McGill Alert / Alerte de McGill

Updated: Fri, 07/12/2024 - 12:16

McGill Alert. The downtown campus will remain partially closed through the evening of Monday, July 15. See the Campus Safety site for details.

Alerte de McGill. Le campus du centre-ville restera partiellement fermé jusqu’au lundi 15 juillet, en soirée. Complément d’information : Direction de la protection et de la prévention


These pages are designed to give the English student and prospective English student at McGill some indication of the scope of Departmental activities and Department structures. If you are interested in studying English at McGill or are presently enrolled in one of the various Departmental programs, please refer to the relevant pages in this section.

Reread Policy

Reassessments and Rereads: Faculty of Arts

Please consult the Faculty of Arts Undergraduate Calendar for the policy concerning Reassessment of Course Work and Rereads of Final Exams.

Reread Policy: Department of English

Rereads for graduate courses are governed by regulations of the Faculty of Graduate Studies and Research. Rereads for undergraduate courses (including 500-level courses) are governed by regulations of the Faculty of Arts. In addition, the following internal policy with respect only to undergraduate rereads is to be followed:

  1. Students desiring their work to be re-evaluated shall in the first instance discuss the matter with their instructor.
  2. In the event that the result of this discussion does not satisfy the student's desire for a re-evaluation, the student may make application to the Departmental Chair (or the Chair's representative). The student will fill in a form naming the course and its instructor, and attaching the piece of work for which re-evaluation is desired, signing the form to indicate that the preliminary meeting in 1. above has taken place.
  3. The Departmental Chair (or the Chair's representative) will send this form to the instructor for counter-signature. In the event that the instructor claims that the preliminary meeting described in 1. above has not taken place, the Departmental Chair (or the Chair's representative) will bring the two parties together, and the process will not go forward until student and instructor have discussed the matter and attempted to come to agreement. When this discussion has taken place, if the student so desires, the process will continue.
  4. The reread will take place according to Faculty of Arts regulations. Please note: New Faculty policy requires that a request for a reread should take place within 10 working days of the date of the return of course work. Students must use diligence in obtaining corrected work.
  5. When the reread is complete, and the second reader has submitted a report, the Departmental Chair (or the Chair's representative) will inform both the student and the instructor of the result.

Incomplete Course Work

If, in the instructor's opinion, there is sufficient reason to permit a delay in the submission of required term work, an extension of deadline requiring the signature of both the student and instructor may be granted, and the instructor will submit a grade of K (incomplete). If a new grade is submitted within the deadline by the instructor, this will appear on the student's Faculty reports and verification forms following the K and will replace the K on the student's official University transcripts.

If the required work is not completed before the deadline, the grade KF will be recorded in the same way as the grade above. (KF denotes a failed course and has the same effect on the GPA as an F.)

Note that students with uncleared Ks will not be considered for scholarships.

The deadline originally agreed upon between instructor and student can only be extended by permission of the Associate Dean, who requires a note of explanation. The instructor must agree to the extension.

Students who have not, without accepted excuse, participated in, or written the final examination in, a course for which they have registered, may be given a grade of J (absent). In the calculation of the GPA, this is treated as an F.

Students are responsible for making all arrangements for incompletes directly with their instructor concerning the length of the extension, the submission of late work, the reporting of the grade, and the return of all students' submissions. Students must sign the form that accompanies the submission of a K.

All questions concerning the resolution or clearing of Ks should be addressed to the particular instructor involved.

Term Papers, Exams, and Projects

It is the responsibility of each instructor to inform students of the methods of evaluation in his/her course. Questions concerning term papers and other evaluation procedures should be discussed by instructors and students in each course. Times and places for the submission of papers and projects, and for the return of these materials must be arranged by the instructor. It is recommended that students keep a copy of any written work submitted to instructors.

Please note that the Undergraduate Student Affairs Office (Arts 155) cannot offer either to receive papers or to hold graded papers for return to students.

