survived.”
Historical English data are skewed by more than survival rates, however. The kinds of English that survive also vary significantly from one era to another. Prior to 1400 the data set of English (as my Beowulf example suggests) is comparatively small; before 1700 much of it is rhetorically crafted in some way, whether by legal figures, theologians, administrators, novelists, or poets; before 1800 it is mostly composed by males; and before 1900 it is virtually all written and offers little evidence of the actual language of entire groups, such as children or second language learners.
Preservation of unambiguously spoken English, then, is very much a recent phenomenon. The earliest extant English oral data occur in Thomas Edison’s 1877 recording of “Mary Had a Little Lamb,” and after that recordings are sporadic for at least a half century, with many of the earliest being stylized exercises in political oration or poetry reading and all of these (with the possible exception of a disputed recording of Queen Victoria) being by males. The primary reason for any widening of the linguistic record is of course technology, and because of this a true proliferation of genuine oral data is even more recent. The preservation of casual speech, as ubiquitous and inexpensive as it may be today, is very much a recent phenomenon.
“In the history of English, historiography is as important as grammar, usage, and speakers.”
To make up for gaps in the record, historical linguists, like all historians, rely on reconstructions based on what they know of the language’s larger history or on documented processes of change for other languages. While methods of reconstruction have been refined for hundreds of years, they remain fundamentally tied to a very partial historical record: one without speech or children for most of its history, without women for much of it, without ephemeral examples for nearly all of it, without much documentation of the early contact varieties that developed globally in the age of exploration, and so forth. Ultimately, any language history is not a history of what happened linguistically but a history of what survived, or what linguists believe themselves able to reconstruct. And an account like this cannot explain the whole of the language because so much of the language’s history does not survive.
Which shows that in the history of English, historiography is as important as grammar, usage, and speakers. It is historiographic frames that put these pieces together into a cohesive narrative that then can be used to explain still other linguistic pieces. Significantly, whether through heuristics like genealogy, social criticism, usage, or language families, different historiographies will identify and categorize the same data in different ways, each of which sustain its own objectives. This means, in essence, that writing the history of English (or any language) is not so much a matter of connecting the pre-arranged dots of some paint-by-numbers picture as it is in laying out those dots and assigning an order to them.
Tim William Machan is Mary Lee Duda Professor of Literature at the University of Notre Dame. He has published widely on historical linguistics, multilingualism, reception, and textual criticism, and on medieval English, Norse, and French literature.
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What is a thesis statement?
Your thesis statement is one of the most important parts of your paper. It expresses your main argument succinctly and explains why your argument is historically significant. Think of your thesis as a promise you make to your reader about what your paper will argue. Then, spend the rest of your paper--each body paragraph--fulfilling that promise.
Your thesis should be between one and three sentences long and is placed at the end of your introduction. Just because the thesis comes towards the beginning of your paper does not mean you can write it first and then forget about it. View your thesis as a work in progress while you write your paper. Once you are satisfied with the overall argument your paper makes, go back to your thesis and see if it captures what you have argued. If it does not, then revise it. Crafting a good thesis is one of the most challenging parts of the writing process, so do not expect to perfect it on the first few tries. Successful writers revise their thesis statements again and again.
A successful thesis statement:
- makes an historical argument
- takes a position that requires defending
- is historically specific
- is focused and precise
- answers the question, "so what?"
How to write a thesis statement:
Suppose you are taking an early American history class and your professor has distributed the following essay prompt:
"Historians have debated the American Revolution's effect on women. Some argue that the Revolution had a positive effect because it increased women's authority in the family. Others argue that it had a negative effect because it excluded women from politics. Still others argue that the Revolution changed very little for women, as they remained ensconced in the home. Write a paper in which you pose your own answer to the question of whether the American Revolution had a positive, negative, or limited effect on women."
Using this prompt, we will look at both weak and strong thesis statements to see how successful thesis statements work.
1. A successful thesis statement makes an historical argument. It does not announce the topic of your paper or simply restate the paper prompt.
Weak Thesis: The Revolution had little effect on women because they remained ensconced in the home.
While this thesis does take a position, it is problematic because it simply restates the prompt. It needs to be more specific about how the Revolution had a limited effect on women and why it mattered that women remained in the home.
Revised Thesis: The Revolution wrought little political change in the lives of women because they did not gain the right to vote or run for office. Instead, women remained firmly in the home, just as they had before the war, making their day-to-day lives look much the same.
This revision is an improvement over the first attempt because it states what standards the writer is using to measure change (the right to vote and run for office) and it shows why women remaining in the home serves as evidence of limited change (because their day-to-day lives looked the same before and after the war). However, it still relies too heavily on the information given in the prompt, simply saying that women remained in the home. It needs to make an argument about some element of the war's limited effect on women. This thesis requires further revision.
Strong Thesis: While the Revolution presented women unprecedented opportunities to participate in protest movements and manage their family's farms and businesses, it ultimately did not offer lasting political change, excluding women from the right to vote and serve in office.
This is a stronger thesis because it complicates the information in the prompt. The writer admits that the Revolution gave women important new opportunities, but argues that, in the end, it led to no substantial change. This thesis recognizes the complexity of the issue, conceding that the Revolution had both positive and negative effects for women, but that the latter outweighed the former. Remember that it will take several rounds of revision to craft a strong thesis, so keep revising until your thesis articulates a thoughtful and compelling argument.
2. A succesful thesis statement takes a position that requires defending. Your argument should not be an obvious or irrefutable assertion. Rather, make a claim that requires supporting evidence.
Weak Thesis: The Revolutionary War caused great upheaval in the lives of American women.
Few would argue with the idea that war brings upheaval. Your thesis needs to be debatable: it needs to make a claim against which someone could argue. Your job throughout the paper is to provide evidence in support of your own case. Here is a revised version:
Strong Thesis: The Revolution caused particular upheaval in the lives of women. With men away at war, women took on full responsibility for running households, farms, and businesses. As a result of their increased involvement during the war, many women were reluctant to give up their new-found responsibilities after the fighting ended.
This is a stronger thesis because it says exactly what kind of upheaval the war wrought, and it makes a debatable claim. For example, a counterargument might be that most women were eager to return to the way life was before the war and thus did not try to usurp men's role on the home front. Or, someone could argue that women were already active in running households, farms, and businesses before the war, and thus the war did not mark a significant departure. Any compelling thesis will have counterarguments. Writers try to show that their arguments are stronger than the counterarguments that could be leveled against them.
3. A successful thesis statement is historically specific. It does not make a broad claim about "American society" or "humankind," but is grounded in a particular historical moment.
Weak Thesis: The Revolution had a negative impact on women because of the prevailing problem of sexism.
Sexism is a vague word that can mean different things in different times and places. In order to answer the question and make a compelling argument, this thesis needs to explain exactly what attitudes toward women were in early America, and how those attitudes negatively affected women in the Revolutionary period.
Strong Thesis: The Revolution had a negative impact on women because of the belief that women lacked the rational faculties of men. In a nation that was to be guided by reasonable republican citizens, women were imagined to have no place in politics and were thus firmly relegated to the home.
This thesis is stronger because it narrows in on one particular and historically specific attitude towards women: the assumption that women had less ability to reason than men. While such attitudes toward women have a long history, this thesis must locate it in a very specific historical moment, to show exactly how it worked in revolutionary America.
4. A successful thesis statement is focused and precise. You need to be able to support it within the bounds of your paper.
Weak Thesis: The Revolution led to social, political, and economic change for women.
This thesis addresses too large of a topic for an undergraduate paper. The terms "social," "political," and "economic" are too broad and vague for the writer to analyze them thoroughly in a limited number of pages. The thesis might focus on one of those concepts, or it might narrow the emphasis to some specific features of social, political, and economic change.
Strong Thesis: The Revolution paved the way for important political changes for women. As "Republican Mothers," women contributed to the polity by raising future citizens and nurturing virtuous husbands. Consequently, women played a far more important role in the new nation's politics than they had under British rule.
This thesis is stronger because it is more narrow, and thus allows the writer to offer more in-depth analysis. It states what kind of change women expected (political), how they experienced that change (through Republican Motherhood), and what the effects were (indirect access to the polity of the new nation).
5. A successful thesis statement answers the question, "so what?" It explains to your reader why your argument is historically significant. It is not a list of ideas you will cover in your paper; it explains why your ideas matter.
Weak Thesis: The Revolution had a positive effect on women because it ushered in improvements in female education, legal standing, and economic opportunity.
