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You are hereUNIL > Department of English > BA > BA 2005 > 2005 BA: Second Year

Second year BA studies in English (2005)

| The second-year programme | BA second year autumn semester | BA second year spring semester | Summary of the second-year BA programme | Essays | Plagiarism | Epreuves

Congratulations on surviving your first year!

Here is your guide to the second year. Please read it carefully and refer to it regularly. It is updated whenever necessary.

The second-year programme

In your second year you have fewer classroom hours than in the first. To gain your credits you must attend one group of each of the courses listed on the next two pages. (N.B. For the medieval language and literature, you must follow the one-hour course and one of the one-hour accompanying workshops in the autumn semester.)

Assessment and validation

Each course is assessed and validated in a different way. Your teachers will inform you of how you should proceed to satisfy their requirements, and as you complete them, they will enter the information into the Faculty computer. You can view your academic record through my.unil.

A Faculty exam

At the end of the year, you have to take a two-hour épreuve in a field of your choice: medieval literature, English linguistics, or modern literature based on the explication de textes seminars from either the autumn or spring semester.


BA second year autumn semester


Exploration: Medieval English (IMLL2) 2h/week

Choose from one of the four offered seminars. Please note that Exploration (formerly named IMLL2) is offers 3 seminars in the Autumn and 1 in the Spring but that you may freely choose which one to attend.


Introduction to Diachronic Linguistics (IDL) 2h/week

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


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

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


Explication de textes (ET) 2h/week

Join at least one group and remain with it throughout the semester.

Follow the link below to sign up for the seminar(s) of your choice.

BA second year spring semester


Synchronic Linguistics (SL) 2h/week

Join one group and remain with it throughout the semester.
Please click here to read the requirements for seminars in English linguistics.


Lecture course 2h/week

Introduction to English poetry

You must demonstrate familiarity with the content of this course in both your explication seminar and at the written explication épreuve.


Explication de textes (ET) 2h/week

Join at least one group and stay with it for the semester. The choice of ET group is free.

Summary of the second-year BA programme

Autumn Spring Requirements Validation Credits
IMLL21,2   translation, commentary, essay mid-term evaluation and essay 5
IDL   active attendance test 5
  SL2 essay and oral contribution based on the work presented  
ET2   essay based on the work presented 5
ELS23   active attendance test  
  ET2 essay or oral presentation based on the work presented 5
  Lecture3 active attentance in the explication seminars  
  1. IMLL2 is offered in the autumn only. Class size for seminars will be limited to 30.
  2. At the end of the year you take a 2-hour épreuve in one of these fields.
  3. If you take the explication de textes as an épreuve, you will have to demonstrate familiarity with these courses at the épreuve.



Different literature seminars will have different requirements - some teachers will require you to write an essay in order to pass the course, and others may give you a choice between an oral presentation and an essay. You should make sure that over the year you have written at least one essay in the context of modern English literature or American literature (depending on the seminars you choose, you may well write more than one essay).

You will also be required to write a group essay in your English linguistics seminar.

Please keep your completed essay(s) carefully: you may be asked to demonstrate that you have fulfilled the requirements.

In your essays, we expect you to apply everything that you were taught about essay-writing in your first year. There is a new edition (the 4th) of EDGE, our guide to essay-writing. You can obtain a copy through any teacher in the section (price 2CHF) or download it (in pdf) here. Second-year essays are expected to be 5-to-10 pages long, and third-year essays 8-to-12 pages.

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 make long quotations from critics. 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.



Remember, 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 this second year, you will take a 2-hour written épreuve in a field of your choice:

  • medieval English literature, or
  • an explication de textes from a work studied in an explication seminar that you have attended; or
  • English linguistics.

To obtain your BA at the end of your third year you need to take three more épreuves (one 4-hour written paper and two orals) in at least two more fields of your choice among medieval literature, modern English literature, American literature, or English linguistics. In all, your four exams must have covered at least three of these fields.

In all fields, the exam will be based on the work you have done in a second-year seminar, reinforced by the lecture course(s) you have taken. You will also be examined on the independent reading you have done - in medieval and modern English this reading is known as the Reading list, and in Linguistics as the dossier linguistique.

For detailed information on the different exams, follow this link: Exam procedures

Registering for épreuves

For all épreuves, you register on the Faculty website. 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)

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).



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.


Your personal electronic doorway to University courses and administration is MyUnil. In addition to listing your incoming email messages and linking to other parts of the UNIL site, it provides a window into your academic record.
When you have subscribed to a course you will see it listed on your personal MyUnil page along with a smaller window (called a 'portlet') containing 'documents de cours' which you can download and print out. These are generally course handouts (distributed in class) - but some teachers use this means to supply additional information (bibliographies, reference documents, etc.).

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 International 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 and Kirsten Stirling (for Britain) or Prof. Soltysik (for the USA). There are also information sessions during the winter semester.


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