In the course of the year you will be asked to produce several essays, one for each lecture course on the programme. You will of course be used to producing essays as part of your schoolwork, and will have acquired many important skills and much experience already. In addition, you should bear the following points in mind as you prepare your essays:
Read the ancient texts
Part of the purpose of an essay is to demonstrate you have read and understood the ancient material. Make sure you have read the sources thoroughly before you begin writing your essay.
Read modern scholarship
A bibliography is distributed for all lecture courses, which includes the best and most accessible work by modern scholars that is available in the library. Consulting the books and articles on this list will stimulate your thinking and help you form your own ideas about the ancient material. You should always credit the original author when you have based your ideas on those of another person: if you use other people’s ideas without showing your sources, you may be accused of plagiarism, which carries severe penalties under University regulations. See below.
Ask ‘Why?’ as well as ‘What’?
Don’t just write narrative essays which retell the story of the Odyssey or give a potted biography of Julius Caesar. Of course you should show that you know what has happened, and you are entitled to spend some time in your essays going over this type of detail. However, at university level you are also expected to ask why things happened, to analyse the causes and motivation behind events. A good essay will also ask, for example, why Homer tells the story of the Odyssey in a certain way, or why Julius Caesar behaved the way he did. As long as you keep reading the ancient material and thinking about what it means, you will not go far wrong.
For word-processed work, the following layout is recommended:
The purpose of this is twofold: (i) to conform to generally accepted standards of presentation, and (ii) to make your work easier to read and write comments upon.
- Paper: A4, single-sided only.
- Number each page sequentially.
- Font: 12 point Times New Roman (or any other easily readable font such as Arial or Helvetica).
- Line spacing: 1.5 or 2 line spacing.
- Quotations: Short quotations (no more than one or two sentences in length) may be included in the main body of text, enclosed within quotation marks. Longer quotations should be indented from the main text and should not be enclosed within quotation marks. These may be given in single line spacing.
- Notes: Either footnotes (at the bottom of each page) or endnotes (all notes given at the end of the text). These should be numbered consecutively, in Arabic numerals (1, 2, 3 etc.): they should not begin again at 1 on a new page.
- Margins: Leave a margin of at least 30mm at the left hand edge of your page. This gives your marker space to make comments.
- Remember to proofread your final version before you hand it in, and to check for errors in spelling and grammar. All good word processing programs have a spellchecker for this purpose – but remember that spellcheckers only check the correct spellings, and not whether you have used the appropriate word. Your tutor will be happy to help you in matters of layout and style.
Plagiarism: what it is and how to avoid it
The Student Code for UCD defines plagiarism under Section 6 (“Breaches of Discipline”) as follows:
Plagiarism…is the copying of another person's writings or works or ideas in any thesis, essay,…or other exercise which forms part of the requirements for an academic course, where such copying is either unauthorised by the copyright owner or unacknowledged in the thesis, essay, project, laboratory report or other exercise or both. This means that taking material, without acknowledgement, from any of the following sources counts as plagiarism:
- A published book
- A journal article
- An essay in a collection of published papers
- An internet site
- Another student’s essay
- Any other piece of work, whether written or oral, which is not the result of your own efforts.
The purpose of essay work at university level is to demonstrate proof of your own ability in and understanding of a subject area. Plagiarism, which attempts (intentionally or otherwise) to disguise other people’s work as your own, is therefore a very serious offence, whether intentional or accidental. Be sure to credit all sources scrupulously in order to avoid any risk of plagiarising. If you are in any doubt, consult your tutor, who will be happy to help. There are further guidelines on the Library website.
References and Bibliography
How to cite references and produce a bibliography:
There are many different standards in use for referring to ancient and modern sources. A suggested scheme is outlined below. It doesn’t particularly matter if you decide to adopt a different system: all that matters is that you should be clear and consistent.