This thesis is off to a strong start, but it needs to go one step further by telling the reader why changes in these three areas mattered. How did the lives of women improve because of developments in education, law, and economics? What were women able to do with these advantages? Obviously the rest of the paper will answer these questions, but the thesis statement needs to give some indication of why these particular changes mattered.
Strong Thesis: The Revolution had a positive impact on women because it ushered in improvements in female education, legal standing, and economic opportunity. Progress in these three areas gave women the tools they needed to carve out lives beyond the home, laying the foundation for the cohesive feminist movement that would emerge in the mid-nineteenth century.
This is a stronger thesis because it goes beyond offering a list of changes for women, suggesting why improvements in education, the law, and economics mattered. It outlines the historical significance of these changes: they helped women build a cohesive feminist movement in the nineteenth century.
When revising your thesis, check it against the following guidelines:
1. Does my thesis make an historical argument ?
2. Does my thesis take a position that requires defending?
3. Is my thesis historically specific ?
4. Is my thesis focused and precise ?
5. Does my thesis answer the question, "so what?"
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150 Strong History Dissertation Topics to Write about
Writing a dissertation is one of the most challenging and exciting moments of an academic career. Such work usually takes a great deal of time, courage, and intellectual effort to complete. That’s why every step in your work process is essential.
It all starts with finding a good topic, which can be a challenge of its own. It especially matters when it comes to liberal arts subjects. In social studies, literature, or world history options are practically endless.
Coming up with history dissertation ideas, you need to think of historical events that interest you. We get it, choosing one is tough. There can be too much to wrap your head around. That’s why IvyPanda experts prepare some dissertation topics in history ready for you.
- How to Choose a Topic?
- Ancient History
- Medieval History
- Modern History
- Cold War Topics
- American History
- European History
- Indian History
- African History
- Performing Arts
- Visual Arts
- How to Structure
🧐 How to Choose a History Dissertation Topic?
Before examining our ideas for dissertation topics in history, you should get ready for this. You have to understand how to pick a history dissertation topic, which will ensure your academic success. Keep in mind that this is a vital step in your career.
So, check some tips on picking what to write about:
- Make sure that the topic fits in your field of study. You have to understand what you’re writing about. Basing your paper on existing knowledge and experience is a part of any dissertation. Working on an overly complicated idea can sound impressive but lead to failure. It will become a nightmare already on the stage of writing a dissertation proposal. How can you write the entire thing without comprehending it?
- Estimate whether you’re interested in the topic you intend to write on. Although this might seem obvious, yes. However, being actually invested makes a massive difference for your further work. There are plenty of students who settle for “easy but boring” topics and end up struggling twice as much.
- Ensure that your topic is specific enough. Your idea should have the potential for fruitful research. Narrowing down your area of study is essential for writing a good dissertation. It helps you to find the direction of your examination and enough sources to work with. Moreover, this way, you’ll be able to explore your topic in its entirety.
- Do some prior research. It will give you an understanding of how much literature on your topic is out there. Take notes of the materials for the reference list and your analysis. Checking history essay samples is a good idea, too.
- Don’t be shy to ask your dissertation advisor for some assistance. After all, they are here to help and guide you through the process. Besides, you have to see what ideas they consider relevant and appropriate.
👍 Good Dissertation Topics in History: Time Period
History is a subject as ancient and vast as the humankind itself. It’s only rational to study it according to a particular timeline. Here are some good history dissertation topics for different periods.
🏺 Ancient History Dissertation Topics
- Ancient Civilizations: The Maya Empire . The Maya was an incredibly powerful Empire with its prime around six century A.D., excelling in mathematics, calendar-making, astrology, and writing. It faced the decline of its city-states in nine century A.D., leaving a rich cultural heritage to the studies of subsequent generations.
- Women’s Roles and Gender relations in the Ancient World
- Greek City-States . Ancient Greece is the place where the first city-states were formed. How did the first governments in the ancient history timeline develop? How did people’s attitudes towards leadership change in that context?
- Ancient Near-Eastern Thought and the Old Testament
- The Inca Empire as a Great Civilization of Pre-Columbian America
- The Impact of Mongol Invasion in Ancient Arab
- The personality of Julius Caesar and His Effect on Rome
- The Role of Poets and the place of Poetry in Ancient Greece
- Mesopotamian Civilization . This was a fertile land between the Tigris and Euphrates rivers. It has been home to some of the world’s wealthiest and most advanced ancient cities. It can also make an excellent archaeology dissertation topic. There are plenty of fascinating sites that could be studied.
- History: Ancient Greek Olympics . Started in 776 BC, the Olympic Games were the most important cultural event in Ancient Greece. They were held in honor of Zeus every four years. Besides, the Olympics were representative of the triumph of physical and spiritual power.
- Warfare and Violence in Ancient Times. Try to do a comparative analysis of warfare techniques used by different ancient civilizations. It could be a great dissertation topic.
- Burial Rituals in Ancient Egypt and Ancient Greece: a comparison
- Plutarch’s Vision on Alexander the Great
- Dissolution of the Roman Empire . The Empire sprawled from the coast of North Africa to the territories of the modern UK and Armenia. Once, it was the most powerful political entity in the entire Mediterranean. The empire, however, collapsed in 476 CE. What were the reasons for its eventual decline?
- How Geography Has Impacted the Development of Ancient Cultures
- Cause and Effect of Art on Classical Societies
- The Invention of Papyrus and its impact on the World
- Chichen Itza Archaeological Site . Chichen Itza is a great pre-Columbian archaeological site, home to the Maya civilization. It is a fascinating study case in many aspects. Consider the origins and Maya history. Analyze the cultural preservation issues that it faces nowadays.
- Egyptian Pyramid’s Importance in Egypt’s society
- The Stone Age Period and its Evolution
🛡 Medieval History Dissertation Ideas
- Cultural Exchanges in the Medieval Period . In the aftermath of the Roman Empire’s fall, new geopolitical conditions formed. The early Middle Ages period already marked the appearance of new trade routes. It fostered cultural exchange between nations.
- Rome in the Middle Ages and its cultural transformation
- The Development of Feudalism and Manorialism in the Middle Ages
- The Catholic Church and the Black Death in the 14th Century . During the high Middle Ages, the plague epidemic terrorized Europe. It was a dreadful challenge to medicine, religious institutions, and the social apparatus of the time. How did the Catholic Church deal with such a complex and disastrous medical phenomenon?
- Jews and Muslims in Medieval Spain . Christian, Islamic, and Jewish communities shared the Iberian peninsula in the early Middle Ages. It formed a vibrant cultural environment.
- London during the Roman Age: A Critical Overview
- Causes of the First Crusade of 1095-1099
- Twelfth-Century Renaissance, how Franciscans reacted to it and benefited from its development
- Business and Empire, the British ideal of an Orderly World
- The Black Death, Late Medieval Demographic crisis, and the Standard of Living controversies
- The Role of the Church in the life of the Middle Ages
- Medieval Siege Warfare . Exploring methods of defense used during the Middle Ages might be an interesting research project.
- The Conditions of Hindu and Islamic women in Medieval India
- Why the Crusades Failed
- The Mechanical Water clock of Ibn Al-Haytham, his philosophy of the rise and fall of empires
- The Renaissance and its Cultural, Political and Economic Influence
- The Dark Ages as the Golden Ages of European History . Plenty of facts demonstrate civilization’s decline during the Middle Ages. It was, nevertheless, the time of significant scientific, literary, and technological progress. For some interested in writing a medieval literature dissertation: think of Dante’s Divine Comedy . Da Vinci made his groundbreaking study projects during the Middle Ages. It was the time when first universities, such as Cambridge and Oxford, were founded. Overall, this period has a lot to offer!
- Japan’s Development Under Edo/Tokugawa Shogunate
- Historical and Theological Context of Byzantine Iconoclasm
- Medieval Convivencia: Document Analysis
🕰 Modern History Dissertation Topics
- World History: Enlightenment in Society and its Impact on Global Culture
- Nationalism and its 19th Century History
- Why Mussolini and the Fascists Were Able to Seize Power in Italy
- Religious Symbolism in Renaissance paintings . Renaissance is well-known as a period when fine arts were thriving. It was an early modern birthplace of many technological and cultural advancements. Religion, however, was still a central topic in visual art.
- Industrial Revolution and its Impact on Western Civilizations
- Principles of Liberalism and Its Connection to Enlightenment and Conservatism
- “History and Topography of Ireland” by Gerald of Wales . Looking for an incredible Irish history dissertation topic? Then this document might be an interesting prompt. Its somewhat controversial tone of describing contemporary Irish culture, history, and traditions can be subject to a comprehensive analysis.
