If you’re unsure of what you are writing, any tutor on the module you’re submitting for will be glad to look at an outline and advise you on the suitability of the approach you are taking. Remember to give tutors time to respond. In any case you should allow at least a fortnight between when the tutor says s/he can see you and the deadline, to allow time for any rewriting. Royal Literary Fund Fellows (room H421) are also available throughout the year for consultations on essay writing.
The content of each portfolio submitted for assessment is determined by the module studied and is described in the outline of that module. For individual module descriptions, see http://www2.warwick.ac.uk/fac/arts/english/currentstudents/postgraduate/masters/writing/modules/.
Plagiarism is the theft of other people’s work. 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 includes the presentation as the author’s own of material by someone else – including from the web - 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 or has expressed or described things in a similar way, and by writing your work 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 other sources must therefore be acknowledged every time they occur. It is not enough to include the work from which they are taken any bibliography, and such inclusion will not be accepted as a defence should plagiarism be alleged. Whenever you write anything that counts towards university assessments, 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 a piece of work will report the matter to the Chairman of Department. The Chairman may, after hearing the case, impose a penalty of a nil mark for the piece 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 piece, other work by the student concerned will be examined very carefully for evidence of the same offence.
In practice, few students are deliberately dishonest and many cases of plagiarism arise from bad intellectual and imaginative 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.
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 Merit being marked at 65 or more and 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.
60-64 and 65-69: (Merit) 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.
Supplementary Creative Criteria DISTINCTION
Work in this category demonstrates compelling originality and confidence in handling of language and form. It should show a complete understanding of its chosen genre or medium and manifest a sustained willingness to experiment within that genre or medium so that the formal possibilities of expression are extended and transformed beyond mere engagement with content. Voice, register, pace, the position of the “speaking” poet or narrator, the sense of the work’s contract with the reader – all should be perfectly understood and absorbed within the fabric of the submission. It will evince not just a mature and striking command of language, but a highly imaginative and sustained sensitivity to what, given the subject-matter, is most apt, in prose description, dialogue, verse form, lineation and/or sectional arrangement. Presentation, spelling and punctuation will also be near faultless.
Work awarded a Merit will show evidence of originality and an emerging, rather than fully achieved, confidence in testing the limits of language and form. Its ambitions and voice may be compromised or dulled by some inconsistencies in tone, pace, narrative positioning and development. The chosen genre or medium will be mostly well handled, though not “made new”. There will be passages of good writing, with apt and often striking use of metaphor and observation which may not, however, be fully integrated with their surroundings. The higher end of this category will apply to submissions with a mature sense of imaginative direction and expressive possibility. The lower end will contain portfolios with a less convincing ability to identify and resolve formal and technical problems.
Work which is adequate but not markedly original in its expressiveness, its handling of the chosen genre or medium, or its imaginative vision. Typically there will be inspired moments in the portfolio and some evidence of technical ability, but there will be frequent structural lapses and a generally unconvincing grasp of how to shape material. In the mid- to high-50s the command of language will be mostly secure, though rarely remarkable. In the lower range, there will be a more than incidental appearance of grammatical error, cliche and developmental contrivance. This category may also include some portfolios which are potentially interesting but hastily assembled and confusingly presented.
49 and below
Work of a consistently poor quality, with a reduced understanding of form, little ambition and a pedestrian approach to language and structure. The tone will be insecure and the writing will feel contrived and routinely underimagined.
Failure and resubmission
To obtain the MA degree, candidates must earn pass marks in all their portfolios and in their Long Project. Boards of Examiners are not permitted to condone and/or compensate failure in a module.
The maximum pass mark on re-examination/reassessment is 50. Boards of Examiners, following a procedure detailed in paragraph 3(f) of the Requirements, have the discretion to grant a resit/reassessment as first attempt in situations where there are extenuating medical or personal circumstances.
Students on taught postgraduate courses are normally allowed to remedy failure in up to (and including) 1/2 of the total credits awarded in the taught element of the course.
Students failing their dissertation/project with a mark of >30 will be permitted to remedy failure. Students obtaining a mark of 30 or less in the dissertation/project carrying a credit weighting of more than 60 credits will only be permitted to submit a re-worked dissertation/project for examination against different learning outcomes, the achievement of which would enable them to be considered for the award of a Postgraduate Diploma.
Where a student fails an assessment as a result of penalties for late submission, the student should normally be required to undertake a new assessment, dissertation or project (i.e. not revise/resubmit the same assessment). Where reassessment of work failed because of penalties for late submission is not practicable, the fail mark should stand and the matter considered by the relevant Board of Examiners.
The right to remedy failure resulting from a finding of cheating under University regulations shall be determined by the Head of Department, the Investigating Committee of the Senate or the Board of Examiners as appropriate.
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.
