Prague Library

Student Resources

Undergraduate Study Basics

To see the advising rules, click here.

Advisors oversee students’ registration process in order to make sure that they take their required courses on time and meet the graduation requirements set by the department, the Faculty of Arts and Sciences, and the University. The rules, requirements, and various difficulties of the registration process can sometimes become frustrating. Remember that your advisors are here to help you navigate these, but they do not have the authority to change the graduation requirements or bend the undergraduate regulations. If you have a complicated schedule, you must see your advisor. Please check the academic calendar for the day students are expected to meet their advisors regarding their course schedules.

Once the registration hurdle is over, you can visit your advisor during their office hours to discuss academic and nonacademic issues such as summer school, financial aid, serious health issues, graduate school, career planning etc. Please consult exchange, double major, and certificate program coordinators for questions regarding these options.

Please read the “FAQ-Undergraduate Students” section under the “Registration” tab. This information will be useful throughout your undergraduate education:

You should also be familiar with the Undergraduate Regulations (Lisans Eğitim ve Öğretim Yönetmeliği), which can be found here: Yonetmeligi

Each professor schedules time outside of class hours to meet with students and discuss the course materials or other related interests of the student. Professors generally announce their office hours at the beginning of each semester. You can also check the weekly schedules on their doors or get an appointment by email.

Professors do not require students to attend office hours. Students can use the office hours to ask questions about course materials, get advice on their course work, ask for further reading etc. Communicating with your professors during office hours will help you resolve problems you might be having in a class, especially if you make a habit of going to office hours well before exams or assignment deadlines. Office hours are not tutoring sessions. You need to go over the course materials and have specific topics to discuss before your visit. Additionally, you can build relationships with professors and enrich your learning experience by sharing your interests in literature, art, and culture. However, please make sure that once you make office hours appointments, you keep them.

  1. During the registration period, you need to send your program to your advisor for approval. If you don’t send your program, you’ll not be registered.
  2. Freshmen (First-year students) are given a set schedule. You just need to send it for approval.
  3. In every semester, except for the Senior year, you need to take at least 15 credits.
  4. You should repeat F’s as soon as they are offered. Unless it is automatically added, you need to add the course with the “repeat with” option.
  5. You CAN NOT take PE, AE, and PA for credit.
  6. You CAN NOT take an extra course (OVERLOAD) unless you have a GPA of 3.00 or above! OVERLOAD means 7 courses and 20 credits maximum! If your GPA is not 3.00 or above, you can take a course as NON-CREDIT.
  7. FA Courses: You can take FA courses as HSS or Unrestricted Electives (not as departmental electives). Two FA courses are allowed in four years unless you are in the Film Certificate program.
  8. Unrestricted Electives: You can take any course except AE (Advanced English). We don’t recommend ED courses as electives. 100-level foreign language courses can be taken as UNRESTRICTED.
  9. HSS Electives: SOC /PSY /HIST/ PHIL /POLS/LING courses and 200-300-400 level Foreign Languages courses. ONLY 200, 300 and 400-LEVEL FOREIGN LANGUAGE COURSES COUNT AS HSS ELECTIVES. HSS stands for Humanities and Social Sciences. If you are unsure about a course, ask the assistants or your advisor.
  10. If your GPA is below 2.00 and you are in ON PROBATION status, you cannot overload your schedule and take a minimum of 14 credits (5 courses). If your GPA is below 2.00 and you are in a REPEATING status, you can take 11 credits (4 courses) and 2 new courses maximum!
  11. Withdraw means “Dersten Çekilme”. If you withdraw from a class, on your transcript, the course you’ve withdrawn from will be marked with a “W” instead of a grade and it will not count for credit. A student may withdraw from a course 3 times until graduation. If she/he is under 15 credits, the system will not allow him/her to withdraw so he needs to submit a petition to “Dekanlik”.  There is a time window for the “withdraw” period. Check it on the academic calendar.
  12. You cannot convert credit courses to noncredit or vice versa. So, decide carefully. If you fail a noncredit course, you must retake it. You cannot graduate with an “F” grade.    

What is Plagiarism?

Plagiarism is the use of the words or ideas of another person or source without attribution. Essentially, it’s intellectual theft.

What’s the most common form of plagiarism?

Plagiarism is not just copying words without quotation marks. The worst form of plagiarism is using someone else’s work and turning it in as your own, or even turning in a Wikipedia-esque pastiche of multiple authors’ works as your own. However, this is not the only way to plagiarize.