- Moral treatment of Mental Illness . Over the 19th and 20th centuries, psychology has changed. Moving from a scientific periphery, it became one of the central subjects of scholarly discussions. Mental illnesses were highly disregarded in earlier centuries. People even considered them to be manifestations of demonic possession. How did this attitude change? Why did people rethink psychology as a scholarly discipline?
- A History of the Cuban Revolution
- Abraham Lincoln’s Historical Influence
- Role of Women During the Spanish Civil War
- Conquest and Colonization of America by European Countries . Colonization of America is one of the grandest enterprises in the world’s political history. What were its driving forces?
- Origins and Trajectory of the French Revolution
- Major Impacts of Consumerism in contemporary world history
- Coco Chanel Fashion: History of Costume . Probably not the first topic for a history dissertation that comes to mind. Chanel is truly an iconic figure in modern history, though. She revolutionized the fashion industry concerning gender as well.
- Causes of the Breakup of the Former Yugoslavia
- The Russian Working Class Movement . Before 1861, the agriculture and peasant-owning system were the foundation of the Russian Empire’s economy. Serfs made up a significant part of the population, accounting for over 60% in some regions. Then the serfdom abolition happened. A lot has changed in the economic and social life of the country.
- Segregation During the 1960s
- Historical Development of Feminism and Patriarchy
- Monetary and Fiscal Policy during the Great Depression
🔔 History Dissertation Topics on Cold War
- The Role of Cold War in Shaping Transatlantic Relations in the Period from 1945 to 1970
- The showdown between the United States and the USSR . Cold Was was essentially the power struggle between the US and the Soviet Union. It unleashed in the aftermath of World War II. This political precedent came to an end with the collapse of the Soviet Union. However, the answer to the “Who won the Cold War?” question may be unclear.
- The Cuban Missile Crisis , its causes, and effects
- US Foreign Policy during the Cold War. Cold War, as a phenomenon, has many layers to it. Yet the one crucial is the contest of two ideologies: democracy and communism. How did the US shape its foreign policy and pursue its interests abroad? And how did the cultural and political setup within the country adjust to it?
- To what extent did the Cold War shape the US relations with Latin America?
- What was the importance of Berlin in the Cold War?
- Japan’s role since the end of the Cold War
- Cold War Politics, Culture, and War . Exploring the Cold War causes and effects can be quite a challenge. It is such a multifaceted phenomenon. It was a war led on many fronts. Both USSR and the US pursued their interests using a variety of methods.
- How did Cold War propaganda influence the film industry?
- What were the challenges in the post-cold war world?
🗺 History Dissertation Topics: Geographical Regions
Every country has its historical course, and so does every continent. Geography has always been an important factor when talking about history. It shapes historical trajectory in varied, unique ways.
Look at a dissertation topics history list based on geographical regions:
🦅 American History Dissertation Topics
- History of Hollywood, California . Oh, Hollywood. A place where American movie history was born. What about Hollywood’s history? Although a less traditional American history dissertation topic, it is still a fascinating one. Explore the way technological advancements in filmmaking were introduced over the decades. How did they influence the film’s general style?
- History: Migration into the United States . How did migration influence the economy of the time?
- The Relationships between the Settlers and Native Americans
- Literary works’ Views on Slavery in the United States
- Causes of the Civil War in America
- What is the real meaning of a cowboy?
- The United States military experience through the eyes of films
- Attack on Pearl Harbor: Effects of Foreign policy
- Causes of Depression in the 1890s
- Has President Obama’s Presidency changed the US?
- The role of Founding Fathers in American Society and Religion
- Post-Civil War reconstruction . Consider the way America’s economy, trade, and finance transformed in the aftermath of the Civil War.
- Principal causes and consequences of the Spanish-American War
- Why was the Declaration of Independence written?
- The Significance of the Frontier in American History
- How is a “new racial narrative” in the U.S.A created?
- American Revolution and the Crisis of the Constitution of the U.S.A. Rethink the origins of the American constitution, as well as the following events. It could be an exciting thesis idea for an American history dissertation.
- Growth and Development of San Francisco and Los Angeles after the Gold Rush
- The Role of Racism in American Art
- Drug Use and Abuse in America: Historical Analysis
🏰 European History Dissertation Topics
- Age of Discovery in Europe. The Age of Exploration in Europe lasted from the 15th to the 17th century. Over this period, Europe actively engaged with other territories and continents. Discoverers formed new international relations and expanded geographical knowledge. This topic could also make an excellent cultural history dissertation.
- Analyzing the Impact of British Colonization
- Nationalism in World War II
- Effects of the Industrial Revolution concerning World War I
- The Rise and Fall of Napoleon and the Cause of Revolution . Napoleon is one of the most prominent figures in French history. What has shaped his career as a political leader?
- History of Hitler’s Nazi Propaganda . Consider a brief history of Germany. Undoubtedly, the rule of Hitler and the Third Reich was its most devastating chapter. The “art” of propaganda flourished during the nazi regime. It penetrated the cultural, political, and social life of the country.
- Evolution of the IRA
- Napoleon’s Strategy and Tactics in his Invasion of Russia . For someone interested in writing a military history dissertation.
- Industrial Revolution Impact on Gender Roles
- Witchcraft in Europe (1450-1750) . Witch hunts took place as early as the Middle Ages in Europe. Held by the Church in most cases, witch hunts targeted those who were suspected of practicing black magic. Examine this both astonishing and problematic phenomenon.
- French Revolution: Liberal and Radical Portions
- West European Studies: Columbus’s Journey
- History of Feudalism . Feudalism dominated the European way of life during the Middle Ages and Renaissance. What were its distinctive features as a system? Why did it eventually fade away?
- Europe’s perception of Islam in the Early and Middle centuries
- Cold War Consequences for European Countries
- Mutated Medical Professionals in the Third Reich: Third Reich Doctors
- Was the Holocaust the Failure or the Product of Modernity?
- How did the use of print change the lives of early modern Europeans ?
- Early Modern England: a Social History
- Jewish Insight of Holocaust
⛰ Indian History Dissertation Topics
- History of the Indian Castes. The Indian Caste system is a complex and unique example of social stratification.
- Mahatma Gandhi’s Leadership . Gandhi is, for sure, among the greatest human rights advocates in the world’s history. His one of a kind leadership style is subject to many studies. While practicing a peaceful form of civil protest, he fought for equality, independence, and compassion.
- Political conflicts in India in the XVII century
- Impacts of the First World War on British Policies in India
- Movement Against the British rule in India. Led by Mahatma Gandhi, with the support of the National Congress, the movement took place in 1920-22. It sought to fight for the freedom of Indians.
- The Origin and Course of the Indian revolt of 1857
- The Issues of the Partitioning of India in 1947
- India Since 1900 . India is a region rich with unique traditions. Its spiritual and cultural heritage goes back to antiquity. The country’s authentic art and architecture, music, and cuisine have served as an inspiration worldwide. A considerable part of its history is, however, affected by British rule.
- Women in Hinduism and Buddhism
- The British East India Company
🌍 African History Dissertation Topics
- Ancient Societies in Mesopotamia and Ancient Societies in Africa: a comparison . Egypt is one of the most ancient African civilizations. Its origins go back to the third millennium B.C. Back then, the cultural exchange between Egypt and Mesopotamia was flourishing. What were the significant differences between the two civilizations? What did they have to offer to one another?
- Political Violence in South Africa between 1985 and 1989
- Did History of Modern South Africa begin with the Discovery of Diamonds and Gold?
- Nelson Mandela: “Freedom in Africa.” Nelson Mandela is, without a doubt, one of the central figures in African history. His devotion and tireless effort in fighting against apartheid were remarkable. Thanks to him, many sub-Saharan countries enjoy the freedoms and advances of a democratic society.
- The Cult of the Dead in West Africa: The Kongo People . African tribal rituals and traditions are unique and specific to their region. Cult of the Dead is prevalent in Western African culture. It can be notoriously known as the origin place of voodoo and other black magic practices. There is yet much more to this culture. Dismantling some prejudices could make an excellent African history thesis.
- Christianity, Slavery, and Colonialism: the paradox
- The Colonial War in Southwest Africa
- African-Europe Relations between 1800 and 2000
- Impacts of Slavery and Slave Trade in Africa
- African Communities in America
🎨 Art History Dissertation Topics
Art comes in all shapes and forms. To grasp it better, we can explore each kind separately. Here’s a list of art history dissertation ideas:
🎶 Topics on Performing Arts
- History and Development of Ballet . Ballet is an art form with a long history. Initially, a specific dance originated in Medieval Italy. It was later brought to France and Great Britain. Ballet thrived in the 20th century Russia, where Russian choreographers brought it to the highest level of mastery.
