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Term 1: Getting support for you proposal
Any student registered for the MA may apply to write a dissertation. But only projects deemed viable will be allowed to proceed, so it’s important to get the proposal right. To be accepted, a proposal should meet the following criteria:
Please note that your proposal will be considered in the light of the topic and availability of a potential supervisor. The successful candidates will be notified by the end of Week 1. They will then have to attend a compulsory dissertation training workshop in Week 2 on Wednesday morning. All PT students wanting to write a dissertation must get their proposal approved and attend the dissertation workshop in their first year to avoid doing extra modules (in case their proposal is rejected) in T2 of their final year. Final decisions on approved dissertations will be notified by the end of Week 4. Students whose initial dissertation proposal has not been approved should continue with their chosen option modules. For those students whose dissertation is approved, they will be required to ‘drop’ a Term 2 option module.
Note that students taking three modules plus the dissertation will normally take two modules in term 1 and one module in term 2. They will write one 6000 word essay for the Foundation module and two 8000 word essays for the other modules.
Students taking four modules plus the dissertation normally will take two modules in each term. They will write one 6000 word essay for the Foundation module plus three 6000 word essays for the other modules.
You are strongly discouraged from taking more than two modules in one term.
Term 2: Starting research
Students whose proposals are accepted are strongly advised to begin work on their dissertation research in term 2. It can take time to work out exactly how to focus the work and decide on what you need to look at and read, so it’s best to start early.
In term 2 you must submit a Progress Report. The report consists of a Dissertation plan, which must include the following:
The form and supporting documents must be given to your supervisor by the end of Week 7 of term 2. Your supervisor will submit it, along with a report on your work. The progress reports will be reviewed by the MA Convenor. If there are concerns about progress, the MA Convenor will contact you.
Thereafter, you should see your supervisor on a basis agreed between the two of you. Your supervisor will normally require you to submit written work regularly and will recommend reading as well as assisting you in structuring your project.
Term 3: Researching and writing
Supervision for the MA dissertation takes place during term 3. While you will also be working on essays due during this term, it’s important to keep working regularly on your dissertation, and especially to make the most of your contact with your supervisor. Because of staff research commitments, direct dissertation supervision finishes in week 11 of Term 3. By this time you should have completed much of your research, finalized your structure and written drafts of the majority of chapters. The writing up period is undertaken during the summer with final submission at the start of September.
5. English Language support
For help in this area, students are directed to the Centre for Applied Linguistics (CAL), and their programmes on academic writing. For details please see their website at http://www2.warwick.ac.uk/fac/soc/al/learning_english/insessional/
According to University regulations, attendance of seminars is obligatory (Regulation 13). The learning that goes on during seminars is an integral part of the MA programme. If you cannot attend owing to illness or other personal circumstances, you should inform your module tutor, preferably in advance. If you miss more than four seminars for any 10-week module without good cause and appropriate documentation (e.g. doctor’s note ), then you may not submit the essay for the module, and so will not be able to earn credit for it. Students in this situation will need to make up the module(s) in another way, for example, by taking another module the following term, or changing to part-time status and taking the same or comparable module the following year.
Department of English and Comparative Literary Studies
Monitoring Student Progression
The members of staff responsible for the drafting of reports are:
All PGT and PGR students in the English department will be subject to the monitoring structure detailed below, which applies to the following degrees:
The members of staff responsible for these courses are
Our monitoring structure for PGT students is as follows:
Our monitoring structure for PGR students is as follows:
Other structures in place:
Each term, module tutors will write an individual report on student progress. The reports cover attendance, contribution to seminars (including, where appropriate, presentations) and any non-assessed work (such as journals or blogs). At the end of each term, the MA convenor will review all progress reports and take appropriate action. The MA convenor may meet with students individually. You may ask your personal tutor to discuss the reports with you.
Planning and writing your essays
Planning your year
While teaching takes place only in terms 1 and 2, you will be required to submit work for assessment at various times throughout the entire year. In order to keep on top of things, you will need to plan your year carefully. The best way is to construct your own personal year planner, noting not only deadlines, which are spaced throughout the year, but also blocks of time when you will be able to write your essays. It is each student’s responsibility to construct his or her personalised year planner. If you have questions or would like help, contact the MA Convenor, your personal tutor, or the Graduate Secretary. Students who plan their time wisely routinely perform better on the MA than those who don’t.