Common forms of plagiarism:

  1. Using another writer’s ideas without giving them credit.
  2. Summarizing the content of a writer’s work without giving them credit.
  3. Having a friend or hired writer create your paper for you.
  4. Buying papers online.

This is why it’s very important to learn how to cite properly, but also to make sure that you begin researching papers well in advance of their due dates.

Literary Studies uses MLA Style for citations. A good guide to this is on the Purdue Owl website. []

How can I avoid plagiarism?

  1. Be very careful when taking notes for your research papers. Make sure that you note the page number from which you’ve taken your information. Have a good, ordered system for keeping track of your research and its sources. This system should include key words and themes.
  1. Paraphrase as you’re taking notes. One of the easiest ways to avoid plagiarism is to turn a writer’s words into your own. Doing so will also help you better understand what you’re reading.
  1. Be very careful to cite when you’re writing up your paper. Your first draft should have proper citations. Going back to insert citations after you’ve written your first draft will be very difficult and confusing.
  1. Submit your paper to Turnitin in advance of its deadline if you have the option to use the website. Some WLL classes make use of the plagiarism-detecting site to teach their students how not to plagiarize, as well as to ensure that you’re following the department’s academic code.

At the Department of Western Languages and Literatures, we take plagiarism very seriously, and students who plagiarize may find themselves facing disciplinary action.

Do your own work to avoid plagiarism. Do your research in advance and be sure to paraphrase, but also to give credit where it is due!


Preparation and Initial Steps:

* You can register for EL 412 during your 7th or 8th semesters. Please make sure that you begin a conversation with your prospective thesis advisor at the end of the previous semester. In other words, start to identify a potential topic and texts early on.

* Once the semester begins, you should plan on solidifying your thesis topic with your advisor by the end of the second week of classes. The project proposal form, which will include a brief abstract of your project, will be due by the end of the fourth week of classes.

Project Parameters:

* Given that we are a Department of English Literature, your thesis should prioritize the works of Anglophone authors. However, you can choose to write a comparative study that includes Anglophone works alongside other examples from World Literature.

* Similarly, the main focus of your thesis should be on literary texts, but you are free to supplement your study with a wider variety of “texts”, such as art and visual culture, films, and performances. These supplementary materials should be incorporated in consultation with your advisor.

* Ideally, your thesis project should explore texts that you have not encountered during your undergraduate education. However, it might be possible to return to certain previously studied texts in relation to new ones. These decisions should be made in consultation with your advisor.

Basic Requirements:

* The minimum length of the Senior Thesis should be 40 double-spaced pages composed in 12-point font.

* The in-text citations and final bibliography should follow MLA citation guidelines.

* One hard-bound copy of the thesis must be submitted to the Department of Western Languages and Literatures. The grade for this course will be contingent on the Department’s receipt of the hard-bound copy.

* The Senior Thesis should represent your original work. Please refer to the Department’s printed guidelines regarding plagiarism for further details.

Undergraduate Study Information

The class representative is someone who acts as a liaison or connection between a class (i.e. the first years, second years, juniors, or seniors) and the faculty of Western Languages and Literatures. For example, if students have an idea or opinion, or issue that they would like to communicate to the faculty, the class representative is someone who can be the vehicle for that. Of course, this doesn’t mean that students cannot contact faculty members individually – you are always welcome to contact your professors to communicate with them on a range of issues. This is simply an additional (and collective) vehicle of communication.

Class representatives are chosen through an election process at the beginning of each academic year. Advisors collect the names of interested candidates during the first couple of weeks of classes, and we then invite the students to vote over a 2-day period. Once the class representative is appointed, their email is displayed on the department’s website so that students can contact them when necessary.

ÖTK is the representative body for the undergraduate and graduate students of Boğaziçi University. Just as the departmental class representatives facilitate communication between students and faculty within Western Languages and Literatures, ÖTK facilitates communication between the student body as a whole and the University administration. ÖTK representatives are typically chosen through an election process at the beginning of each year, and each department sends a number of students to represent their particular “constituency”.

Each semester, the Department of Western Languages and Literatures puts out a call for undergraduate students who are interested in assisting faculty members with various tasks. These might include helping faculty members with small-scale research assignments like finding images to accompany a power-point lecture or a library search around a particular topic, as well as more daily tasks. These are paid positions, and the general understanding is that a student assistant will devote no more than five hours per week to their tasks. A student assistantship is a great way to get to know the process involved in preparing courses or undertaking research projects, as well as an excellent item for your CV.

Graduate Study Abroad - Frequently Asked Questions FAQ

You love reading and writing, and the life of the mind is your passion. Perhaps you love debating the merits of post-Marxism over coffee and cigarettes. Or maybe you want to go to graduate school just because it seems like the logical next step.