Guidance on Extenuating/Mitigating Circumstances
Extenuating or mitigating circumstances are those events which have had a detrimental effect on your study, to the point that it is in your interest to draw your department’s attention to them and ask for them to be considered in mitigation of poor performance. Such circumstances include (but are not limited to) illness, both bodily and emotional; the severe illness or death of a close family member; a shocking or traumatic personal experience. In addition, sudden, unexpected changes in family circumstances might affect your ability to make academic progress as a consequence of their demonstrable emotional impact upon you, and may also be considered as mitigation.
The University is aware that in some cultures it is considered shameful or embarrassing to disclose the details of these kinds of circumstances to those outside one’s family. This is not the case in the prevailing UK culture and you should be aware that your department and the University are fully supportive of students in difficult circumstances and want to assist if at all possible.
If you feel inhibited talking to a tutor or other member of staff in the first instance, you may also consider talking to a member of your SSLC, the Students’ Union, the University Senior Tutor or a member of staff in Student Support for initial, informal advice.
However, in order for your circumstances to be considered as mitigating by your department, they must be conveyed formally to someone in your department (a tutor, the Director of Graduate/Undergraduate Studies, a course/module convenor, for instance). The University expects that you will discuss your circumstances before Exam Boards meet, so that they may be taken into account in good time. You should be aware that, in the event you feel you need to appeal the outcome of an Exam Board, offering extenuating or mitigating circumstances at that point will need to be accompanied by a good reason why you withheld the information earlier. Without wanting to invade your privacy, the University does expect that you bring such circumstances to your department’s attention in a timely manner, despite the discomfort you might feel in so doing. Failure to disclose such circumstances at a time when you could have done so may subsequently be problematic. Your department will do all it can to support you in difficult situations.
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:
The University has no mechanism for students wishing to appeal against the award of specific marks. In other words, disagreeing with a mark is not deemed by the University as valid grounds for appeal.
It is only possible to make an appeal on the grounds that proper procedures have not been followed by the Board in reaching its decision, or if there is new information pertinent to the case that was not available to the Board at the time it reached its decision.
Appeals are considered not by the department involved but by academic staff drawn from different departments.
If you are not satisfied with the way the University has dealt with your appeal, you may appeal to the Office of the Independent Adjudicator – http://www.oiahe.org.uk/
The ombudsman will only investigate where there is a prima facia case to be answered. The decision of the ombudsman is final.
If you wish to make a complaint about any aspect of your course, you should do so via the University’s complaint’s procedure (outlined in the section below ‘Student Support’), which is distinct from the Appeals procedure.
Data Protection Policy
For more information on the University’s policy please visit http://www2.warwick.ac.uk/services/legalservices/dataprotection.
MA in Writing Timetable 2014-2015
While the Foundation Modules (Research for Writing AND EN910 OR EN994) are compulsory, students may choose their own combination of options. Unfortunately, it may not be possible for students to take their first choice options in every case, and we may need to make changes to the programme in the event of unforeseen circumstances.
MODULES – you will be asked to give 1st and 2nd choices for your option modules, as upper and lower limits may be placed on numbers.
*Please note (from page 5): These are the modules as mentioned on page 5. Part-time students: You will submit your work on one of two dates from these modules on 9 Feb or 18 May. Full-time students must submit on each of these dates for their Autumn Term modules. The same process goes for the Spring and Summer Term deadlines.
EN9A5 THE PRACTICE OF LITERARY TRANSLATION (must submit translation piece. See webpage for details.)
Sarah Moss/Tim Leach
EN906 FICTION WORKSHOP II
11.00-1.00 Room to be confirmed in September.
5.00-7.00pm Writer’s Room
EN996 SEVEN BASIC PLOTS
1:30-2:30pm Writer’s Room
There may be occasional workshops that will be publicised as and when they are set up and agreed. LitBiz continues in Term 3 on Thursdays at 1:30 so do try to make these as it’s a great opportunity in Term 3 to meet up with your fellow students to talk about your work before you submit in September!
M.A. Modules in English Department 2014-15
DRAFT TIMETABLE (From the MA in English Handbook)
While the Foundation Module is compulsory students may choose particular pathways and their own combination of options. Unfortunately, it may not be possible for students to take their first choice options in every case, and we almost always need to make changes in the programme to adjust to unforeseen circumstances, so PLEASE CHECK the website towards the end of September for a more final timetable. Students who are hoping to combine work with study should let the Graduate Secretary know if significant changes to the timetable will affect their availability and she will try to accommodate this (it may not be possible but we will do our best). If students from outside the department wish to take one of the English modules they should inform the English Graduate Secretary as well as your own Graduate Secretary by the Wednesday of week 1.
You will be asked to give 1st and 2nd choices for your option modules, as upper and lower limits will be placed on numbers.