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English as discipline complémentaire BA (2005)

| The DC programme in English | First year DC | Second year DC | DC - 2e partie (in MA) | Essays | Plagiarism | Epreuves

Welcome to English as a discipline complémentaire (called 'DC English' in this document)! Here is your guide to the programme. Please read it carefully, and refer to it regularly.

This document assumes that you are new to the English section. If by any chance you did English as a discipline de base in your first year, click here.

If you are an SSP student taking English as your "mineure", then you do NOT follow the Discipline complémentaire program. You will do the full Discipline de base program in English - click here for full details of the first year program.

The standards of the English section are high: to follow the courses and produce the required written work, you should already have reached upper intermediate level (B2 on the Council of Europe common reference scale). As your English is likely to have become somewhat rusty over the past year, we suggest that you take the Quick Placement Test in the language lab, along with the first-year students, during the first week of the semester. This will give you an idea of where you are starting from. Your target should be advanced competence in written and oral English. Remember, whenever we assess your work, we take account of the quality of your English.

The DC programme in English

In the English section, the courses that you have to take are all divided into groups (sometimes as many as seven of them) which meet at different times in the week. To gain your credits you must attend one group of each course. You can choose which group to join, as a function of your personal timetable.


First year DC

In your first year of DC English, you should follow



English Composition (EC) 2h/week

Practice in the basics of planning, writing and revising academic essays.

Textbook: The English Department Guide to Essay-writing (EDGE)

Join one group and stay with it for the semester. In the spring semester, you can remain in the same group or change to another, as you wish.



Introduction to Literary Analysis (ILA) 2h/week

Textbooks: The Norton Anthology of English Literature (8th ed., 2006);

            The Norton Anthology of American Literature (6th ed., 2002).

Join one group and stay with it for the semester. In the spring semester, you can remain in the same group or change to another, as you wish.


English Literature Survey (ELS) 1h/week

Covers the history of English literature, society and culture.

• Autumn Semester: origins to 1485
• Spring Semester: 1485 to the death of Shakespeare

Textbook: The Norton Anthology of English Literature, Vol. 1 (8th ed., 2006)


The first-year of the DC programme

During your second year of study in the Faculty

Autumn Spring Requirements Validation Credits
EC 1 EC 2 essays, literary analyses based on the work presented } 10
ILA 1   active attendance, essay continuous + essay } 10
  ILA 2 oral presentation; essay based on the work presented }
ELS ELS active attendance test each semester }

Second year DC

In your second year of DC English, follow



Introduction to English Language and Linguistics (IELL)

2 parts:

  • Course : IELL (1h / week)
  • Workshop : IELL (1h every two weeks; choose one of the four groups offered in the timetable)

Textbook: Ralph W. Fasould amd Jeffrey Connor-Linton, Introduction to Language and Linguistics (Cambridge University Press, 2006).

Both parts need to be attended.

The Introduction à la linguistique générale lecture given by the linguistics section is not required for students doing English, but you are encouraged to attend it as a complement to IELL. You may in any case have to follow it for another section. For those that follow it, there is a test at the end of the summer semester.

IELL on timetable page



English Literature Survey: introduction to modern literature (ELS2) 2h/week (autumn)

Textbook: The Norton Anthology of English Literature, Vol. 2 (8th ed., 2006)


Introduction to English poetry 2h/week (spring)


Explication de textes (ET) 2h/ week (autumn and spring)

Join one group per semester and stay with it all semester


Autumn 2009
• The Fiction of Michelle Cliff
• Toni Morrison
• Jackie Kay: Trumpet
• Henry Green
• Claude McKay and the Harlem Renaissance
• The Eighteenth-Century novel

See timetable page for times of classes



Introduction to Medieval Language and Literature 1 (IMLL1) 2h/week

Textbook: Richard Marsden, The Cambridge Old English Reader(Cambridge University Press, 2004)

Follow this course and one of the associated workshops (timetable below)

IMLL1 on timetable page (spring only)

The second year of DC English

Autumn Spring Requirements Validation Credits
IELL (lecture and workshop)   active attendance 2 hour test } 5
  IELL (lecture and workshop) active attendance 2 hour test }
ELS 2   active attendance test } 10
ET ET an essay or an oral presentation each semester essay or oral presentation plus exam2 }
  Lecture active attendance in the ET seminars }
  IMLL 1 translation & commentary end of semester test 5

1. In addition to the two IELL tests (worth 5 credits), you have to take a 2-hour written exam in IELL and

2. an oral exam on an ET subject at the end of the spring semester, at which you must also demonstrate familiarity with the ELS and lecture courses.



DC - 2e partie (in MA)

You can either end your study of DC English after two years, with a total of 40 credits, or you can carry on as below for another year, making it part of the Master's programme, adding a further 30 credits.