- The Life and Work of William Shakespeare: His Contribution to The Contemporary Theater
- Jazz Music in American Culture . Jazz is one of the most complex and exciting music genres of all time. It was born in the 20’s century black communities of New Orleans and quickly spread across America and then the world. The genre, however, will always be an integral part of African-American identity.
- The Instrumental Music of Baroque: Forms and Evolution
- Rock Music of the 1970s
- Michael Jackson’s Life as a Musician and Choreographer
- Development of the Symphony Orchestra in the 19th and 20th Century
- Woodstock Music Festival . This massive music festival that first took place in 1969 was the epitome of hippie culture. It has a rich history that once again underscores the importance of performing arts in Western culture.
- The History of Modern Chinese Music
- The Renaissance Theater Development. The era in which both visual and performing arts were thriving. It has a lot to offer for proper dissertation research.
🖼Topics on Visual Arts
- Art Period Comparison: Classicism and Middle Age
- Vincent Van Gogh: Changes in the Technique
- The Ambiguity of Mona Lisa Painting
- Orientalism in Western Art . It’s commonly associated with romanticism and some 20th-century artworks. Orientalism is a Western term that speculates the aesthetics of the Orient. Consider this concept as a prism through which Westerners viewed the Eastern world.
- Classical Art and Cubism: History and Comparison
- Postmodern and Modern Art . The 20th and 21st centuries have been a breeding ground for many forms of fine art to emerge and flourish. Some art movements presented their philosophy in the form of manifestos. These texts can be nothing but a pure treasure for someone writing an art history dissertation.
- Female Figures in Ancient Greek Sculpture
- Andy Warhol’s Career . Pioneer of pop-art, creator of Studio 54, and a style icon.
- Filippo Brunelleschi and Religious Architecture
- The Photographic Approaches Towards American Culture of Robert Frank and Garry Winogrand
📋 How to Structure Your Dissertation?
An adequately structured history dissertation can immensely help students. It ensures that they present their ideas and thoughts logically. Sticking to a particular dissertation structure is an essential element of such work.
The general plan of any dissertation type is the following:
- Title Page. A title page should only contain essential information about your work. It usually shows your name, type of the document (thesis, research paper, dissertation), and the title itself. A good history dissertation title is crucial! It’s the first thing a reader will see.
- Acknowledgments. Do you wish to give credit to someone for supporting you during the tiresome months of your work? This is the right part to do so, be it your family, friends, or professors. It is an excellent form to express gratitude to those who proofread your drafts. Or those who brought you another cup of coffee when you needed it.
- Declaration. This section is your written confirmation. You declare that all the research and writing is entirely original and was conducted by you. If someone intellectually contributed to your project, state it in the acknowledgments.
- Table of Contents. Essentially, it’s a brief structure of your dissertation. List every section that you’ve included in your academic paper here.
- Abstract. This is the section where you write a brief summary of your dissertation. It should describe the issue, summarize your core message and essential points. List your research methods and what you’ve done. Remember to make it short, as the abstract shouldn’t exceed 300 words or so. Finish the part with a few essential keywords so that others can find your work.
- Introduction. A dissertation introduction presents the subject to the reader. You can talk about the format of your work. Explain what you plan to contribute to the field with your research.
- Literature Review. The chapter reviews and analyzes pieces of scholarly work (literature) that have been made on the subject of your research. The sources should present relevant theories and support your thesis. Be sure to discuss the weaknesses and strengths of the selected area of study and highlight possible gaps in this research.
- a code of conduct;
- research limitations;
- research philosophy;
- research design;
- ethical consideration;
- data collection methods;
- data analysis strategy.
- Findings and Results. Restate everything you have found in your research. However, do not interpret the data or make any conclusions yet.
- Discussion and Conclusion. In this chapter, you should personally interpret all of the data and make conclusions based on your research. It is essential to establish a logical link between the results and evidence. Finally, conclude the overall study. You can add final judgments, opinions, and comments.
- References. This section contains a list of references to all the sources that you used. Write down every material, which you quoted, mentioned, or paraphrased in your work. Check your educational institution’s guidelines to see how to do so correctly.
- Bibliography. Similar to the reference section, a bibliography is a list of sources you used in your dissertation. The only difference is that it should contain even the sources you don’t directly mention in your writing. Whatever helped you with the research, you state here.
- Appendices. The section may include any supplementary information that explains and complement the arguments. Add pictures, diagrams, and graphs that serve as examples for your research subject.
Writing a dissertation is the right challenge for those with ambitions and lots of determination. It is a lot like a marathon, and it starts with choosing the right topic. We hope that you will find one for yourself on this list. Good luck! Share the article to help those who may need a piece of advice or some history dissertation topics.
- How To Write A Dissertation: Department of Computer Science, West Lafayette, Purdue University
- Ph.D. Thesis Research, Where Do I Start: Don Davis, Columbia University
- Writing with Power: Elbow P., Oxford University
- Writing a Thesis or Dissertation – A Guide to Resources: Gricel Dominguez
- The Elements of Style: Strunk, W. Jr., White, E.B., Angell, R.
- A Collection Of Dissertation Topics In American History: asqauditconference.org
- Yale History Dissertations: Department of History, Yale University
- Dissertation Outline: School of Education, Duquesne University
- Developing a Thesis Statement: The Writing Center, University of Wisconsin–Madison
- Writing an Abstract: The Writing Center, George Mason University
- Formatting Additional Pages: University of Missouri Graduate School
- Reference List vs. Bibliography: OWLL, Massey University
- How to Write Your Dissertation: Goldsmiths University for The Guardian
- Tips on Grammar, Punctuation and Style: Kim Cooper, for the Writing Center at Harvard University
- Acknowledgments, Thesis and Dissertation: Research Guides at Sam Houston State University
- Thesis Formatting, Writing up your Research: Subject Guides at University of Canterbury
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History Dissertation Topics
Published by Grace Graffin at January 9th, 2023 , Revised On October 5, 2023
Choosing the most appropriate topic for a history dissertation can be tricky. Before selecting a topic, it is imperative to have an in-depth knowledge of the historical events or phenomena you wish to evaluate. Complete comprehension of a topic area is necessary before you can go about the task of completing your dissertation.
To help you get started with brainstorming for history topic ideas, we have developed a list of the latest topics that can be used for writing your history dissertation.
PhD qualified writers of our team have developed these topics, so you can trust to use these topics for drafting your dissertation.
You may also want to start your dissertation by requesting a brief research proposal from our writers on any of these topics, which includes an introduction to the topic, research question , aim and objectives , literature review along with the proposed methodology of research to be conducted. Let us know if you need any help in getting started.
Check our dissertation examples to get an idea of how to structure your dissertation .
Review the full list of dissertation topics for 2022 here.
2022 History Dissertation Topics
Topic 1: who was responsible for european civil wars an exploratory study identifying the determinants of the 1870 franco-prussian war.
Research Aim: This research aims to determine various political, social, and economic factors which caused European civil wars. It will use the 1870 Franco-Prussian War as a case study to analyse which political, social, or economic forces played their part in exaggerating this war. Moreover, it will use various historical lenses to evaluate the available evidence in this area to determine the factors objectively. Lastly, it will recommend ways through a historical viewpoint that could’ve saved lives in these wars.
Topic 2: What were the Socio-Economic Discontents of the Second Industrial Revolution? A Marx-Engels Perspective
Research Aim: This study identifies various socio-economic discontents of the second industrial revolution through the Marx-Engels communist lens. It will analyse how the second industrial revolution brought undesirable socio-economic changes in Europe and the rest of the world. It will develop a socio-economic framework by using Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels’s critique of capitalism and social class theory to show the second industrial revolution divided the entire world into two classes. Moreover, it will show how imperialist powers used the second industrial revolution to change the world order.
Topic 3: Did Mongols Bring Social Change in Ancient Arab? Impact of Mongols Invasion on Ancient Arab Culture and Traditions
Research Aim: This research intends to analyse the social change brought by Mongols in ancient Arab. It will find the impact of the Mongols’ invasion on ancient Arab culture and traditions by identifying channels such as slavery, forced marriages, etc., through which Mongols brought a cultural change. Moreover, it will find whether Arabs could come back to their original state or modern Arabs have their traits? And through which ways did ancient Arabs resist those changes?