Getting approval for your essay title
Choosing a topic for your essay is extremely important. You should discuss the matter carefully with your tutor. Once you have agreed a title, you will need to register it with the department. For each essay, you will need to fill out a form (available online and from the Graduate Secretary), indicating the agreed title. Both you and your tutor will need to sign the form, and you must then submit it to the Graduate Secretary. The aim of this requirement is to ensure that students begin essay planning early, and to help them pace their work throughout the year. It also allows staff to check that students are not repeating material. Deadlines for submitting Agreed Essay Title forms are spaced throughout the year. Make sure you take note of the deadlines, and that you observe them. Getting approval for your essay title is obligatory: essays for which we don’t have written approval from the module tutor will not be accepted.
Tutors keep office hours during term time, and you should feel free to approach your tutor during these times, or at an alternative mutually agreed time. Bear in mind that members of staff may be on leave in the term(s) they are not teaching their MA module: e.g. your tutor in term 1 may not be around in term 2, as you begin to write your term 1 essay. So, when you plan your year, check your tutor’s availability. Also bear in mind that tutors will not generally be available during vacations; however, they may agree to consultations by arrangement. If you need to consult your tutors outside of term time, you may email them to arrange an appointment. However, please be aware that many tutors are not easily contactable between terms, since this time is nearly always devoted to research.
Getting help with essay-writing
A very high standard of accuracy and literacy is demanded. The department offers essay-writing assistance (in terms of structure and argument, but not English usage) through its Royal Literary Fund fellows, who will read draft essays and offer advice. For details about contacting the Royal Literary Fellows, contact the departmental office.
Matters of style
All assessed work must be consistent in presentation and typography, and they should show mastery of the conventions for presenting scholarly work. These are set out in the MHRA Style Book, obtainable online. Students must ensure that their essays and dissertations conform to the conventions laid down in this booklet or to the conventions laid down by the MLA. You are also recommended to consult F.W. Bateson, The Scholar-Critic: An Introduction to Literary Research, and George Watson, The Literary Thesis: A Guide to Research. Please note that it helps greatly if you put your name, module tutor and title on every page of the essay.
Essays are double-marked. You will normally receive feedback from the first marker, and the agreed mark. Comments and/or essays will be returned via the office (H506) in individually marked envelopes. You may wish to ask your tutor to discuss the feedback with you. If you would like your essay returned by post please include an SAE (with sufficient postage) when you submit your essays.
Plagiarism is the abuse of secondary reading in essays and in other writing, including creative writing. It consists first of direct transcription, without acknowledgement, of passages, sentences and even phrases from someone else’s writing, whether published or not. It also refers to the presentation as your own of material from a printed or other source with only a few changes in wording. There is of course a grey area where making use of secondary material comes close to copying it, but the problem can usually be avoided by acknowledging that a certain writer holds similar views, and by writing your essay without the book or transcription from it open before you. When you are using another person’s words you must put them in quotation marks and give a precise source. When you are using another person’s ideas you must give a footnote reference to the precise source.
All quotations from secondary sources must therefore be acknowledged every time they occur. It is not enough to include the work from which they are taken in the bibliography at the end of the essay, and such inclusion will not be accepted as a defence should plagiarism be alleged. Whenever you write an essay that counts towards university examinations, you will be asked to sign an undertaking that the work it contains is your own.
The University regards plagiarism as a serious offence. A tutor who finds plagiarism in an essay will report the matter to the Head of Department. The Head may, after hearing the case, impose a penalty of a nil mark for the essay in question. The matter may go to a Senate disciplinary committee which has power to exact more severe penalties. If plagiarism is detected in one essay, other essays by the student concerned will be examined very carefully for evidence of the same offence.
In practice, some cases of plagiarism arise from bad scholarly practice. There is nothing wrong with using other people’s ideas. Indeed, citing other people’s work shows that you have researched your topic and have used their thinking to help formulate your own argument. The important thing is to know what is yours and what is not and to communicate this clearly to the reader. Scholarly practice is a means of intellectual discipline for oneself and of honest service to others.
Deadlines and Penalties
All deadlines are published at the beginning of the academic year. They are final. Essays are due at 12 noon, ONE HARD COPY with a cover sheet (available on-line and from the Graduate Secretary). You may not submit essays via email or fax. Essays written for modules taken in other departments must be submitted by that department’s essay deadline but must adhere to the word length for essays in the English Department. Sometimes deadlines for such modules will coincide with English module deadlines. Please note that it is the student’s responsibility to submit by the required deadline: extensions are not normally granted in such circumstances.
