Exams and regulations

1) Language Policy

English is the language of communication in our Institute. As such, students are expected to use English in class as well as at all events and extra-curricular activities that we sponsor. Furthermore, we urge students to speak English as often as possible outside of the University.

2) Course Attendance

Once enrolled in a course, students are expected to attend regularly. Academic freedom ('liberté academique') means that you are free to choose the seminars of your liking; it does not mean that you are free to miss a seminar repeatedly once you have decided to enrol in it. We encourage you to "browse" during the first week of the semester, but regular attendance is expected as of week three. Students with more than three unexcused absences will not receive an attestation or ECTS credit for the course. If you are unable to attend a session, let your teacher know in advance by e-mail or phone. Auditors (i.e. students not taking the course for an attestation or credit) should ask their teacher what requirements apply to them.

This regulation is meant to encourage a professional attitude towards your studies: we would like you to consider your class as a weekly appointment with your teacher and fellow students, and, as in professional life, appointments need to be either kept or cancelled. Also, the course's overall quality depends upon students' regular attendance. The learning process is cumulative, and only students who attend regularly can fully profit from and contribute to the course.

3) Course Preparation and Participation

The quality of a course depends likewise on students' preparation and involvement. You are also expected to do the required reading for all the courses you attend and to participate actively in class. Again, auditors (i.e. students not taking the course for an attestation) should ask their teacher what requirements apply to them.

4) Oral Presentations

Generally, we ask for an oral presentation from every student in every seminar, although there may be some variety depending on the nature of the seminar, the number of students attending, and whether or not you are taking the course for an attestation or credit. An oral presentation, like essays, needs to be original work, and plagiarism will not be tolerated (see next item). Oral presentations require substantial preparation, need to be clearly structured, and should be delivered in fluent and coherent English. You should have good notes to help you during your oral presentation, but you must never simply read out a written text.

5) Plagiarism and related forms of academic misconduct 

a) What is plagiarism?
Plagiarism is defined as "the taking of others' thoughts or words without due acknowledgement."* This definition applies to electronic as well as print sources and unpublished sources. For the purposes of this document, 'plagiarism' will also refer to (i) the copying of other students' answers in examinations and (ii) the practice of working together in homework assignments which were meant to be done individually. Furthermore, even if plagiarism is unintentional, it will be considered as a serious violation of Institute and University regulations.

*Frederick Crews, The Random House Handbook, 3rd ed. (New York: Random House, 1980), 405.

b) Why is it wrong?
Plagiarism is dishonest because it misrepresents the words and ideas of another as your own. By committing plagiarism, you cheat your source, the instructor, other students and, above all, yourself. Plagiarism is morally wrong, violates academic conduct and is illegal under copyright law.

c) What is the Institute policy on plagiarism?
First-year students who plagiarise will be required to take a written test. This will replace the essay or homework assignment in which they have plagiarised, which will not receive a mark. All students after the first year who commit any form of plagiarism will automatically receive a fail. More severe sanctions at the level of the faculty and rectorat will be applied to students who are caught more than once.
Instructors who suspect a student of plagiarism will consult a second institute staff member before convoking the student. All incidents of plagiarism will be reported to the Institute director who may ask to see the students concerned.

d) What should  I do if I feel I was unfairly accused of plagiarism?
Students who believe that they have been unfairly accused should appeal the decision. They can address their grievance either to the Institute director, to another member of the staff or to a member of the dean's office. Please note that, since all institute students have been repeatedly informed about the plagiarism policy, lack of knowledge of what constitutes plagiarism will not be considered a sufficient excuse.

e) How do I avoid plagiarism?
When writing a paper or presentation, focus on your own words and ideas. When you use secondary sources, learn the proper methods of punctuation and citation. See the links at www.unine.ch/anglais/page8064.html for descriptions of these methods (which differ for linguistics and literature). Always acknowledge any outside help. Whenever you are in doubt, choose the most cautious option, or ask your instructor for help. If you still do not understand what constitutes plagiarism, ask your instructor to give you examples.

6) Essay Revisions, Grading and Deadlines

Academic writing and what you learn from it has as much to do with process as with the final product, so there is nothing wrong with having to revise an essay. Depending on the course, students in the Bachelor programme may be asked to revise their essay, but all essays in the BA programme will be marked. For more information on what is expected of student papers, please consult the PdF form, "General characteristics by grade of student papers in English."   

7) Stylesheet

As of Winter Semester 04-05, all students should follow the Institute Stylesheet for all written work.