Types of Essays
Throughout your years in the Department of English and Comparative Literary Studies you will be required to write a number of essays. Some of these will be un-assessed (or formative) essays which mean that any marks given for the work do not contribute to your final grade. However, most essays will be assessed (or summative) pieces of work, with marks counting towards your final grade. Both types of essay are important as they help you to develop your skills and improve your performance over the course. Formative essays are particularly critical in your first year and you should take every opportunity to hone your essay-writing skills before proceeding into Honours.
Titles for essays are normally published at least six weeks before the submission deadline. On occasion you may have more than one essay due on the same day. Use the six weeks wisely to prepare your work so that you are able to submit all of your essays by the appropriate deadline.
Essays can be written in either MLA (Modern Languages Association) conventions or the MHRA (Modern Humanities Research Association) conventions, so long as you are self-consistent and use the same system throughout the piece of work being submitted.
Handwritten assignments cannot be accepted. Computers for students’ use are available in the work areas in the Library and the Learning Grid. You are required to keep a back-up of your work and an electronic copy of any assignments you submit to the department. In the event of computer problems, please contact the IT Services Helpdesk on ext. 73737.
You should observe the following presentation guidelines for all essays (though for creative writing work and portfolio submissions, you may use a style agreed with your tutor)
• Line spacing should be 1.5 or double
• Use 12-point type with wide margins for comments
• Your Student ID number should be included in the header or footer on each page of your essay
• DO NOT include your name on the essay.
Bibliography, Footnotes and Endnotes
All assessed essays and dissertations should have a bibliography of works consulted and cited. There should be correct and full referencing of sources either as in-text citation, as footnotes or as endnotes.
The purpose of these references is:
• To document direct quotation
• To credit ideas taken from a primary or secondary source (including single words, phrases and paraphrases)
• To give your reader sufficient information to track your quotation back to its source and to locate its full text
The key essentials of citation are: clarity, brevity, consistency and completeness.
The word length of your essay includes quotations and excludes footnotes, endnotes and the bibliography. Tutors will allow a discretionary 10% shortfall or extension of the word length; however they will not take into account anything which is written after the 10% extension. This could have severe repercussions on your mark, as your concluding paragraphs will not be read, so make sure that your work does not exceed the maximum word length allowed. If your work does exceed the maximum word length required, the following penalties will be given:
• 10-15% over/under 5 points will be deducted from the mark for the essay
• 15-50% over/under 10 points will be deducted from the mark for the essay
• more than 50% over/under 20 points will be deducted from the mark for the essay
Please also note that if your work does not meet the requirements of the rubric, then your essay may lose up to 20 marks.
A list of essay deadlines can be found here.
5 MARKS PER DAY WILL BE DEDUCTED FROM LATE ESSAYS WHERE AN EXTENSION HAS NOT BEEN GRANTED.
Essays must be submitted electronically using TABULA by 12 noon on the stipulated deadline (from 12:01 on the day they are due to 12:00 the next day is counted as 1 day). Essays submitted by email or fax will not be accepted. Essays should never be left in pigeonholes, outside reception, or handed in to tutors. Full instructions on how to make an electronic submission are in the manual on the TABULA webpage, please see the link above.
If you have submitted your essay after 12:00 (even 12:01 as stated above), and you wish to have the late penalty waived, you will need to apply to the appropriate Director of Undergraduate Studies for your level.
PLEASE NOTE: The Undergraduate Programmes Officers are not empowered to waive late penalties.
Return of Essays with Feedback
The department aims to provide feedback via Tabula to students 20 working days after submission. You should arrange a convenient time with your tutor to discuss your feedback if required.