If you choose to extend your DC, for your third year of DC English you will follow



Introduction to Diachronic Linguistics (IDL) 2h/week (autumn)

Textbook: Herbert Schendl, Historical Linguistics (Oxford University Press, 2001)


Synchronic Linguistics (SL) 2h/week (spring)

Join one group and remain with it throughout the semester.

    Detailed programme to be announced

IDL timetable Spring Semester



Introduction to Medieval Language and Literature II (IMLL2) 2h/week (autumn)

Textbook: J. A. Burrow and Thorlac Turville-Petre, A Book of Middle English, 3rd edition (Oxford: Blackwell, 2004)



Seminars and/or courses in at least two of the four fields of linguistics, medieval, English or American literature to a total of 20 credits.

You also have to take a Faculty exam (épreuve) at the end of the year in one of the four fields.

Timetable for all DC II classes, Autumn Semester

Autumn Spring Requirements Validation Credits
IDL   active attendance test } 5
  SL essay or oral presentation based on the work presented }
IMLL2   essay1 or oral presentation based on the work presented 5
Seminars... ...and courses essay1 or oral presentation + active attendance2 20

1. You have to write at least one essay (plus a group essay in SL) in the course of the year.

2.You must take a 4-hour written exam in a field of your choice from among English linguistics, medieval, English or American literature.



The English section lays much emphasis on the writing of essays. The skill is practised on set topics throughout the first year in EC. In ILA you have a little more choice since you write on the literary texts studied in your group. During your second year, you must complete another essay in the context of each of the explication de textes seminars that you attend, plus a group essay in English linguistics.

Paper copies of 'The English Department Guide to Essay-writing' (EDGE) will be sold in the EC class (price 2 CHF); it can also be downloaded (in pdf) from the section's website. You should consult it at every stage of the writing process throughout your time in the English section. The remarks that follow address a few of the basic principles - see EDGE for more details.


Essays must be typed. It is to your advantage to use a computer for writing; it makes revision so easy. Follow EDGE for questions of layout and form (quotations, references, bibliography, etc.).

First-year essays may be only 2-6 pages long; second-year essays are expected to be 5-to-10 pages, and third-year essays 8-to-12 pages.


Writing is a medium for thinking creatively, not just for committing ideas to paper. Draft an outline before you start, formulating your ideas and establishing the connections between the steps of your argument. To achieve a structured essay, study chapter 2 of EDGE and be prepared to rewrite whole paragraphs as your ideas develop. Discard anything that is not relevant to your topic.

Writing an essay is an opportunity to develop your critical vocabulary, using the terms you have encountered in literature courses. Pay close attention to the words you write; check them frequently in an English-English dictionary. Beware of literary terms (like tragic and dramatic) that are used very loosely in everyday speech. When you know what a myth is, would you try to go to une salle de concert mythique?

Working with staff

Consult with your teacher about your choice of text(s), focus and topic before you start to write. You will find it helpful to discuss them with him or her both during and after writing.

An unsatisfactory essay must be rewritten. It is normal to rethink, revise, and rewrite; the process of rewriting is an important learning experience.

Identifying sources

Identify all information or ideas that you borrow. Use your own words whenever possible, rather than long quotations. At the end of your essay, append a bibliography listing your primary text(s) and all the articles and books you read or consulted (secondary sources) while preparing and writing your essay.


Every essay must be written while you are following the module it arises from. To gain the associated credit, it must be acceptable and accepted before the course ends. Teachers will specify the deadline for handing in essays in each course, allowing themselves time to read the work and you the time to revise it (if required). Generally speaking, the deadline will be at least one month before the end of the semester. (Individual teachers may shift this deadline as a function of their availability.)


Write your name, address, and email address at the top of the first page of your essay, and clearly identify the module that it relates to.

If for any reason you need to have your work returned to you by post, provide a suitably large, stamped, self-addressed envelope when you hand your essay in.



In courses and seminars, we are continually engaging with other people's ideas; we read them (in books, magazines, encyclopedias, and journals, on-line or otherwise), hear them in lectures, discuss them in class, and incorporate them in our own thinking. As a result, it is very important to give credit where it is due.

When you quote, translate or paraphrase, give the page number(s) of the original text; if you merely use a critic's general ideas, indicate chapters or sections. Unacknowledged use of someone else's ideas or phrasing and representing those ideas or phrasing as our own, either on purpose or through carelessness, is plagiarism - intellectual dishonesty - for which the penalties are severe (see below).

EDGE provides you with strategies for avoiding plagiarism. If you have any questions about the concept of plagiarism or methods of proper documentation, request assistance from your teacher.

The penalties for plagiarism

The penalty for plagiarism involves failure for the essay and the corresponding module, which may threaten the completion of your studies. A student committing plagiarism will be required to write a replacement essay on another subject and thus take another module. In the event of a second offence, the student may be excluded from the section and even, depending on the gravity of the case, from the Faculty. Ignorance of the rules about plagiarism is no excuse, and carelessness is just as bad as purposeful violation.