Students are also required to submit on-line using the pg e-submission link - http://www2.warwick.ac.uk/fac/arts/english/postgrad/current/masters/modules/pg-esubmission/
The deadline for the e-submission is 12.00 on the day that the essays are due.
You must put your name and student number at the top of each page.
Penalty for late work
Work which is late without permission will be penalised by 3 marks per day.
Applying for an extension
In some circumstances, such as illness, it is possible for students to apply for an extension to the essay deadline. To apply for an extension, you must contact the MA Convenor directly, stating the nature of the circumstance and supplying appropriate documentation, such as a medical note. This must be an original note signed by a medical doctor or equivalent. The department treats all medical notes and other sensitive material in confidence. You must apply for an extension in advance of the deadline. Requests for extensions after the deadline has passed will only be considered where the circumstances are grave and unforeseeable. Extensions are granted at the discretion of the MA Convenor. You may wish to discuss the matter with your personal tutor or your module tutor, but only the MA Convenor may grant an extension.
Penalty for over or under-length work
All assessed work must conform to the stated word lengths. The word lengths are inclusive of quotations and footnotes but not of bibliography. You will be asked to provide a word count of your essays on the cover sheet which you complete when the work is submitted. We allow a penalty-free margin of up to 10% over or under-length. Essays that are 10-25% over or under-length will incur a penalty of 3 marks. Essays that are more than 25% over or under-length will be refused and a mark of nil will be recorded.
Repetition of material
You should not use the same material in more than one piece of work nor write at length on the same text or topic in more than one essay. Where this rule is not observed, examiners will disregard the repeated material, and mark the essay only on the basis of the new material. This may result in a fail mark for the essay.
Marking Practices and Conventions
In marking, examiners will reward cogency of argument, the use of appropriate material, stylistic excellence and good presentation. Candidates must also satisfy examiners that they have carried out the work required by the each module. All essays are marked by two members of staff. You will receive feedback from the first marker, and the agreed final mark. All marks awarded by examiners are provisional, until confirmed by the Exam Board in October. The pass mark for the MA in English is 50, with a distinction being marked at 70 or more. Marking descriptors are as follows:
80+: (Distinction): Work which, over and above possessing all the qualities of the 70-79 mark range, indicates a fruitful new approach to the material studied, represents an advance in scholarship or is judged by the examiners to be of a standard publishable in a peer-reviewed publication.
70-79: (Distinction): Methodologically sophisticated, intelligently argued, with some evidence of genuine originality in analysis or approach. Impressive command of the critical / historiographical / theoretical field, and an ability to situate the topic within it, and to modify or challenge received interpretations where appropriate. Excellent deployment of a substantial body of primary material/texts to advance the argument. Well structured, very well written, with proper referencing and extensive bibliography.
60-69: Well organised and effectively argued, analytical in approach, showing a sound grasp of the critical / historiographical / theoretical field. Demonstrates an ability to draw upon a fairly substantial body of primary material, and to relate this in an illuminating way to the issues under discussion. Generally well written, with a clear sequence of arguments, and satisfactory referencing and bibliography.
50-59: A lower level of attainment than work marked in the range 60-69, but demonstrating some awareness of the general critical / historiographical / theoretical field. Mainly analytical, rather than descriptive or narrative, in approach. An overall grasp of the subject matter, with, perhaps, a few areas of confusion or gaps in factual or conceptual understanding of the material. Demonstrates an ability to draw upon a reasonable range of primary material, and relate it accurately to the issues under discussion. Clearly written, with adequate referencing and bibliography.
40-49(Fail/Diploma): This work is inadequate for an MA award, but may be acceptable for a Postgraduate Diploma. Significant elements of confusion in the framing and execution of the response to the question. Simple, coherent and solid answers, but mainly descriptive or narrative in approach. Relevant, but not extensive deployment of primary material in relation to the issues under discussion. Occasional tendency to derivativeness either by paraphrase or direct quotation of secondary sources. Some attempt to meet requirements for referencing and bibliography.