Topic 4: What is Common among the United States’ Iraq, Japan, Afghanistan, and Cuba Invasions? A Comparative Study Finding the United States Common Political and Economic Motives
Research Aim: This study compares the United States’ Iraq, Japan, Korea, Afghanistan, and Cuba invasions. It will identify the United States’ common political and economic motives among these invasions, which gave it an incentive to pursue. It will be a multidisciplinary study exploring geopolitical, geo-economic, geo-strategic, and historical aspects of the invasions. Moreover, it will also compare the post-invasion situation of these countries to show how these countries dealt with it and how can which didn’t recover from invasion can improve.
Topic 5: The Life and Work of William Shakespeare: His Influence on The Modern Theater- A Critique of Dr. Johnson
Research Aim: This study sheds light on the life and work of William Shakespeare by analysing his role in modern theater. It will try to highlight his contribution in the field of literature and theater but through the approach of Dr. Johnson. Johnson’s works will be evaluated to see whether William Shakespeare has done something significant for modern theater or it is just a one-sided view of William Shakespeare’s followers. It will analyse various works of William Shakespeare from Johnson’s critical lens to provide an objective assessment.
Covid-19 History Research Topics
Topic 1: the history of coronavirus..
Research Aim: This study will explore the historical facts and theories related to the coronavirus pandemic.
Topic 3: History of Spanish flu
Research Aim: In 1918, a deadly pandemic called Spanish flu hit the world, and many people lost their lives. This study will highlight the history of the disease, symptoms, and similarities with the present crisis of COVID-19.
Topic 3: The history of various types of pandemics and their consequences
Research Aim: This study will investigate the history of various types of pandemics and their consequences on people’s health, economy, and the world’s transformation after it.
History Research Topics 2021
Topic 1: types of communications in history.
Research Aim: This research aims to identify the types of communications in history
Topic 2: Terrorism and its impact on people's life
Research Aim: This research aims to address terrorism’s impact on people’s life
Topic 3: Treaty of Lausanne and the world's predictions about Turkey in 2023
Research Aim: This research aims to conduct a study on the Treaty of Lausanne and the world’s predictions about Turkey in 2023
Topic 4: Mythological stories and their impact on the youth
Research Aim: This research aims to study the impact of mythological stories on the youth.
Dissertation Topics from the Nineteenth Century
Topic 1: analysis of church wealth expropriation and political conflict in 19th century colombia..
Research Aim: The research will explore the events of political violence after independence in Colombia regarding the redefinition of the Catholic Church’s property rights. The study primarily focuses on the country after 1850 to measure the influence of that expropriation of the Church’s assets on political violence.
Topic 2: Exploring the impact of 19th-century development of refrigeration on The American meatpacking industry.
Research Aim: The city of Chicago in the United States is known to be the center of modern refrigeration development due to it being the hub of the meatpacking industry. The proposed research will analyse Chicago’s meatpacking sector’s development and its significant role in developing critical technologies such as refrigeration. The study will examine the development of refrigerated transport and cold storage units to comprehend the city’s meatpacking industry’s local and later global success throughout the 19th century.
Topic 3: Examining the impact of the telegraph in the United States of America
Research Aim: The research uses document analysis to examine the influence of the invention of the telegraph in the United States of America. Specifically, the study will analyse how the telegraph revolutionized communication and news broadcasting to newspapers over national and international networks.
Topic 4: The impact of industrial conflict and technology on the development of technical education in 19th-century England.
Research Aim: The research will analyze the role that 19th-century employers played in training and educating the young industrial workers in England. The purpose of the study is to comprehend the various factors that influenced the development of technical education while discovering the reason for antagonistic relations with skilled workers, which may have caused the Great Strike and Lockout of 1897.
Topic 5: The impact of changing gender relations on childbearing populations in the 19th-century Netherlands.
Research Aim: The research will look to comprehend the changes in childbearing patterns using a sequence analysis approach. The study will also try to understand the association between gender relations, historical fertility records, and women’s reproductive patterns in the 19th century Netherlands.
Topic 6: Examining the shift of hierarchical and ethnocentric foreign relations to the western model of international relations in 19th-century Japan.
Research Aim: The research will analyse the 19th century, a period of transition in Japanese foreign policy. The study will mainly focus on the Russo-Japanese relations using document analysis to assess the four stages of shift that led Japan from an ethnocentric foreign policymaker to the Western-type without colonization and defeat in war.
History and Religious Dissertations
Topic 1: the impact of popular culture on evangelical christians in america..
Research Aim: The research uses document analysis to examine the impact that popular culture has had in shaping Evangelical Christian thought in the United States from the 1960s to the 2000s. The study focuses on analysing the variables that have allowed Evangelicalism to becoming a middle-class populist movement.
Topic 2: Fertility, feminism, and the American revolution
Research Aim: The research using document analysis, analyses the impact of the American Revolution on declining birth rates in the colonies and the increase of family limitation among white free women. The research will investigate the intentions of founding American women on their rejection of abundant fertility and a patriarchal family and the existent or non-existent role that colonial Christians played.
Topic 3: The decline of irrational and magical ideologies in England 1500-1600.
Research Aim: The research analyses how the introduction of religion, specifically early Christianity, had an impact on declining the conventional thought processes that used irrationality or magic as their basis. The research will use document analysis as its research method.
Topic 4: The impact of religion on innovation, 1604.
Research Aim: The research examines how Sir Frances Bacon’s epistle “Of Innovations” argues for the positive potential of innovation from the understanding of the Biblical scriptures. The study will also explore the relationship between Bacon and the English Protestant Church.
Topic 5: The role of churches and religion in World War II.
Research Aim: The research looks to examine the role of churches in Europe during WWII. The study will also analyse their religious ideologies and their deeds as institutions to impact the perceptions of World War II. The research will be conducted using document analysis.
History and Sociology Dissertations
Topic 1: race, poverty, and food deserts in cardiff, 1980-2016..
Research Aim: The research examines the demographic and spatial patterns that have shaped access to supermarkets in low-income neighbourhoods in Cardiff from 1980 to 2016. The research methods used will be quantitative.
Topic 2: Impact of World War II rationing on British cuisine
Research Aim: The research analyses the impact of rationing items by the British Ministry of Food on the specific culture from the 1940s to the 1980s. The research uses variables of socio-economic classes and geographic locations of the country to examine the cultural impacts it had on the British palate during the time. The research methods will include quantitative and qualitative analysis.
Topic 3: Impact of religious doctrines and ideologies on racism and racist factions in the USA.
Research Aim: The research analyses the relationship between different Christian sects and racial prejudice among groups of Christians based on geographic location (North or South) in the United States after the 2016 presidential elections. The research will be quantitative in nature but will incorporate qualitative techniques of historical document analysis to examine how racism in the country has changed since the Civil Rights Era of the United States.
Topic 4: The historical development and impact of public transportation in Shanghai, China, 1843-1937.
Research Aim: The research will analyze the impact of public transportation on the development of Shanghai’s urban landscape using the variables of tradition vs modernity, state and social relationships, and technology and society relations. The research will provide a historical analysis of the city from the British and the Opium Wars’ colonization to the 20th century. The study will use qualitative document analysis and quantitative techniques as research methods.
Topic 5: The impact of water resource management, technological solutions, and urban growth after World War II on Atlanta, Georgia.
Research Aim: The purpose of the dissertation is to examine the origins of water-related issues in Atlanta by discovering the challenges that public officials, activists, and engineers faced in the area in terms of planning and enacting an effective environmental policy after World War II in the metropolitan area of Atlanta. The research will use historical document analysis as its methodology.
How Can Research Prospect Help?
Research Prospect writers can send several custom topic ideas to your email address. Once you have chosen a topic that suits your needs and interests, you can order for our dissertation outline service which will include a brief introduction to the topic, research questions , literature review , methodology , expected results , and conclusion . The dissertation outline will enable you to review the quality of our work before placing the order for our full dissertation writing service !
Historical People and Events Dissertation Topics
Topic 1: examining the events and people giving rise to winston churchill.
Research Aim: The research examines the network of friends and colleagues of former Prime Minister Winston Churchill on how they influenced the primer’s reputation after his retirement and death. The study will analyze the history of the Churchill Archives Centre, Cambridge, and the influence that Sir John Colville had on shaping Churchill’s image.
Topic 2: The rise of the right-wing woman in 20th-century Britain- Analysing Margaret Thatcher and Mary Whitehouse
Research Aim: The relationship between conservative powerhouses Margaret Thatcher and Mary Whitehouse was well known to the public for its traditional undertones. The research will examine the relationship between the two women using document analysis, particularly the public presentation relationship, to better understand the importance of conservative women in Britain. The research will analyze the twentieth-century political and cultural contexts that gave rise to these two women.