The section on plagiarism was adapted from http://webster.commnet.edu/mla/plagiarism.shtml and http://www.indiana.edu/~wts/pamphlets/plagiarism.shtml, both last accessed 18 July 2007.



At the end of your second year, you have a 2-hour written épreuve in IELL and an oral explication de textes.

For the oral, you must read texts from three different groups on the Reading List. During the oral you will be asked to relate this reading to the text you are being examined on and to demonstrate that you have attended the required lecture course.

For the oral explication you will be supplied with an English-English dictionary. In addition, you may bring your own copy of the seminar text you have prepared. It may be clean or lightly annotated, meaning that it may contain the annotations you made in class and during your study of the text, including, for example:

  • glosses for words you have looked up in a dictionary;
  • markings to highlight significant words or passages;
  • cross-references to relevant page numbers, and flags (e.g. mini Postits) for these pages.

On the other hand, your text must not contain any pre-written sentences or paragraphs, either of your own composition or taken from critics, or a plan for an explication de textes.

You must bring no other text or paper into the room where you prepare for the oral.

Registering for épreuves

For all épreuves, you register on the Faculty web site. In cases where more than one member of staff teaches a course, please tick the name of the one teacher whose course you specifically attended, on which you wish to be examined.

Print out the registration form that is produced and give a copy of it to the teacher concerned. You can modify or cancel your registration at any time up to the registration date. (The relevant dates are displayed on noticeboards as well as on the Faculty website). If one of your exams is in English linguistics, a dossier linguistique must be submitted when you register. Note: after registration closes, the dossier cannot be changed!

Once the deadline has passed, your registration for the épreuve becomes definitive; you cannot withdraw without penalty. If you do not attend, you will be considered to have failed (unless you produce evidence, such as a medical certificate, to justify your absence or withdrawal).

The 3rd year

To obtain your credits for DC English at the end of your third year, you need to take a 4-hour written paper in a field of your choice among medieval literature, modern English literature, American literature, or English linguistics.


Important disclaimer

All information in this document, which reflects our understanding of the Faculty rules at the moment of writing, is offered on a 'best intentions' basis. Only documents issued by the administration of the Faculty of Letters can be considered as 'official'.

Questions or problems

Questions concerning Faculty administration can be put to the secretary of the section, Eva Suarato Adams (office 5087).

Problems which cannot otherwise be dealt with should be adressed to the president of the section, MER Kirsten Stirling (office 5065), preferably during her reception hour. 

Need help with essays?


Occasionally, you will need a dictionary that translates to and from English into your native language. As a rule, use the largest and most recent edition you can lay hands on.

Sometimes you will need a dictionary specially written to help non-native speakers of English: the best of these is the Collins cobuild English Dictionary for Advanced Learners (available with a CD). Do not use the old Oxford Advanced Learner's dictionary: it is too elementary for studies at Lausanne.

Most often you will need a medium-sized English dictionary like the Concise Oxford, the Collins English Dictionary, or the Oxford Dictionary of English. New ones of this type are combined with a CD for use on your computer. Do not use mini-dictionaries for academic work; they are made to go in your pocket while travelling.

Among medium-sized American dictionaries, avoid the ones with 'college' or 'collegiate' in the title: they are usually expurgated.

For explication de textes, particularly of pre-twentieth century au­thors, you will need a historical dictionary like the Shorter Oxford or of course the full Oxford English Dictionary.There is a paper copy of this in the coeur de section and you can consult it from any computer on the Unil intranet by typing www.oed.com into the browser.

The nearest American equivalent to the OED is Webster's 3rd New International dictionary.

Study Abroad

 It is very important that you should spend time in English-speaking countries as a means of developing your proficiency in the language and gaining first-hand experience of English-speaking culture.

Summer schools

Universities in Britain and the United States provide a wide choice of summer courses - ideal for the holidays after your first year of study. Scholarships (restricted to Vaudois students, unfortunately) are available for language courses abroad. (If you are not Vaudois(e), check with the authorities in your home canton: they may have similar scholarships!)


The best time to spend a semester or an entire year in a British or American university is during your 3rd year (BA) or 4th year (MA). For Britain there is the Erasmus programme; for the United States, the Inter national Student Exchange Program (ISEP), etc. To participate in these, you will need to start planning 18 months ahead. Read the information about study abroad on the section website, and notices in the coeur de section before consulting Juliette Vuille or Kirsten Stirling (for Britain) or Prof. Soltysik (for the USA). There are also information sessions during the winter semester.


Offices #5065-70 - Anthropole - CH-1015 Lausanne  -  Tel. +41 21 692 29 13  -  Fax +41 21 692 29 35
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