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More in this section Information for current students


The undergraduate programme is assessed in a number of different ways. There are two main types of assessment

  • formative assessment, which seeks to evaluate coursework and to encourage your further development at the same time; and
  • summative assessment, which provides a formal and official grade for the purpose of your final degree result.

Formative assessment

Formative assessment takes place mainly through the marking of essays. In your essay work you are expected to demonstrate in an integrative fashion all the skills which you are being taught. You will find, however, that certain courses emphasise particular skills. Some, for example, require you to show profound and accurate understanding of the perspectives of cultures and times very different from your own; others will require you to analyse and evaluate primary source material; while on others again the use of information technology to answer questions about historical data is accorded particular significance. Most courses will require you to learn a range of skills as set out in their course programmes..

All formative essays must be of a passable standard, otherwise you will not have fulfilled the requirements of the course and a recommendation will be made to the sub-Board of examiners that you are awarded the mark of Incomplete for the course.

Tutors are committed to mark and to return written work (which is submitted on time and as part of formative assessment) within three weeks where possible. If an essay has not been returned then you should remind the tutor. Essays are returned in class. They are not returned through the Departmental Office.

In the course of each academic year you will receive reports on your progress. Written feedback is provided on your essays and at the end of the academic year you will receive a report for each of your courses. This will evaluate your progress overall and assess your development in a variety of skills, e.g. quality of written work, oral contributions, time management. This final report should be collected from your Personal Adviser at the end of the Summer Term. 

Summative assessment

Summative assessment is provided in two ways: by written examinations at the end of each academic year in each of the courses you are taking, and by oral presentations on some of your courses. Some first year courses are examined by a combination of both coursework and examination. First-year marks do not contribute towards the final degree, nonetheless, you need to pass three out of four units to progress to year two.

Written examinations afford you the opportunity to show not only your knowledge and understanding but also such life-skills as the ability to express yourself in clear, well-informed prose under pressure.

You are advised that work submitted for summative assessment must be handed in by the submission deadline. In the case of any difficulty the Departmental Administrator should be contacted. Any assessed essay/dissertation that is handed in after the given deadline unless there are extenuating circumstances, (e.g. of a medical nature, which must be documented, normally in advance of the submission deadline), will be penalised as follows:

  • for work submitted up to 24 hours late, the mark will be reduced by ten percentage marks, subject to a minimum mark of a minimum Pass;
  • for work submitted more than 24 hours late, the maximum mark will be zero.

In the case of extenuating circumstances the penalty will not apply provided the work is submitted by the agreed date.

Assessing and grading your work

Dissertation assessment and grading (PDF)

Essay assessment and grading (PDF)

Examination assessment and grading (PDF)

Undergraduate Essay Cover Sheet (PDF)

Guidelines for submission

The deadlines for submission of assessed work are given on the relevant webpage, in course handbooks and posted on departmental noticeboards. Students are expected to observe the relevant deadlines. In case of any difficulty the Departmental Administrator must be contacted. You are reminded that for essays written in a candidate's own time, the work submitted by the candidate must be his own and any quotation from the published or unpublished work of other persons must be duly acknowledged; failure to observe this requirement will constitute an examination offence. In the light of this requirement, any candidate deemed by the examiners to be guilty of plagiarism will be held liable to penalties incurred by cheating.

Preparation for written work

Providing proper citations for written work is a key skill for historians. Part of this skill is learning to follow a standard style for citations. The History Department follows the Chicago Manual of Style, 15th Edition note and bibliography style for citations for written work by students. A summary guide to this style may be found at the Chicago Manual of Style's Style Citation Quick Guide webpage. Further information on how to handle primary sources in this style is available here.

Please keep in mind that we are using the "note and bibliography" style rather than the "in-text citation and reference-list" style, so when consulting this Style Citation Quick Guide webpage, pay attention to the items labelled "N" and "B" and ignore those labelled "T" and "R". For a fuller explanation of the style and guidance on citing any materials not covered on the webpage, consult the hard copy of the Chicago Manual of Style, 15th Ed. in Bedford Library's reference section. 

Submission of assessed work

All essays must be submitted in paper copy and electronically through Turnitin (via Moodle). The paper copy must be submitted with the correctly completed coversheet on the front of the assignment. This is posted in the box outside the Departmental Administrator’s Office (McCrea 318) by the stipulated deadline.

NOTE: The submission is not complete unless the receipt for electronic submission is attached.

Cover sheets are found on the table outside the Departmental Administrator’s Office (McCrea 318). Please use the correct cover sheet and complete the relevant sections.

