CENES Course Policies

UBC CENES has an extensive set of course policies for assignments, attendance, exams, and marking.

Please review each section carefully. If you have any questions, our advisors are happy to help.

Assignment Submission Policy

We expect that students will submit assignments as scheduled. Instructors are not required to make allowance for any missed test or incomplete work that is not satisfactorily accounted for. Under extenuating circumstances, and at the discretion of the faculty member, assignments may be submitted as late as the date of the final exam. If illness or other urgent circumstances require that work be submitted after the date of the final exam, a Standing Deferred is required. Deferred Standing can be granted by the student’s Faculty Advising Office.

Departmental Attendance Policy

Students missing 40% or more of their lectures, seminars, or meetings of a discussion section associated with a large lecture course, regardless of whether their absences are avoidable or unavoidable, may be considered unable to meet the “learning outcomes” of the course and may be excluded from the final examination.

  1. In the event of students missing 12 hours, 4 seminar classes, or 4 meetings of a discussion section associated with a large lecture course, where an instructor wishes to invoke the attendance policy, the instructor must warn the students in writing. Email is acceptable; it is up to the students to ensure that their email addresses are up to date.
  1. The written warning must advise the students that they will be asked to withdraw from the course if they miss 4 more hours, 1 more seminar class, or 1 more meeting of the discussion section.
  1. An instructor who defers the sending of a written warning until after the students have missed more than 12 hours or 4 seminar classes or discussion section meetings must nevertheless allow the students the 4-hour, 1-seminar, or 1-discussion section period to improve their attendance before the students can be asked to withdraw.
  1. Instructors are under no obligation to re-teach material that has already been taught in a regularly scheduled class.
  1. Students who miss classes because of a disability and who are registered with the Centre for Accessibility must be given reasonable accommodation, which is to be negotiated at the beginning of the course between the student, the Centre for Accessibility, and the instructor.
  1. Instructors must draw the Department’s attendance policy to the attention of their students by including it on the syllabus or by providing a link on the syllabus to the appropriate page on the Department’s website.

Rescheduling Final Exams

Reflecting UBC Senate policies on examinations, final examinations in the Department of Central, Eastern, and Northern European Studies will not be rescheduled unless a student has received a Standing Deferred, except in the very specific situations of exam conflicts or the sort of unforeseeable circumstances listed below. Students should not make plans for travel or major social events until after the exam schedule has been published.

In cases where a student has more than one exam formally scheduled by the University in the same time slot, the student will make arrangements with one of the faculty members to re-sit the exam.

In cases where a student has three exams scheduled within a 24-hour period, one of the exams will be rescheduled (normally the middle one).

If you have encountered unforeseeable or unavoidable circumstances, please refer to the Student Services website for more information on missing exams and rescheduling.

Marking Standards

In order to clarify our expectations for student work, and in order to ensure comparable marking across sections and courses, the Department has adopted the following guidelines for marking standards.

Percentage (%)Letter Grade
90 - 100A+
85 - 89A
80 - 84 A-
76 - 79B+
72 - 75B
68 - 71B-
64 - 67 C+
60 - 63C
55 - 59C-
50 - 54 D
0 - 49F (Fail)

Undergraduate Marking

An “A” paper (an outstanding paper; 80-100%): This paper must be fully focussed on the topic and consistently strong in structure, content, expression, mechanics, and presentation. If the paper is based on a text or if it draws material from other primary or secondary sources, it must include full documentation in the MLA style. An “A” paper should contain an original and credible argument in response to the topic. Any significant errors of expression that detract from the paper’s effectiveness would mean that the paper could not earn an “A” mark.

A “B” paper (a competent paper; 68-79%): This paper must be well-focussed on the topic; its thesis must be well-supported by convincing evidence and explanations. The structure of a “B” paper must be strong and clear; its thesis must be specific and significant. If this paper contains errors of expression, they must be occasional rather than chronic, and they must not obscure meaning. A “B” paper based on research must be accurately documented in the MLA style. The principal difference between an “A” paper and a “B” paper is in the quality and level of its argument. A “B” paper is less adventurous than an “A”; it may tend to rely more heavily on materials and arguments raised in lectures and discussions than an “A” paper would.

A “C-D” paper (an adequate paper; 50-67%): A paper at this level is generally clear in its expression, but it is weaker in content and/or structure than a “B” paper. Its thesis may be vague (but still on topic); its transitions may be inconsistent; its evidence may be occasionally unconvincing or incomplete. Language errors in this category will be more frequent than those at the “A” or the “B” level, but they will not be so serious or so chronic that they make a paper difficult or impossible to understand.

An “F” paper (an inadequate paper; 0-49%): A paper at this level will suffer from one or more of the following serious flaws: it may be off topic; it may lack a thesis; it may lack clear and adequate development and paragraphing; it may be deficient in the presentation of evidence; it may contain serious and repeated errors in sentence structure, diction, and grammar – errors that obscure meaning.

Failure to acknowledge sources: A paper that does not give complete and accurate credit for directly quoted material or for ideas and arguments that the student has summarized or paraphrased from another source must receive a grade of zero.

Outside assistance: A paper edited or revised by a so-called tutoring service must also receive a failing grade of zero, for it does not constitute a student’s own work or best efforts.

Lateness: In fairness to those students who work hard to meet course deadlines, a home paper submitted after a deadline will be assessed a daily penalty to be announced in writing by the course instructor.

Final Course Grades: While the previous guidelines consider grading standards in terms of individual papers, and while it is evident that a final course grade will not always, or even commonly, be a precise mathematical averaging of numerical grades on written assignments, there should still be a clear and evident correlation between the grades that a student receives during the term or year and the final grade. The instructor has a responsibility to convey clearly the relative weight of the various written assignments, the examination(s), class work, and other elements of the course, while not concealing that in the end, it is his or her considered judgment of the student’s total performance that is represented in the final grade.

Graduate Marking

An “A+” paper (90-100%): Marks in this range should be given only for a paper of publishable quality, one that makes an original contribution to scholarship. A mark of 95% or above is exceptional and should be reserved for a paper that could be published in a major journal; it must be not only insightful and impeccably written, but also fully and carefully documented according to an accepted bibliographic style.

An “A” paper (85-89%): Papers in this range should approach publishable quality, perhaps with some revision. They should present original ideas such as would be acceptable for conference presentation, and should be well-researched and documented.

An “A-” paper (80-84%): Papers in this range should be solid pieces of work, fully adequate on the graduate level, with respect to the quality of thought and writing and to research and presentation.

A “B+” paper

A “B+” paper (76-79%): Papers in this range have weaknesses in some areas, though they are still graduate-level work. Revision would be needed to bring them up to an “A” level.

A “B or B-” paper

A “B” or “B-” paper (68-75%): Papers in this range have major weaknesses.

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