Resources for Students

Assignment Submission: English Department Policy and Procedures

The Department of English expects that students will submit assignments as scheduled. Instructors are not required to make allowance for any missed test or incomplete work that is not satisfactorily accounted for. Under extenuating circumstances, and at the discretion of the faculty member, assignments may be submitted as late as the date of the final exam. If illness or other urgent circumstances require that work be submitted after the date of the final exam, a Standing Deferred is required.

Deferred Standing (SD) may be granted by the Dean of the Faculty in which the student is enrolled when a student has a valid reason for not completing course requirements as scheduled and does not qualify for Aegrotat standing. Deferred Standing can be granted by the student’s Faculty Advising Office. For additional information on seeking a Standing Deferred, please visit,42,97,0

For UBC Calendar information on Academic Concessions, see,48,0,0#255

*information up to date as of November, 2015

Marking Standards

In order to clarify our expectations for student work, and in order to ensure comparable marking across sections and courses, the Department has adopted the following guidelines for marking standards.


Percentage (%) Letter Grade
90-100 A+
85-89 A
80-84 A-
76-79 B+
72-75 B
68-71 B-
64-67 C+
60-63 C
55-59 C-
50-54 D
0-49 F (Fail)

– An “A” paper (an outstanding paper; 80-100%): This paper must be fully focussed on the topic and consistently strong in structure, content, expression, mechanics, and presentation. If the paper is based on a text or if it draws material from other primary or secondary sources, it must include full documentation in the MLA style. An “A” paper should contain an original and credible argument in response to the topic. Any significant errors of expression that detract from the paper’s effectiveness would mean that the paper could not earn an “A” mark.

– A “B” paper (a competent paper; 68-79%): This paper must be well-focussed on the topic; its thesis must be well-supported by convincing evidence and explanations. The structure of a “B” paper must be strong and clear; its thesis must be specific and significant. If this paper contains errors of expression, they must be occasional rather than chronic, and they must not obscure meaning. A “B” paper based on research must be accurately documented in the MLA style. The principal difference between an “A” paper and a “B” paper is in the quality and level of its argument. A “B” paper is less adventurous than an “A”; it may tend to rely more heavily on materials and arguments raised in lectures and discussions than an “A” paper would.

 A “C-D” paper (an adequate paper; 50-67%): A paper at this level is generally clear in its expression, but it is weaker in content and/or structure than a “B” paper. Its thesis may be vague (but still on topic); its transitions may be inconsistent; its evidence may be occasionally unconvincing or incomplete. Language errors in this category will be more frequent than those at the “A” or the “B” level, but they will not be so serious or so chronic that they make a paper difficult or impossible to understand.

– An “F” paper (an inadequate paper; 0-49%): A paper at this level will suffer from one or more of the following serious flaws: it may be off topic; it may lack a thesis; it may lack clear and adequate development and paragraphing; it may be deficient in the presentation of evidence; it may contain serious and repeated errors in sentence structure, diction, and grammar – errors that obscure meaning.

– Failure to acknowledge sources: A paper that does not give complete and accurate credit for directly quoted material or for ideas and arguments that the student has summarized or paraphrased from another source must receive a grade of zero.

– Outside assistance: A paper edited or revised by a so-called tutoring service must also receive a failing grade of zero, for it does not constitute a student’s own work or best efforts.

 Lateness: In fairness to those students who work hard to meet course deadlines, a home paper submitted after a deadline will be assessed a daily penalty to be announced in writing by the course instructor.

– FINAL COURSE GRADES: While the previous guidelines consider grading standards in terms of individual papers, and while it is evident that a final course grade will not always, or even commonly, be a precise mathematical averaging of numerical grades on written assignments, there should still be a clear and evident correlation between the grades that a student receives during the term or year and the final grade. The instructor has a responsibility to convey clearly the relative weight of the various written assignments, the examination(s), class work, and other elements of the course, while not concealing that in the end, it is his or her considered judgment of the student’s total performance that is represented in the final grade.


– An “A+” paper (90-100%): Marks in this range should be given only for a paper of publishable quality, one that makes an original contribution to scholarship. A mark of 95% or above is exceptional and should be reserved for a paper that could be published in a major journal; it must be not only insightful and impeccably written, but also fully and carefully documented according to an accepted bibliographic style.

– An “A” paper (85-89%): Papers in this range should approach publishable quality, perhaps with some revision. They should present original ideas such as would be acceptable for conference presentation, and should be well-researched and documented.

 An “A-” paper (80-84%): Papers in this range should be solid pieces of work, fully adequate on the graduate level, with respect to the quality of thought and writing and to research and presentation.

– A “B+” paper (76-79%): Papers in this range have weaknesses in some areas, though they are still graduate-level work. Revision would be needed to bring them up to an “A” level.