i. Referring to ancient works
For ancient prose sources, you should give the author and title of the work in brackets, followed by as much information as possible to pinpoint the exact source of the quote – book, chapter, paragraph numbers et cetera. For example:
My work is not a piece of writing designed to meet the taste of an immediate public, but was done to last for ever. (Thucydides, The Peloponnesian War 1.23)
It is also acceptable to give the page number of the translation you are using, e.g.:
My work is not a piece of writing designed to meet the taste of an immediate public, but was done to last for ever. (Thucydides, The Peloponnesian War Book 1, p. 48)
For ancient verse sources, give the author and title in brackets, followed by the line reference (chapter and verse) of the poem, e.g.:
We should live, my Lesbia, and love,
And value all the talk of stricter
Old men at a single penny. (Catullus Poems 5.1-3)
Note that verse should be written as verse: it is not appropriate to lay out a passage of poetry as if it were prose. However, should you be using a prose translation of an ancient poet, it is appropriate to refer to it as if it were a prose source, e.g.:
I am Odysseus, Laertes’ son. The whole world talks of my stratagems, and my fame has reached the heavens. (Homer, Odyssey 9, p. 124)
You will need to indicate which translation you have used in your bibliography. For example, for the above quotations your bibliography should include the following entries (given in alphabetical order):
Catullus, The Poems of Catullus. Tr. Guy Lee. Oxford 1990.Homer, The Odyssey: A New Prose Translation. Tr. E.V. Rieu, revised D.C.H. Rieu. Harmondsworth 1991.Thucydides, History of the Peloponnesian War. Tr. M.I. Finley. Harmondsworth 1988.
ii. Referring to modern works
Every time you quote a modern author in your text, you should insert a footnote or follow the quotation with a reference to your source. Equally, whenever any of your ideas are derived from a secondary source, you should give a reference to that source in the text or in a footnote. Broadly speaking, there are two conventional styles for giving references:
(a) The Harvard style
Here, after you have referred to or quoted an author, you give the name of the author and the year in which (s)he published the text, followed by the page or pages from which your reference is drawn, and all enclosed in brackets. Two examples follow, both taken from Sir Ronald Syme’s The Roman Revolution (Oxford 1939):
Sir Ronald Syme argues that the rise to power of the first emperor Augustus “was the work of fraud and bloodshed, based upon the seizure of power and redistribution of property by a revolutionary leader” (Syme 1939: p. 2).
Syme argues that the government of the emperor Augustus was based not on Republican liberty but on a brutal despotism (Syme 1939: pp. 1-9).
You can find further details on the Harvard style in Gibaldi, MLA Handbook for Writers of Research Papers, New York 1999 (available in the library).
In this style, you follow the quotation or reference with a footnote (or endnote); and then, in the footnote or endnote, you give the name of the author, the year of publication (this should be in brackets), and the page number(s) to which you are referring. For the same examples:
Sir Ronald Syme argues that the rise to power of the first emperor Augustus “was the work of fraud and bloodshed, based upon the seizure of power and redistribution of property by a revolutionary leader.”1 Syme argues that the government of the emperor Augustus was based not on Republican liberty but on a brutal despotism.2
1 Syme (1939) 2.
2 Syme (1939) 1-9.
The Harvard style is more convenient if you are submitting handwritten work; either style is suitable for word-processed essays. Note that whichever style you choose, you do not need to give full details of the source either in the text or in the footnote. This is because you will give the full details in your bibliography at the end of your text. If you are in any doubt about referencing, please consult your tutor, who will be glad to help you.
iii. How to lay out a bibliography
Your bibliography should include every source you refer to in the text and footnotes. The information you include should be as follows:
Give the author, title (in italics), place and date of publication. The place and date of publication are usually given on the page following the title page. If the book is a translation of an ancient author, give the name of the translator as well.
Griffin, J., Homer: The Odyssey. Cambridge 1987. Syme, R., The Roman Revolution. Oxford 1939.Homer, The Odyssey: A New Prose Translation. Tr. E.V. Rieu, revised D.C.H. Rieu. Harmondsworth 1991.
For journal articles:
Give the author, title (in inverted commas), journal name (in italics or underlined), volume number, date (in brackets), and page numbers:
Hales, S. “At Home with Cicero.” Greece & Rome 47 (2000) 44-55.
For essays in a book of collected papers:
Give the author, the title (in inverted commas), then the editor(s) of the collection, the title of the book (in italics or underlined), the place and date of publication, and page numbers:
Cairns, Francis “Catullus in and about Bithynia” In D.Braund & C.Gill (eds.) Myth, History and Culture in Republican Rome. Exeter 2003.
For a website:
Give the author’s name, date of most recent update, title of page, URL, and date accessed (or as much of this information as is available), e.g.:
Galinsky, G.K. (1997) “The Speech of Pythagoras in Ovid’s Metamorphoses.” http://www.utexas.edu/depts/classics/faculty/Galinsky/pythag.html.Accessed 10/9/2003.
Your tutor will be happy to help you if you have any queries or difficulties with the appropriate style.
Source:The First Year Handbook (Martin Brady 2005)
Submission and Late Submission of Assessments
School Guidelines on Submission and Late Submission of Assessments (Updated July 2014)
‘Assessment’ is here defined as any individual assignment which is required in order to complete the module - including essay, take-home exam, or any other single piece of coursework - that is worth more than 20% of the total module grade.
