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Theses

In addition to the regulations to be found in the University's Statutes and Ordinances, the Faculty Board of Classics has laid down the following advice for those submitting theses in Part II of the Tripos:

(a) Candidates are prohibited from re-using material from their thesis in any examination paper in such a way as to give them an unfair advantage in answering any question or questions.

A thesis topic can be judged to overlap excessively with that of a paper if, for example, the teaching for that paper might be expected to cover one or more of the main topics addressed by the thesis, or if the thesis makes extensive use of material also studied in a paper.

Where a thesis proposal is judged not to present problems of overlap serious enough to justify vetoing the proposal, the Board may nevertheless send a ‘warning letter’ to the candidate, alerting him or her to the risk of overlap with one or more written papers, as candidates are prohibited from re-using material from their thesis in the exam papers in such a way as to give them an unfair advantage in answering any question or questions.

(b) Not all titles are self-explanatory and it will assist the Faculty Board in coming to a rapid decision if it has a clear indication of the nature of the candidate’s project. It should be made clear that, if the thesis is offered in fulfilment of the Group requirement, the topic does fall wholly within the area of the relevant Group; if it is offered in place of a fourth paper, that it falls within the field of Classics; that it does not coincide substantially with the subject of any of the papers being offered by the candidate. The Board will also wish to be able to see that the topic proposed is comparable in scope and difficulty to what is required for a Part II paper. In the case of candidates taking three papers from the same Group the Faculty Board of Classics will not normally approve a thesis title judged to be too closely related to the papers.

(c) The Faculty Board expects candidates and their Directors of Studies to have considered what paper they would offer instead if they decide not to submit a thesis after all (for reason of illness, accident or any other cause). The Board will expect to be told, at the time the application for approval of the thesis title is made, which Paper will be offered if the thesis has to be aborted. It should be understood that if a candidate enters for a thesis and subsequently decides to take a paper instead, this counts as a change of examination entry. This is a College responsibility and it will be necessary for the candidate to take the proper steps to get the examination entry changed; candidates should consult an appropriate College officer. It should be noted that examination entries may NOT be changed after the last day of Lent Full Term.

(d) The style of presentation, quotation and reference to books, articles and ancient authorities should be consistent and comply with the standards required by a major journal (such as Classical Quarterly). Candidates will be required to give full references to sources used, and to append a list of the books and articles used in the preparation of the thesis.

(e) The Board will expect the thesis to show knowledge of the relevant primary sources. Candidates are expected to select a topic of interest, to focus the issues clearly, handle the material competently and present the argument in an orderly fashion. Additional credit will be given for extensive and detailed knowledge of relevant material, for handling the topic in an enterprising manner and for displaying sound and independent judgement. The thesis is expected to reveal relevant knowledge comparable to that required for a group paper.

(f) The limit of 10,000 words should be carefully observed. However, an appendix of relevant material may be submitted and not included in the word limit if this will assist the examiners (if in doubt, candidates should consult the Academic Secretary for Undergraduate Affairs). Material presented under the heading ‘Illustrations’ at the end of an undergraduate dissertation (after bibliography) is excluded from the aforementioned word limit. This ‘supporting material’ can include figures, maps, charts, diagrams, plans and data in tables, all of these with captions (which may be attached to each individual ‘illustration’ or presented as a list), but excludes catalogues. Captions should be as brief as possible and should not be used as a substitute for information which should properly be placed in the main text.

(g) Supervision should be on the same scale as for a group paper. Supervisors may discuss the scope and extent of the topic and provide bibliographical and similar advice and information. Supervisors may comment freely on the first and second drafts of the outline and of any one section or chapter but, for the rest, should confine their comments to the first draft of the thesis.

(h) Candidates are required to submit two hard copies and two electronic copies of the thesis.

(i) The Faculty will be employing Turnitin software to detect plagiarism in Part II theses. You are obliged to have read and understood the University’s policy on plagiarism which is given at http://www.admin.cam.ac.uk/univ/plagiarism/students/statement.html.

(j) All those offering a thesis will be called to a viva. The main purpose of the viva is to verify that the thesis is a student’s own work, though the examiners will also give an opportunity to discuss and elaborate a student’s ideas.

 

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