Topic 3: Examining the cooperative transformational leadership of Nelson Mandela and F. W. de Klerk.
Research Aim: The research will study the transfer of power in South Africa by focusing on the cooperative leadership strategies, policies, and personal characteristics of leaders such as Nelson Mandela and F. W. de Klerk. The research will examine how these two leaders could bring systematic revolution through democratic and peaceful means.
Topic 4: Pablo Picasso- The making of “Guernica” and its historical context.
Research Aim: The research will analyze the history of paintings of people suffering from convulsion of war, explicitly focusing on Goya. The paper will examine the factors and influences on Pablo Picasso that lead to the development of “Guernica.” The research will analyze how Picasso depicted real history snatches with symbolism that resonated with people.
Topic 5: Analysing the role of women in the Crusade Movement.
Research Aim: The research examines women’s contribution to the Crusades and its impact on propaganda, recruitment, organization of the crusades, and financing of the campaigns. The study will also survey their roles in looking after families and properties while also giving liturgical support at home for those on the crusade campaigns.
Topic 6: The impact of the Harlem Renaissance on urban landscaping, Jazz music, and literature.
Research Aim: The research will examine the Great Migration of the 1910s in the United States, where a concentration of African American population moved North causing demographic shifts. The study will analyse Toni Morrison’s Jazz, Persia Walker’s Black Orchid Blues, and other works regarding music and urbanization.
Topic 23: John F. Kennedy- Rise of American foreign power and South Vietnam.
Research Aim: The research will analyze John F. Kennedy’s foreign policy strategies’ central themes. The paper examines the themes of counterinsurgency, credibility, and commitment in South Asia, particularly South Vietnam, to improve his credibility after the Bay of Pigs incident. The paper will observe the president’s fascination regarding psychological warfare, military forces, and countering ‘communism’ aggression in Southeast Asia.
Italian Unification History Dissertation Topics
Topic 1: the preservation of italy- analysing the fragility of italian unity 1866-68..
Research Aim: The research analyses the impact of the Austro-Prussian War at its conclusion in July 1866. The paper analyses factors such as the fall of the Liberal government in Britain that impacted the fragility of the Italian Unification. The paper examines the historical event through the bilateral relationship between a newly rising Italy and Britain.
Topic 2: Analysing the Italian post-unification period- Racial and colonial factors influencing modern Italians.
Research Aim: The research will analyse the rise of Italian fascism with the premise that it rose from the failures of previous liberal governments. The study particularly examines the first Liberal period after unification which led to the explosion of civil war in the South of Italy. The study will analyse the racial and colonial factors that influenced the competition with Western European nations for imperialistic endeavours.
Topic 3: Prison system management in 19th-century Italian prisons after unification.
Research Aim: The research analyses accounting practices in prisons using documentation analysis of the prison management system of major Italian States in the early 19th century. The study aims to use various accounting methods to uncover the potentially socially damaging tools of accounting in prison reforms to discipline individuals of lesser status.
Topic 4: The impact of the mafia on Italian education after unification.
Research Aim: The research will use historical point data to analyse the impact the Mafia had on the level of education between 1874 to 1913. The particular geographic constraint of the study will be restricted to Sicily, Italy, after the unification of the Italian Kingdom in 1861.
German Unification History Dissertation Topics
Topic 1: examining the parties and problems of governance in the german empire..
Research Aim: The research will examine using document analysis the various processes for political restructuring that caused the founding of many political parties, interest groups, and civic associations. The research analyses how the Federal Republic strategized to transfer German Democratic Republic citizens’ sovereign rights to international institutions and the Federal Republic institutions.
Topic 2: Analysing the collapse of the GDR and the re-unification of Germany.
Research Aim: The research will analyse the factors and influences surrounding the collapse of the German Democratic Republic (GDR) from 1898 to 1990 and the reunifications of East and West Germany. The research will also analyse the role of businesses with regards to the collapse, particularly the German business elites and their relationship with the Soviet Union.
Topic 3: Analysing the impact of Bismarck on the capitulation of German liberalism.
Research Aim: The research will analyse the impact the German National Liberal party of 1866 to 1867 had to support Otto von Bismarck’s policy of German unification. The study will examine the political stakes involved and the philosophy of Realpolitik on the Unification of the German Empire.
Topic 4: The impact of radical nationalism and political change after Bismarck.
Research Aim: The research will examine the factors that gave rise to the radicalization of the German right under the politics of Otto von Bismarck. The study looks to find evidence of German fascism prior to World War II. To conduct the research, a thorough document analysis will be done with an extensive literature review.
World War I Dissertation Topics
Topic 1: the response of german immigrants to discrimination in the usa during world war i.
Research Aim: The research will examine the impact of caste-based discrimination on assimilation patterns of immigrant minorities, specifically German immigrants in the United States during WWI. The study will understand if discriminated minority groups increase their assimilation efforts to avoid discrimination and public harassment. The research will use naming patterns of children and records of petitions of naturalisations to conduct the study empirically.
Topic 2: Analysing the impact of affective experience and popular emotion on WWI International Relations.
Research Aim: The research will examine the factors of communal emotion and mass emotion during the outbreak of WWI to demonstrate the political significance of widespread sentiment. The research looks to study the factors with regard to contemporary populism.
Topic 3: The impact of military service in WWI on the economic status of American Veterans?
Research Aim: The research will analyse the different registration regimes during the WWI draft to find their impact on economic outcomes. The research will use empirical from 1900 to 1930 United States to study short term impact of military service while the United States census of 1960 is used to determine the long term impacts. The data collected will be of household income and draft population of the time in WW1.
Topic 4: Examining the Impact of Quarrying Companies Royal Engineers in WWI to support British armies on the Western Front.
Research Aim: The research will examine the history of the Quarrying Companies unit within the Royal Engineers in WWI. The study will analyse the impact that the group had on British armies on the Western Front, particularly for the aid of the British Expeditionary Forces until its disbandment in 1919.
The Great Depression (Britain 1918-1939) Dissertation Topics
Topic 1: the impact of the great depression on labour productivity..
Research Aim: The research will examine the labour productivity of the UK manufacturing industry during the Great Depression. The research will be of empirical methodology and collect data of actual hours of work, real output, and employment statistics. The study will prove that during the Great Depression, output per work-hour was counter-cyclical between 1929 and 1932.
Topic 2: Analysing the discourse of British newspapers during the Great Depression.
Research Aim: The research will use document analysis and text analysis to examine the rhetoric of British newspapers when unemployment rises. The study will accurately analyse the Great Depression in Britain by determining how the stigmatisation of poverty changes in the rhetoric of newspapers when discussing unemployment.
Topic 3: The Impact of the Great Depression on British Women Migration 1925-1935.
Research Aim: The research will analyse the impact that the Great Depression had on the migration of women out of Britain to the rest of its empire. The study will use empirical data to analyze the Society for Oversea Settlement of British Women (SOSBW). The research will assess if the society’s training programme influenced the employment and migration of women.
Topic 4: The Great Depression and British industrial growth- Analysing economic factors contributing to the Great Depression in Britain.
Research Aim: The research will analyse the British deceleration of industrial growth and the percentage rate of growth as the cause of the Great Depression in Britain. The research will examine the contribution of the Industrial Revolution and its initial rapid percentage of rate of growth causing ‘retardation.’ The study will be empirical and analyse historical patterns of Britain’s national economy.
Second World War Dissertation Topics
Topic 1: analysing brazilian aviation in world war ii.
Research Aim: The research will analyse the extent to which Brazilians were actively engaged in combat on the Brazilian coast and in the European theatre. The study will primarily focus on the global conflict through the Forca Aerea Brasileira, FAB, or the Brazilian Air Force development before participation in the Second World War.
Topic 2: The impact of invention secrecy in World War II.
Research Aim: The research will examine the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) patent secrecy orders which put over 11,000 US patent applications given secrecy orders. The study will analyse how this policy impacted keeping technology from the public during the war effort, specifically radar, electronics, and synthetic materials.
Topic 3: Analysing aerial photographic intelligence in WWII by British geologists.
Research Aim: The research will examine the period of WWII from 1939 to 1945, when intelligence was collected from aerial photographs by the Allied Central Interpretation Unit. The study will assess the history of aerial photographic information based on geology contributing to the Allied landings in Normandy in 1944.