Guidelines on Word Count:
Where a word count has been specified in the instructions for that assignment, the student must adhere to it when completing the assignment. For all assignments other than dissertations, this word count should be inclusive of the assignment’s Works Cited section. The School admits a margin of plus 10%, above the required word count, as acceptable. (For example, an essay which should be 2,000 words long can come in at 2,200 words without adversely affecting a student’s grade.) The School’s revised assessment cover sheet includes a box where the required word count of the essay must be entered by the student, and another box where the actual word count is entered by them.
Note: the guidelines which follow are relevant only to assignments which are submitted on time or up to two weeks late; for assignments which are or will be more than two weeks late owing to difficult circumstances, please read the document “School Guidelines on Applying for Extenuating Circumstances” (School of English, Drama and Film).
- All assignments must be submitted in hard copy and electronic format.
- A hard copy of the assignment in question (coursework / essay / take-home exam) must be submitted to the School of English, Drama and Film office by the deadlines which have been decided in the School for each module and advertised to students.
- An electronic copy also must be uploaded by the advertised deadline.
- Always keep a back-up copy of your assignment.
How to submit the hard copy of your assignment:
- All hard copies of assignments must have a signed cover-sheet attached to them, and the assignments must then be signed in to the School, as a record that this piece of work has been submitted.
- On your assessment cover sheet, you must enter the module co-ordinator’s name. For Level 1 and 2 modules, you must also include your tutor’s name: please ensure you have your tutor’s name to hand before coming to the School to submit the hard copy of your assignment.
- The School will accept hard copies of assignments submitted by post, only where a certificate of postage, postmarked by the assessment deadline, is presented to the module co-ordinator as soon as possible after that deadline, and by the end of the current semester’s examination period at the latest. A signed cover sheet (if not already included) should also be presented on that later occasion. Assignments submitted by post should clearly indicate on the title page, which module, module coordinator and tutor they are for, and should be addressed to The Administrator, Room J206, School of English, Drama and Film, University College Dublin, Belfield, Dublin 4. Remember: a signed hard copy as well as an electronic copy (where required) must be submitted on time (see below).
How to submit your assignment electronically:
- For all modules which use Safe Assign (that is, most modules offered in this School), you are required to submit an electronic copy of your assignment by the advertised deadline.
- Follow the instructions available on the Blackboard site of each module (usually under the Assignments tab), which tell you how to upload your assignment: assignments are uploaded through Blackboard.
- The School retains the right to enter a No Grade (NG) result for assignments when the electronic copy has not been uploaded, even where the hard copy has been submitted to the School on time.
- The electronic copy does not substitute for the signed hard copy of the assignment. The School reserves the right to enter an NG where the electronic copy has been uploaded, but the hard copy has not been submitted to the School office.
- See the School’s ‘Policy on Penalties for Incomplete Submission – Information for Students’ for further details.
Penalties for late submission:
Following the procedures approved by the Academic Council in October 2005, the penalties for late submission of hard copies of assignments are as follows:
• 1 week late (from Day 1 after submission deadline, up to and to including Day 7, i.e, if an essay is submitted on a Tuesday, the week late should include the following Tuesday):
Penalty: Minus 2 grades: A+ → A-
• 2 weeks late (from Day 8 up to and to including Day 14)
Penalty: Minus 4 grades: A+ → B
• Assignments which are more than two weeks late cannot be graded unless Extenuating Circumstances have been approved by the BA Programme Board. For more information on the process of applying for Extenuating Circumstances in this situation, see the document “School Guidelines on Applying for Extenuating Circumstances (School of English, Drama and Film)” and UCD’s Student Guide to Extenuating Circumstances.
• Note: late submission is not permitted for take-home examinations (other than in situations of proven mitigating circumstances; you should contact your module co-ordinator immediately, normally by email, if you find yourself in such a situation).
Applications for Extension of the Assessment Deadline (Late Submission of Assessments within a two week period after the original deadline): apply to the module co-ordinator
- If your assignment will be or is already late due to illness, bereavement, personal difficulties or other circumstances outside your control (including ongoing circumstances), and the present date is either before the original deadline or still within the two-week period after that deadline, you should contact the module coordinator immediately to inform them of your situation and to apply for an extended assessment deadline.
- Applications for Extensions of the Assessment Deadline for individual modules can be made only to the module co-ordinator; a separate application must be made for each module concerned. These late submission applications, whereby the student seeks an extended deadline, can be made only up to a cut-off point of two weeks after the original deadline. The assignment in question must also have been submitted by this two-weeks post-deadline cut-off point. (Note: at the end of Semester One, this cut-off point of two weeks after the deadline may be brought forward to an earlier date, depending on how long a period is available between the original deadline and the date when UCD’s Belfield campus closes for Christmas. Where this curtailment of the two week window for extensions is necessary, the cut-off date for these extensions is set as the day before UCD closes).