Number of copies to be submitted:

  • ONE copy of assessed work for Foundation and Gateway courses.
  • TWO copies of Year 2 Independent essays (HS2300), Finalist Link essays, and Group 3 dissertations.
  • For ALL Gateway courses, Independent essays, Link essays and Group 3 dissertations do not include your name. You should put your candidate number in a header but make sure that you have not included your name.

    You should include a front page giving the following information:

    • the title of the essay/dissertation;
    • the student's candidate number;
    • the name of the supervisor or class tutor;
    • the code number of the course.

    For Foundation courses ONLY you should put your name in a header. Your candidate number must not be included. Foundation coursework is returned at a pre-arranged time.

    You should include a front page giving the following information:

  • the title of the essay;
  • the assignment number (if applicable);
  • the student's name;
  • the code number of the course.
  • All essays must be word-processed.
  • Group 3 dissertations should be bound using a spiral binding on the side. All other assessed work should be securely stapled (it is not necessary to bind them). Do not put your essay in a plastic wallet or file.
  • Each essay must carry at the end a full word-count: to include text and footnotes, but not bibliography. Students are warned that any essay which varies by more than 10% from the length specified by the department will normally be penalised by a deduction of ten percentage marks from the mark awarded.
  • Students who fail to meet necessary standards of footnoting and referencing in their Group 3 dissertations, Finalist Link essays and Year 2 Independent essays will be penalised by the deduction of ten percentage marks.

The electronic and printed version of the assessed work must both be submitted by the given deadline. Any assessed work that is handed in after the given deadline, unless there are extenuating circumstances (e.g. of a medical nature, which must be documented, normally in advance of the submission deadline), will be penalised as follows:

  • for work submitted up to 24 hours late, the mark will be reduced by ten percentage marks, subject to a minimum mark of a minimum Pass;
  • for work submitted more than 24 hours late, the maximum mark will be zero.

In the case of extenuating circumstances the penalty will not apply provided the work is submitted by the agreed date.

Students are strongly advised to keep a copy of their assessed work for themselves. Assessed work submitted for Foundation courses is returned to students. Assessed essays and dissertations submitted for other courses cannot be returned to students after assessment because, by Registry rules, they constitute ‘examination material’.

Note that it takes time to complete the whole submission process. Start the process early. Do NOT leave it until the last moment.



The statement 'I confirm that I have not plagiarised from any other work' is included on the cover sheet for all assessed coursework and dissertations that you submit. You are required to sign this cover sheet. Take some time now to read the statement and the notes we have written to follow it.

All work submitted by students as part of the requirements for any examination or other assessment must be expressed in their own words and incorporate their own ideas and judgements. Plagiarism, that is - the presentation of another person's work in any quantity without adequately identifying it and citing its source in a way which is consistent with good scholarly practice in the discipline and commensurate with the level of professional conduct expected from the student - must be avoided with particular care in coursework and essays and reports written in students' own time. Deliberate plagiarism in coursework is as serious as deliberate cheating in an examination.

Direct quotations from the published or unpublished work of others must always be clearly identified as such by being placed inside quotation marks, and a full reference to their source must be provided in the proper form. A series of short quotations from several different sources, if not clearly identified as such, constitutes plagiarism just as much as does a single unacknowledged long quotation from a single source.

The source which is plagiarised may take any form (including words, graphs and images, musical texts, data, source code, ideas or judgements) and may exist in any published or unpublished medium, including the internet. Use of another's computer program or data without acknowledgement also constitutes plagiarism. Equally, if a student includes a summary of another person's ideas or judgements the source must be acknowledged and the work referred to included in the bibliography. Material taken from the Internet is covered by the same rules and it must always be acknowledged. Failure to observe these rules can result in an allegation of cheating, for which the penalties are severe.

Plagiarism is an extremely serious matter, and it is vital that all students are completely honest about the sources of their work. No student will be accused of plagiarism unless the Department finds strong evidence for it, and any student who is accused of plagiarism will have the opportunity to present her/his case to the Department. If the student is found to have plagiarised, s/he will be penalised at the discretion of the Head of Department - and whilst the penalty can be as minor as a mark of zero for an individual piece of formative coursework, it also includes the possibility of a mark of zero for the whole course or even the reduction of the class of degree awarded.

Any evidence of collusion with other students will also be penalised; if you pass your essay to another student, and that student then plagiarises from it, you are likely to be found guilty of collusion. The department wishes to encourage collaboration and discussion between students, but will not tolerate collusion.

The process of assessing whether plagiarism has taken place is long and unpleasant for both student and staff. You should therefore consult your tutor if you are in any doubt whatever about what is permissible.

No one should be under the impression that they can slip through the net. The College has access to sophisticated software for the detection of plagiarism. This said, the Department is aware that the vast majority of students will not even consider plagiarising.

Note that what is being said here is not that you should never quote material from others; it is that when you do so you must acknowledge it appropriately.


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