Composition, Writing Essays and Research

In addition to instructors' comments on marked papers and their advice through consultation, you can obtain much valuable assistance from the very inexpensive pamphlet recommended by the English Department, Writing Essays: A Short Guide, by Colin Norman, which can be obtained or ordered through the Bookstore (currently ISBN 0-88911-508-7). Norman provides a helpful bibliography of further such self-help texts. One that provides some clear advice on technical points of paragraphing and punctuation is Sheridan Baker, The Practical Stylist. As your studies progress, and especially if you enter the Honours program, you can obtain much excellent guidance on appropriate approaches, style, and technique by assessing those aspects of recent academic critical, scholarly, or theoretical work that you admire.

While the English Department does not offer writing and composition courses, these are provided by the English and French Language Centre in the Faculty of Arts, and by the Centre for Study and Teaching of Writing in the Faculty of Education. These courses are accepted for elective credit within B.A. programs by the Faculty of Arts, and, if interested in doing such work, you should assess the offerings of both Centres to determine which course best suits your needs.

The Centre for the Study of Teaching and Writing also provides a tutorial service free of charge. To obtain this assistance, call the Centre for information and an appointment; early in term tends to be best, before the mid-term and end-of-term rushes.

For help with research techniques and approaches for specific topics, consult the Reference Librarians in the McLennan Library. You can obtain more general guidance from a variety of McLennan publications available free of charge, such as the Library Guide: English Literature. More specialized guides are also available in diverse fields such as Canadian and children's literature, again at no charge; you need only inquire at the Reference Desk. The Library also provides free workshops on using various research services such as Peruse, Muse, CD Rom, and bibliographical indexes.

Academic Discipline

The University publishes a booklet called Code of Student Conduct and Disciplinary Procedures, with which students are assumed to be familiar.

In addition, the English Department has the following rule, which applies to all students in English courses at McGill. Caution: This rule is binding only with respect to the English Department. Other departments may be subject to other rules. Nevertheless, from the point of view of the English Department, the rule below applies to work submitted either previously or simultaneously in other than English courses as well as in English courses.

Prior written permission must be secured from a course instructor if a student proposes to meet a course requirement by:

  1. Submitting a paper which is to be, or has been, previously submitted in another course;
  2. Submitting a paper which is, in part, the student's own work and, in part, the work of another person.
In general, if you submit, either inadvertently or deliberately, the work of another person as if it were your own, you may be guilty of plagiarism. If you are in doubt as to the status of any work you wish to submit, it is your responsibility to consult your instructor before you submit the work.

Advanced Placement

The Surveys of English Literature provide an overview of the development of British Literature from the Anglo-Saxon period to the present. Survey 1 (English 202) covers literature from the period of Beowulf to the end of the eighteenth century; Survey 2 (English 203) addresses literature from the late eighteenth century to the twentieth century. Only those Advanced Placement courses that provide comparable historical coverage of British literature can be considered equivalent to the Surveys. If the AP courses you have taken resemble those whose syllabi are provided below, an exemption from either 202, 203, or both, might be possible. If you would like to seek such an exemption, please see the Director of Undergraduate Studies.

Sample course descriptions follow:

ENGL 202 Departmental Survey of English Literature 1

  • Prerequisite: Not open to students who have taken ENGL 200. Open only to students in English programs.
  • This course is a historical survey of English literature from the Old and Middle English periods through the Renaissance and up to the mid-eighteenth century, ending with Alexander Pope and Jonathan Swift.
  • Text: The Norton Anthology of English Literature, vol.1

ENGL 203 Departmental Survey of English Literature 2

  • Prerequisite: ENGL 202. Not open to students who have taken ENGL 201
  • A survey of English Literature from the years just after the French Revolution to the early twentieth century, with particular emphasis on poetry. We will pay close attention to the constructs of Romanticism, Victorianism, Aestheticism, and Modernism that have traditionally governed the periodization and study of literature covered by this course. Course theme, 2003-4: Community and its Discontents.
  • Text: The Norton Anthology of English Literature, vol.2
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