- Students in genuine difficulty, whose assignments are or will be late after this window for assessment extensions, should apply for Extenuating Circumstances either to the BA Programme Board (see the document ‘Guidelines on Applying for Extenuating Circumstances (School of English, Drama and Film)’ for detailed information).
- Reasons not likely to be accepted as a basis for an assessment extension include: multiple assignments due in a short time; external work or voluntary service commitments; problems with your computer or other IT difficulties; leaving Dublin / the country; sporting or other recreational activities; minor (i.e., undocumented) illnesses; mis-reading or missing assessment information (including information on requirements for take-home examinations); weddings/debs/social events; election/campaigning commitments. Note: these examples are not definitive, and are intended only as a guide.
- You will normally be asked to provide evidence of the reason for your request for an extended deadline. Such evidence might include a medical certificate from a registered doctor or health professional, or a letter from a registered counsellor, a member of the Garda Síochana, or a UCD Student Support Professional (such as a Student Advisor, counsellor, chaplain or member of the UCD Access Centre or Disability Support Service). Normally, an original copy of this evidence must be seen in person by the module co-ordinator during his/her office hours, or at another appointed time. That original copy of the supporting evidence should be retained by the student after this meeting with the co-ordinator (as it may be required later by other co-ordinators, the School’s Assessment Officer, or the BA Programme Board); therefore, at this meeting to request an extension, the student should also provide photocopies of this evidence to be kept by the co-ordinator. Simply stapling such evidence to an essay, scanning the evidence as an email attachment, or sending the evidence to the module co-ordinator without a meeting will not suffice; nor will putting the evidence under the co-ordinator’s office door or into his/ her postbox. All assessment extensions must be formally applied for and granted (see below).
- You should complete an Application Form for Late Submission of Assessments, available in hard copy outside the School Office or on-line at www.ucd.ie/registry/academicsecretariat/late_sub.pdf. Bring this form, along with your supporting evidence, to the module co-ordinator, either at his or her office hours or by appointment. The module co-ordinator will decide if an extension can be granted and for how long within the allowable two-week period after the original deadline. The module co-crdinator also signs the form, in order to confirm whether the extension has or has not been granted.
- You must attach this completed Application Form for Late Submission of Assessments to the front cover of your assignment, when you submit your assignment by the agreed new deadline within the two-week period after the original date of submission.
- Extensions must be applied for in person, usually before the deadline. However, in certain limited circumstances, the module co-ordinator may decide to give permission for an extension of the assessment deadline by email or telephone (note: if by telephone, you must speak to the module co-ordinator in person: a voice message from you will not suffice). Extensions by telephone should be confirmed through a follow-up meeting with or email from the co-ordinator: students are advised to email the co-ordinator requesting this confirmation. Extensions by email or telephone are normally conditional upon supporting evidence (see above), along with a completed Application Form for Late Submission of Assessments, being provided to the module co-ordinator at an agreed later date before the new deadline. Alternatively, with the permission of the module co-ordinator, a photocopy of that evidence and a completed application form may be attached to the assessment cover sheet when the assignment is submitted. In this latter situation - where an extension is agreed by email or telephone but there is no opportunity to personally see the module co-ordinator before the date of the new deadline in order to have the form signed - you should print out a copy of the email from the module co-ordinator confirming the extension, and attach it to your assessment cover sheet, along with the copy of the supporting evidence and the completed application form, when you submit the assignment to the School Office. In this case you must show the original copy of your supporting evidence to the module co-ordinator as soon as possible.
- Do not forget to upload the electronic copy of your assessment (where applicable), also by this new deadline.
- All consultations with a module co-ordinator (as with any application for extension/consideration) will be held in confidence. Remember: if your assessment will be or is already more than two weeks late owing to circumstances outside your control, and /or your work during the semester has been affected by these circumstances, you should apply for Extenuating Circumstances. You can apply for Extenuating Circumstances through the Arts, Celtic Studies and Human Sciences Programme Office, For detailed advice on applying for Extenuating Circumstances, see “School Guidelines on Applying for Extenuating Circumstances” (School of English, Drama and Film); for a Student Guide to UCD’s Extenuating Circumstances policy, see www.ucd.ie/registry/academicsecretariat/pol.htm and scroll down to “E” for Extenuating Circumstances.
Note: these School guidelines are subject to revision in exceptional circumstances