Topic 4: Analysing British propaganda in the United States during WWII.
Research Aim: The research will analyse the strategies that British propagandists used to understand the American opinion of WWII during the war and for post-war relationships. The study will investigate the policies and factors that contributed to keeping the wartime alliance and creating an acceptable political climate in the United States for post-war cooperation.
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History of Nazi Germany Dissertation Topics
Topic 1: the impact of discrimination against jewish managers on firm performance in nazi germany..
Research Aim: The research will examine the large-scale increase in discrimination in Nazi Germany to cause the dismissal of qualified Jewish managers in large firms. The study will analyse the persistent stock prices of firms, dividend payments, and return on assets after the discriminatory removal of Jewish managers.
Topic 2: Examining children’s literature in Nazi Germany
Research Aim: The research will analyse children’s literature which was propagandised between 1933 and 1945 under the National Socialists party. The paper will examine the various themes, specifically the Nordic German worldview, and how German values were distorted to produce a homogenous folk community.
Topic 3: Shifting from liberal education of the Weimar Republic to Nazi educational reforms- Analysing educational reforms under the Nazi government.
Research Aim: The research will examine education reform that the National Socialist government implemented in elementary education. The research will look to accumulate personal accounts of families and students who experienced the era to better comprehend the educational reforms. The study seems to under how these educational reforms moulded student ideologies.
Topic 4: The effects of antisemitism in film comedy in Nazi Germany,
Research Aim: The research will explore the themes of antisemitism in film comedy produced during the reign of the Nazi party in Germany. The research will study how themes impacted the perceptions of people living in Germany post-war. The research will use document analysis and empirical analysis to document and examine the themes and attitudes.
History of Cinema Dissertation Topics
Topic 1: analysing the history and politics of bollywood..
Research Aim: The research will explore the various events in Indian film history that have allowed it to become a global sensation. The paper will analyse its market-driven triumph against Hollywood imports starting from the 1930s. The paper will also examine the nationalist social views of films produced in Bollywood during the 1950s.
Topic 2: The role of cinematic depictions influencing popular understanding of the Spanish Civil War.
Research Aim: The research will examine the role that cinema played in shaping the understanding of the Spanish Civil War. The study will focus on fictional films that were produced in Spain and Hollywood between the 1940s and the early years of the 21st century.
Topic 3: Analysing distinctive characteristics of Korean films.
Research Aim: The research will analyse the characteristics of Korean films and examine their historical development. The research will focus on the eras of the Japanese colonial period to 1945 when the American army occupied South Korea. The study will analyse the role of censorship throughout this time period in producing Korean films.
Topic 4: Examining the history of cinema in Britain since 1896.
Research Aim: The research will explore the development of cinema exhibitions and cinema-going in Britain in 1896. They will analyse various factors that led to the rapid growth of cinema in Britain just before WWI. The study will examine factors such as the position of cinema, development of modern spaces, artistic respectability, the invention of sound, and cinema as individual entertainment.
History of Racism Dissertation Topics
Topic 1: analysing the factors influencing institutional racism in america..
Research Aim: The research will explore the complicated history of racism in the United States. It will analyse how racism has become embedded throughout American society from land ownership, education, healthcare, employment, and the criminal justice system. The research will use a mixed-methods research approach to gather data.
Topic 2: Examining the relationship between racism and environmental deregulation in the Trump Era.
Research Aim: The research will analyse the possible relationship between environmental deregulation and racism between 2016 and 2017 under the Trump Administration. The study will primarily collect data from executive actions, ecological events, and tweets from the President during this time period. The study will document racist events that were targeted at people of colour, Asians, Arabs, South Asians, Muslims, and indigenous persons.
Topic 3: Analysing the experience of racism in English schools towards Eastern European Migrants.
Research Aim: The research will use qualitative design to analyse the experience of racism faced by students of Eastern European descent. The research will use the framework proposed by the Critical Race Theory and Critical Conceptions of Whiteness to conduct the study. The research will focus on the racism experienced by these students as marginal whiteness for their various linguistic accents.
Topic 4: The impact of racism on Afro-Italian entrepreneurship.
Research Aim: The research will use qualitative data to analyse the participation of Afro-Italian women entrepreneurs in start-ups relating to beauty, style, and hair care lines. The study explores the obstacles that young black women entrepreneurs face in Italian due to racism and how their inclusion in small economies changes the perception of Blackness and Black womanhood related to Italian material culture.
Also Read: Religion, Theology and Philosophy Dissertation Topics
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History of Spanish Civil War Dissertation Topics
Topic 1: examining the role of international nurses during the spanish civil war..
Research Aim: The research will use document analysis, primarily memoirs, to explore the life and work of international nursed participation during the Spanish Civil War. The study will examine their role with regard to contributions made to Spanish nursing during the war.
Topic 2: Examining republican propaganda during the Spanish Civil War.
Research Aim: The research will explore the propaganda used by the Republicans of the Spanish Civil War from 1936 to 1939 to support their ideology of the war. The paper will focus on three primary forms of media – newspapers, cinema, and music. The study will conduct the analysis using historical context to examine its effectiveness in propagating the Republican messages.
Topic 3: The history of British Battalions in the International Brigades of the Spanish Civil War.
Research Aim: The research will examine the role, experiences, and contributions of British volunteers to the Spanish Republic through the British Battalion of the 15th International Brigade. The study will accurately analyse the motivations of the volunteers to join the International Brigades and participate in the Spanish Civil War.
Topic 4: British cultural perspectives on the Spanish Civil War.
Research Aim: The research will explore the cultural perspectives of the political understanding of the British responses to the Spanish Civil War. The study will examine the mass culture and personal experiences of British visitors to Spain in the 1930s.
History of the United States Dissertation Topics
Topic 1: the impact of ‘the frontier’ on american expansion and imperialism..
Research Aim: The research explores the idea of ‘manifest destiny, its connection to the American frontier, and its impact on imperialism. The study focuses on how the American perception of savagery and civilisation is related to expanding the American frontier.
Topic 2: Analysing the American public opinion on the War in Vietnam.
Research Aim: The research uses empirical data to analyse the American public attitude with regard to the Vietnam Wat. The data will be analysed using demographic groups and perception studies. The study will investigate how these perceptions eventually shaped government policy preferences during the Vietnam War.
Topic 3: Analysing the inaugural speeches of re-elected US presidents since WWII.
Research Aim: The research identifies, analyses, and assesses the use of individual style in inaugural speeches of re-elected US presidents since WWII. The research will be conducted using document analysis of lexical and semantic levels. The study will assess how the inaugural addresses are shaped to reflect the public policy of re-elected presidents.
Topic 4: Analysing the rise of white power and paramilitary groups in the United States.
Research Aim: The research analyses the rise and expansion of white nationalists, racist far-right groups using government publications, journalistic accounts, and archival records. The research focuses on the failure in Vietnam, giving rise to white power movements. The study will examine various events to assess the factors and significance that caused an increase in paramilitary groups in the United States.
Topic 5: Examining the rise of new white nationalism in America.
Research Aim: The research will use data acquired from speeches, books, and internet sources written by white nationalists to assess the shift of white nationalist ideas of oppression of other races to a view of victimhood of white nationalists. The research will use an extensive literature review to document the development of white nationalism in American history while also considering the development of social media.
Historic Events of Early Twentieth Century Dissertation Topics
Topic 1: the creation of uniquely american musical sounds; changes in classical music from the 19th to 20th century..
Research Aim: The research explores the changes in American classical music, shifting from its traditional European origins to a more defined American sound. The study will contend that historical events such as the upheaval and shifts of society during the American Civil War were the main factors of the creation of new American classical music.
Topic 2: The influence of political parties on democracy and party-state relations in the 20th-century.
Research Aim: The research will analyse institutional reforms of party-state relations, including constitutions, electoral laws, and party laws in France and Italy during the 20th century. The study will examine the impact of party entanglement on contributing to democratisation in Europe.
Topic 3: The impact of suspicion and distrust on conflict coverage- A case study of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.
Research Aim: The research will use inductive-qualitative analysis to examine the journalistic narratives of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. To do so, the factors of suspicion of information sources, awareness of being under suspicion, and distrust of peer journalists are used to examine the trust of journalists and the dilemma they face in hostile environments.
Also Read: Project Management Dissertation Topics
As a student of history looking to get good grades, it is essential to develop new ideas and experiment with existing history theories – i.e., to add value and interest to your research topic.
The field of history is vast and interrelated to so many other academic disciplines like literature , linguistics , politics , international relations , and more. That is why it is imperative to create a history dissertation topic that is particular, sound, and actually solves a practical problem that may be rampant in the field.