– A “B” or “B-” paper (68-75%): Papers in this range have major weaknesses.

English and Arts Co-op Program


Attendance: English Department Policy and Procedures

Policy: Students missing 40% or more of their lectures, seminars, or meetings of a discussion section associated with a large lecture course, regardless of whether their absences are avoidable or unavoidable, may be considered unable to meet the “learning outcomes” of the course and may be excluded from the final examination.


1. In the event of students missing 12 hours, 4 seminar classes, or 4 meetings of a discussion section associated with a large lecture course, where an instructor wishes to invoke the attendance policy, the instructor must warn the students in writing. Email is acceptable; it is up to the students to ensure that their email addresses are up to date.

2. The written warning must advise the students that they will be asked to withdraw from the course if they miss 4 more hours, 1 more seminar class, or 1 more meeting of the discussion section.

3. An instructor who defers the sending of a written warning until after the students have missed more than 12 hours or 4 seminar classes or discussion section meetings must nevertheless allow the students the 4-hour, 1-seminar, or 1-discussion section period to improve their attendance before the students can be asked to withdraw.

4. Instructors are under no obligation to re-teach material that has already been taught in a regularly scheduled class.

5. Students who miss classes because of a disability and who are registered with the Disability Resource Centre must be given reasonable accommodation, which is to be negotiated at the beginning of the course between the student, the DRC, and the instructor.

6. Instructors must draw the Department’s attendance policy to the attention of their students by including it on the syllabus or by providing a link on the syllabus to the appropriate page on the Department’s web site.

Policy on Rescheduling of Final Examinations

October 2013

Reflecting UBC Senate policies on examinations, final examinations in the Department of English will not be rescheduled unless a student has received a Standing Deferred from his or her Faculty, except in the very specific situations of exam conflicts or the sort of unforeseeable circumstances listed below. Students should not make plans for travel or major social events until after the exam schedule has been published.

Exam conflicts or exam hardship:

In cases where a student has more than one exam formally scheduled by the University in the same time slot, the student will make arrangements with one of the faculty members to re-sit the exam.

In cases where a student has three exams scheduled within a 24-hour period, one of the exams will be rescheduled (normally the middle one).

Unforeseeable or unavoidable circumstances:

As the UBC Student Services website notes,

“There are a few legitimate reasons for missing a final exam:

A sudden illness or injury
An appointment for surgery that cannot be rescheduled
The death, sudden onset of a life-threatening disease, or serious injury of your spouse/partner, parent, sibling, child, or grandparent
The birth of your own child
A car accident on the way to your exam
Religious restrictions concerning observance of designated days

If you have a legitimate reason, you will need to show proof. Contact both your dean’s office and your instructor before or shortly after the exam. For more information on UBC’s exam policies, visit the Student Services exam policies web page.”


For the full UBC Calendar entry on Academic Concession see,48,0,0

Resources for Department Members (Internal)

Revised July 8, 2015

The Department of English welcomes visiting scholars who wish to pursue research for a maximum of one year at the University of British Columbia. Anyone interested in applying for visiting status should apply in writing to the Head of the Department (see “Application requirements” below).

Because space and other resources are very limited, we can host only TWO internal visiting scholars at any given time. Internal visiting scholars will receive library access, shared office space, and a departmental mailbox. Moreover, internal visiting scholars will be included in the department’s intellectual and social activities.

In addition, the Department is willing to host up to three external visiting scholars. These will be provided with library access only (library access includes limited access to computers). They will, however, be informed of the Department’s intellectual activities.

Application requirements:
(to be submitted by mail; only hard copy accepted)

  • curriculum vitae.
  • A coherent description of the research plans, and, if possible, the name of a professor at the English Department whom the applicant would like to consult. (Candidates are strongly advised to obtain the written consent of the possible supervisor in advance of applying.)
  • Proof of academic appointment and a letter of reference from the applicant’s Head of Department.
  • Proof of financial support for the duration of the applicant’s visit to UBC. (We realize that at times financial support will be granted only once the English Department has invited the applicant to stay at UBC. In that case, proof of financial support can be submitted later. Please note, however, that such proof is essential for an applicant to be accepted as visiting scholar).
  • Names and contact information for 2 referees.

PLEASE NOTE: Visiting scholar positions are not intended as a substitute for formal graduate study. Strong preference will be given to applicants who have already earned a PhD degree.

Applications should be sent to the attention of

Siân Echard, Head
Department of English
University of British Columbia
Buchanan Tower, Room 397
1873 East Mall
Vancouver, BC V6T 1Z1

Application deadline:

Applications will be considered in December of each year for the following academic year. Each applicant must clearly state the dates and duration of the desired visit to UBC.

Information regarding on-campus accommodation is available from the main UBC Website Green College , and Saint John’s College . General information about UBC is available at