39-(Fail): Work inadequate for an MA or Diploma award. Poorly argued, written and presented. Conceptual confusion throughout, and demonstrates no knowledge of the critical / historiographical / theoretical field. Failure to address the issues raised by the question, derivative, very insubstantial or very poor or limited deployment of primary material.
Failure and resubmission
To obtain the MA degree, candidates must earn pass marks in all their modules and in their dissertation. You cannot pass with a fail mark. A very high fail (47-49) may be considered by the board as redeemable if the student has earned high marks on other modules. Such cases are normally decided by one of the external examiners.
Where a student essay is awarded a fail mark, resubmission is possible under certain circumstances. The resubmission policy is as follows:
Where a student is required to resubmit an essay, he or she will normally be required to do so by the 1 September the following year. Students in this situation will need an extension from the Graduate School for which there will be an administrative charge. In very exceptional circumstances, the Exam Board may, rather than requiring resubmission, permit the candidate to sit a written examination. If circumstances warrant it, the Board may condone a fail.
Board of Examiners
The Board of Examiners is made up of academic staff and external examiners and normally meets once per year, in October. It is chaired by the Head of Department. The task of the Board is to review all student marks and confirm or revise them as required. The Board awards the MA degree and the MA with distinction, subject to the approval of Senate. The decisions of the Board are public and normally made available at the end of the day on which it meets.
The University regards appeal as a very serious matter and has an effective method of dealing with appeals. If you feel there has been some injustice regarding the awarding of your degree, you should immediately speak to your personal tutor, the MA Convenor, or the Head of Department. You may also wish to speak to a Student Union representative. If you wish to launch a formal appeal against the decision of the Board, you should consult the detailed regulations governing appeal. These are found http://www2.warwick.ac.uk/services/academicoffice/examinations/appeals
. Please note the following:
7. Student Support
Every student is nominated to a personal tutor. The personal tutor is a member of academic staff in the department who can offer advice on academic matters and also help direct students in difficulty to appropriate support within the University. It is highly recommended that you make time to meet your Personal Tutor soon after you arrive, and regularly thereafter. A notice about Personal Tutor arrangements for MA students will be posted on the graduate notice board during the second week of term.
The task of the Staff-Student Liaison Committee is to review regularly all aspects of postgraduate study in the Department. It is made of representatives of postgraduate students (MA, PhD) as well as academic staff with a role in running postgraduate programmes. Via the SSLC, students can voice concerns and together with staff can work on solutions. The SSLC is also a forum where staff can communicate changes to the courses and proposed improvements. The SSLC is an extremely effective body and its work is very valued by both teaching staff and students. Student members are elected by their peers at the beginning of the year.
The University considers sexual and racial harassment to be unacceptable and offers support to students subjected to it. The University is also able to take disciplinary action against offenders. Help is available from the Senior Tutor, the staff at Counselling Services and Student Union Welfare Staff. The University’s harassment policy can be found - http://www2.warwick.ac.uk/insite/topic/healthsafety/welfare/harassment/
Students who wish to find out more about University support for people with a disability should contact the Disability Office. Disability Officers can offer a wide range of support for all types of disability. If you are a wheelchair user, it is very important that you make yourself known to the Disability Office soon after arrival, so that an personalised evacuation plan can be drawn up for you.
There is an NHS doctor’s surgery on campus. You must register with the surgery when you arrive. For any emergencies, ring University Security (999).
Health and Safety
The University monitors health and safely through its Health and Safety policy. If you have any questions regarding this matter, or have any specific causes of concern, you should speak to the Department’s nominated Health and Safety officer.
A student may raise a complaint about any aspect of the teaching and learning process and the provision made by the University to support that process, unless the matter can be dealt with under the Disciplinary regulations, the Harassment Guidelines or the appeals mechanism. Students may not use the complaints procedure to challenge the academic judgement of examiners. Full details of the Student Academic Complaints Procedure can be found at http://www2.warwick.ac.uk/services/gov/complaintsandfeedback/
8. Part-time Study
Choosing to study part-time
If you wish to study part-time, you should indicate this on the application. If during the course of your studies you wish to move to part-time status, you should seek the advice of your personal tutor or the MA Convenor.
Planning your study
Part-time students need to plan their studies carefully, particularly those taking one of the named pathways. Bear in mind that modules on offer in the first year of study may not be repeated in the following year.