We can’t stress how important it is to develop a logical research topic; it is the basis of your entire research. There are several significant downfalls to getting your topic wrong; your supervisor may not be interested in working on it, the topic has no academic creditability, the research may not make logical sense, and there is a possibility that the study is not viable.
This impacts your time and efforts in writing your dissertation as you may end up in the cycle of rejection at the very initial stage of the dissertation. That is why we recommend reviewing existing research to develop a topic, taking advice from your supervisor, and even asking for help in this particular stage of your dissertation.
While developing a research topic, keeping our advice in mind will allow you to pick one of the best history dissertation topics that fulfill your requirement of writing a research paper and add to the body of knowledge.
Therefore, it is recommended that when finalizing your dissertation topic, you read recently published literature to identify gaps in the research that you may help fill.
Remember- dissertation topics need to be unique, solve an identified problem, be logical, and can also be practically implemented. Take a look at some of our sample history dissertation topics to get an idea for your own dissertation.
How to Structure your History Dissertation
A well-structured dissertation can help students to achieve a high overall academic grade.
- A Title Page
- Abstract: A summary of the research completed
- Table of Contents
- Introduction : This chapter includes the project rationale, research background, key research aims and objectives, and the research problems to be addressed. An outline of the structure of a dissertation can also be added to this chapter.
- Literature Review : This chapter presents relevant theories and frameworks by analysing published and unpublished literature available on the chosen research topic, in light of research questions to be addressed. The purpose is to highlight and discuss the relative weaknesses and strengths of the selected research area while identifying any research gaps. Break down of the topic, and key terms can have a positive impact on your dissertation and your tutor.
- Methodology : The data collection and analysis methods and techniques employed by the researcher are presented in the Methodology chapter which usually includes research design , research philosophy, research limitations, code of conduct, ethical consideration, data collection methods, and data analysis strategy .
- Findings and Analysis : Findings of the research are analysed in detail under the Findings and Analysis chapter. All key findings/results are outlined in this chapter without interpreting the data or drawing any conclusions. It can be useful to include graphs, charts, and tables in this chapter to identify meaningful trends and relationships.
- Discussion and Conclusion : The researcher presents his interpretation of the results in this chapter, and states whether the research hypothesis has been verified or not. An essential aspect of this section is to establish the link between the results and evidence from the literature. Recommendations with regards to implications of the findings and directions for the future may also be provided. Finally, a summary of the overall research, along with final judgments, opinions, and comments, must be included in the form of suggestions for improvement.
- References : Make sure to complete this in accordance with your University’s requirements
- Appendices : Any additional information, diagrams, or graphs that were used to complete the dissertation but not part of the dissertation should be included in the Appendices chapter. Essentially, the purpose is to expand the information/data.
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Dissertation & thesis template.
If you’re preparing to write your dissertation, thesis or research project, our free dissertation template is the perfect starting point. In the template, we cover every section step by step, with clear, straightforward explanations and examples .
What’s Included In The Dissertation Template
Our free dissertation and thesis template covers all the essential elements required for a first-class piece of research . The template’s structure is based on the tried and trusted best-practice format for formal academic research projects such as dissertations and theses. The template structure reflects the overall research process, ensuring your dissertation or thesis will have a smooth, logical flow from chapter to chapter.
The dissertation template covers the following core sections:
- The title page/cover page
- Abstract (sometimes also called the executive summary)
- Table of contents
- List of figures /list of tables
- Chapter 1: Introduction (also available: in-depth introduction template )
- Chapter 2: Literature review (also available: in-depth LR template )
- Chapter 3: Methodology (also available: in-depth methodology template )
- Chapter 4: Research findings /results (also available: results template )
- Chapter 5: Discussion /analysis of findings (also available: discussion template )
- Chapter 6: Conclusion (also available: in-depth conclusion template )
- Reference list
Each section is explained in plain, straightforward language , followed by an overview of the key elements that you need to cover within each section. We’ve also included practical examples to help you understand exactly what’s required in each section.
The cleanly-formatted Word document is fully editable , so you can use it as-is for your dissertation or thesis, copy over the contents to a fresh document, or convert it to LaTeX.
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Frequently Asked Questions
What format is the dissertation template (Word Doc, PDF, PPT, etc.)?
The template is provided in a fully editable MS Word document. You’re welcome to convert it to whatever format works best for you, such as LaTeX or PDF.
What types of dissertations/theses can this template be used for?
The template follows the standard best-practice structure for formal academic research projects such as dissertations or theses, so it is suitable for the vast majority of degrees, particularly those within the sciences.
Some universities may have some additional requirements, but these are typically minor, with the core structure remaining the same. Therefore, it’s always a good idea to double-check your university’s requirements before you finalise your structure.
Is this template for an undergrad, Masters or PhD-level thesis?
This template can be used for a dissertation, thesis or research project at any level of study. It may be slight overkill for an undergraduate-level study, but it certainly won’t be missing anything.
How long should my dissertation/thesis be?
This depends entirely on your university’s specific requirements, so it’s best to check with them. As a general ballpark, Masters-level projects are usually 15,000 – 20,000 words in length, while Doctoral-level projects are often in excess of 60,000 words.
Can I share this dissertation template with my friends/colleagues?
Yes, you’re welcome to share this template. If you want to post about it on your blog or social media, all we ask is that you reference this page as your source.
Can Grad Coach help me with my dissertation/thesis?
Within the template, you’ll find plain-language explanations of each section, which should give you a fair amount of guidance. However, you’re also welcome to consider our dissertation and thesis coaching services .
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Book Review: ‘A Brief History of Intelligence’ may help humans shape the future of AI
This cover image released by Mariner Books shows “A Brief History of Intelligence: Evolution, AI, and the Five Breakthroughs That Made Our Brains” by Max Bennett. (Mariner Books via AP)
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Ever wonder how Homo sapiens got so smart? How come we developed actual language when all the other animals didn’t? How about what first made a nematode turn its body in a different direction? Or… what’s a nematode?
Answers to those questions and much, much more can be found in the pages of Max Bennett’s new book “A Brief History of Intelligence: Evolution, AI and the Five Breakthroughs that Made Our Brains.” At 365 pages plus 45 more with a glossary, chapter notes and a bibliography, readers can quibble whether it’s indeed brief, but it is certainly thorough.
Bennett’s premise — he’s a software entrepreneur who founded a company called Bluecore that “helped predict what consumers would buy before they knew what they wanted” — is that humans won’t ever create true artificial intelligence without understanding exactly what led to the real intelligence we already possess. So he begins with those nematodes — worms, to you and me — and painstakingly details the five breakthroughs that over the course of billions of years evolved into the three-pound brain that is folded into all of our skulls.
The first half of the book is a touch dry, detailing not only what caused worms to turn (food!), but how fish learn via trial and error and the pivotal role the basal ganglia plays in dictating behavior, among many, many other evolutionary developments. Bennett cites the work of psychologists and neuroscientists every step of the way and includes plenty of charts and graphs to make his points. It can feel like you’re reading a textbook at times. But to his credit, he begins each new chapter with actual prose, as in this description of the Cambrian explosion more than 500 million years ago: “The gooey microbial mats of the Ediacaran that turned the ocean floor green would have long since faded and given way to a more familiar sandy underbelly. The sensible, slow, and small creatures of the Ediacaran would have been replaced by a bustling zoo of large mobile animals as varied in form as in size.”
When Bennett begins to connect the evolution of the human brain to where we are in the development of artificial intelligence is when the book, for this reader, gets more interesting. Why can’t machines truly learn? Even ChatGPT, which every industry seems to be embracing these days, can’t “learn things sequentially,” writes Bennett. “They learn things all at once and then stop learning.” We’ve trained ChatGPT using the entire contents of the Internet, but the software can’t learn new things because of the risk that it will forget old things, or learn the wrong things.
Bennett is intelligent enough not to draw any conclusions about AI in a field that is changing daily, but he does end his book with a challenge. Evolution gave us our magnificent human brain, he writes, and now that we are in a position to play god and create a new form of intelligence, we must first decide on our goal — are we destined to spread out across the cosmos? Or will we fail, victims of pride or climate change or something yet unseen, just another branch on the evolutionary tree, which will grow on without humans and perhaps never add a limb called “Artificial Intelligence?” No reader alive today will live long enough for that answer, but Bennett makes a solid case for why reverse engineering the human brain may lead to future breakthroughs in the science of AI.
AP book reviews: https://apnews.com/hub/book-reviews