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Section 5: Requirements, Assessment and Examination

Lecture and seminar attendance

Attendance at all seminars and lectures is expected. Please make sure you familiarize yourself with the sections in the two departments’ Undergraduate Handbooks describing further the penalties that can be imposed for unsatisfactory attendance and performance in modules.

If you have good reason for failing to attend classes or meet deadlines for the submission of coursework you should make every effort to inform your module tutor or personal tutor in advance.

Non-assessed work

Most modules involve certain other requirements by way of essays, exercises, group work, presentations, etc., which will be explained at the start of the module in question. In Logic 1, for example, regular homework exercises will be assigned which are essential for mastering the material in the module. This work does not count toward your mark in the module, but it is intended to give you the necessary preparation to do well in your exams and assessed essays.


Essays are a very important part of assessment in both English and Philosophy. Both departments provide information about the expected presentation of essays in their Undergraduate Handbooks and departmental webpages. Make sure that you follow this information.


Exams for Philosophy and English modules begin in week 4 of Term 3 (normally mid -May). The exam schedule will be published at the beginning of Term 3. Please consult the Undergraduate Handbooks of the two departments for further information about exam arrangements, exam boards, and exam regulations.

First year examinations
First year students need to pass each of their core modules in order to proceed to the second year. Problems in Philosophy and Literature and Modes of Reading are examined by assessed essays, and all other modules are assessed by exams at the end of the year. Information on the structure of examinations (e.g., how many sections, how many questions), as well as information on assessed essay deadlines and submission regulations, will be posted on module webpages and the English and the Philosophy undergraduate webpages—please consult these regularly, especially at the end of Term 2 and the beginning of Term 3. Please see the Philosophy Undergraduate Handbook for details on what happens when a student does not pass all of their first year exams.
Second and third year assessment and examination (Honours level)

Assessment methods in English. English modules are tested either through assessed essays (100% assessed) which fall due in the course of the year or through year-end exams (100% examined). Some modules are tested through a combination of both (in which case the weighting is usually 50% assessed and 50% examined). See the English Department website and Undergraduate Handbook for information on specific modules.

Assessment methods in Philosophy. Most modules in Philosophy offer a choice of assessment by essay or formal examination, including the two honours-level modules that are compulsory for Phil/ Lit students (Aesthetics: Art, Beauty & The Sublime and History of Modern Philosophy, both taken in your second year). For instance, for your 30 CATS History of Modern Philosophy module, it is possible to have 15 CATS worth of the module assessed by examination and 15 CATS assessed by essay. When you register for a Philosophy module at the beginning of the year if there are assessment options you should register to sit the examination. However, at the beginning of Term 2 you will be asked by the Philosophy Department to complete a form confirming your assessment methods and may apply to be assessed by essay in Philosophy modules at this point.

In Philosophy the ‘50% rule’ (that requires at least 50 % of your Honours level Philosophy work to be assessed by examination) no longer applies, however for 14-15 there will remain only one assessed essay deadline in the summer term at which all pieces of assessed work will need to be submitted please keep this in mind when you make your choice of assessment methods for Philosophy modules.

Deciding whether to write an exam or an essay in Philosophy is sometimes difficult. Writing assessed essays is not an easy way out – a higher standard of work is expected than is possible in three hours under examination conditions – and you should think carefully about what you propose to write before committing yourself to assessed essays.

Special Examination Requirements

If you have any special requirements for examinations for whatever reason, please discuss these with your personal tutor as soon as possible and in any case before the beginning of Term 2, so that appropriate arrangements can be put into place. Note that for most special arrangements you will be asked to produce a medical certificate or equivalent. Students whose first language is not English are permitted to use a bilingual dictionary during most University examinations. If you wish to be granted this permission, see the appropriate Examinations Secretary in good time before your examinations.

The Board of Examiners

The Board of Examiners meets twice: once, in a limited capacity, at the end of your second year to consider your second year results, and then again at the end of your third year, in June, in its full capacity, to consider all the results from your Honours level modules in order to award you a classified degree. Note that your second year results are not definitive until confirmed by the Final Year Board of Examiners. The Board consists of two external examiners appointed from outside the University of Warwick (one a Philosophy, the other a Literature, specialist), the Chair and Secretary of the Examining Board for Philosophy, the Chair and Secretary of the Examining Board for English, the Convenors of the Phil/Lit degree, and the module convenors from the Departments of Philosophy and English for all second and third year compulsory modules.