In their first year, part-time students normally to take the Foundation Module and two additional modules, one in the autumn and the other in the spring. In their second, they take two further modules, or write a dissertation. Note that if you wish to write a dissertation, you will need to apply for permission in your first year, and also attend the dissertation proposal workshops in your first year.
Part-time students must hand in their Critical Theory essay at the same time as full-time students. This is because Critical Theory is part of the Foundation Module, and is foundational for subsequent work. For all other modules, part-time students have different deadlines that take into account their status. It is students’ responsibility to note and meet these deadlines. Part-time students must submit their Term 1 option module essay either on 13 February 2012 or 21 May. Their Term 2 option module essay must be submitted by 1st September.
9. Careers and Further Study
The University offers a wide range of services to students wishing to apply for work at the end of their studies. Careers fairs focusing on a wide variety of fields, including teaching, publishing, law and finance, are held throughout the year. The service also offers personalised advice on identifying potential employers, compiling a CV and writing a cover letter. Full details can be found - http://www2.warwick.ac.uk/services/careers/mycareers
Many MA students plan to continue their studies at PhD level, either at Warwick or elsewhere. If you are considering this, it is important to begin talking with members of academic staff early. You will need to identify a thesis topic, choose the right institution and consider sources of funding, so the more advice you can get, the better. For advice on the application process at Warwick, you should speak to the department’s PhD funding officer (ask the Graduate Secretary).
At Warwick, there are two sources of PhD funding:
Both awards are highly competitive. Note that you must first secure the offer of a place on the PhD programme before you can apply for funding. The department’s PhD funding officer can provide further information and advice.
10. Academic Staff and their research interests
Liz Barry, BA (York), MPhil, DPhil (Oxon) – Associate Professor
English and French modernism, especially Beckett; modern British and Irish theatre; post-war French theatre; Anglo-Irish writing; language and literature; literary theory. Published on subjects such as Beckett and religious language, Beckett and romanticism, the novelist Henry Green, and the treatment of Jean Genet in feminist theory. Working on a monograph on the uses of cliché in Beckett’s work.
Catherine Bates, BA, MA, DPhil (Oxon) – Professor and Head of Department
Literature and culture of the Renaissance period. Her books include: The Rhetoric of Courtship in Elizabethan Language and Literature (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1992); ed., Sir Philip Sidney: Selected Poems (Harmondsworth: Penguin, 1994); Play in a Godless World: The Theory and Practice of Play in Shakespeare, Nietzsche and Freud (London: Open Gate Press, 1999); Masculinity, Gender and Identity in the English Renaissance Lyric (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2007); and ed., The Cambridge Companion to the Epic (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2010). Her next book, Masculinity and the Hunt: Wyatt to Spenser (Oxford: Oxford University Press) is due for publication in 2013.
Paul Botley, BA (Reading), MA (York), PhD (Cambridge) – Assistant Professor.
Dr Botley has published books on translation in the fifteenth and sixteenth centuries, and on the reintroduction of Greek literature into the classrooms of western Europe in the same period. He has recently completed an edition of the letters of one of the greatest scholars of the early modern period, Joseph Scaliger (1540-1609). His research has a broad European focus, with interests in the last decades of Byzantium, the Greek diaspora in renaissance Europe, the literature of Quattrocento Italy, and French literary culture in the sixteenth century. He has particular expertise in the histories of education and of scholarship, in the reception of the classical tradition in western Europe, and in printing during the hand-press period (1450-1800). He is a specialist in editorial method and neo-Latin literature.
Christina Britzolakis, BA (Witwatersrand), MPhil, DPhil. (Oxon) – Associate Professor
Modernism in its cultural, historical and geographical contexts. More broadly, late 19th, 20th and 21st century writing, with a particular focus on the modernist / avant-garde moment, and its legacies; critical theory, particularly the Frankfurt School and spatial theory. Her book, Sylvia Plath and the Theatre of Mourning, situates Plath’s poetry and prose in relation to modernism, psychoanalysis, feminism, and Cold War culture. She has also published articles on a range of twentieth-century authors including James Joyce, T.S. Eliot, Walter Benjamin and Angela Carter. More recent research and publication has focussed on the intersections between urban and global spaces in James, Ford, Conrad, Woolf and Rhys. Current projects include work on the production of avant-garde identities in the New York Arensberg circle, with special reference to the poet Mina Loy, and a book on the interpretive uses of space in literary studies.
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