People apply to graduate school for all kinds of reasons, because graduate school is many kinds of things to many kinds of people. It is work and play, business and leisure, a time of professionalization and exploration, and a labor of love. Yet if the ambiguity of graduate school is its virtue, it is also the source of much uncertainty and anxiety. After all, a labor of love is still labor, and graduate school is a long march toward a goal that you may not eventually want, and even if you do, may not exist.

This is why you should think very hard before investing your time and perhaps money in a graduate school career. Above all, we would strongly urge you not to apply to graduate school because you are unsure of what you want to do with your life. For some, graduate school can be a wonderful experience, no matter what career path it leads to. For others, it is a source of bitterness and disappointment.

Nevertheless, if long, lonely hours of reading and writing and habituating yourself into the ins and outs of the academic profession seem like highly satisfying and worthwhile experiences, you should go to graduate school.

The short answer is: a lot! Now to be sure, the traditional point of graduate school was to train future university professors. However, you may have heard about the academic job market. Its outlook is very dire and has been for almost forty years. Official statistics report that less than half of graduate students in English will get a tenure-track job in the academia, but those statistics don’t account for attrition in academic programs (students who leave their programs before obtaining their PhD). This situation is not going to improve and may very likely get worse in the next decade.

As a result, graduate programs have increasingly turned their attention to making the degree work for alternative career paths–from editors and journalists, to entrepreneurs and curators of material and digital archives. This process is still ongoing, but academics now agree that alternative careers are not second-best, but are oftentimes more fulfilling than a life in academia.

Before you apply to graduate school, you must be prepared for the possibility that you will never be a college professor. The earlier you look into the many career paths open to humanities PhDs, the more likely graduate school will be a fruitful and worthwhile phase of your life.

For the first 2-3 years of a typical PhD program, students do coursework. These courses, roughly three per semester, involve a great deal of reading, and usually require one major writing project–typically, a ~20 page research paper. So in each semester of graduate school, you should expect to write at least 60 pages.

Once coursework is completed, students take their qualifying exams. These exams, which usually have written and oral components, are drawn from reading lists (usually around 150 books), which students study independently for 6-9 months.

Once students “qualify” (that is, pass their exams), they become “ABD,” which means they have completed “all but [their] dissertation.” At this stage, they begin working on a proposal for their dissertation and, eventually, the dissertation itself, a book-length research project.

As you can see, as students advance through each stage they are expected to become more independent and self-motivated.

Generally, students apply to MA Programs when they have a particular intellectual interest but they are unsure as to whether this interest will lead them to a longer-term commitment to academic research or whether they will want to use their MA as a springboard for a career outside of academia. Conversely, PhD applicants are generally students who wish to pursue careers as academics. However, the decision to apply to a MA or a PhD is often also a financial one, as MA programs in Euro-American universities generally provide very little financial aid, especially to non-citizens. PhD studies tend to be fully funded, although this can often depend on the particularities of a given program (see below).

A recommendation is a confidential letter written by a professor or mentor in support of a student’s graduate school application. The goal of the recommendation is to allow professors to introduce their students in a way that enriches the otherwise dull presentation of a transcript or GRE scores. Professors can use the recommendation to provide graduate schools with a sense of the student’s in-class presence as well as their academic performance, commenting on issues like their participation in team work, their leadership abilities or the general relationship that they have built with their professor (as well as their classmates) throughout their undergraduate career.

Given the goal and purpose of recommendation letters, it is important that they should be written by professors who have a sense of your academic abilities and writing skills, (ideally) how you have grown and changed over the course of your coursework with them and your intellectual interests and research agenda. In other words, recommendations fulfill their purpose best when a professor really knows the student for whom they are writing a recommendation. Additionally, it is equally important to pursue recommendations from professors who have taught you in advanced courses where they have had an opportunity to witness your academic writing in depth, and watched you grapple with complex questions.

A statement of purpose, like so much in academia, is a performance. In this case, it is a performance that convinces the application committee that a prospective student will be successful in graduate school–that is, they will develop a compelling dissertation project and complete that project. Let’s unpack what that means.

First, eliminate all romantic musings about your love of literature and ardent desire to be a teacher and a scholar. Rather, begin by simply stating who you are, where you’ve studied, and where you are applying.

Second, be as clear and concise as possible about your specific intellectual interests, desired field of study, and the research project you wish to pursue in graduate school. This is, of course, a very difficult task: you don’t really know where your interests will lie five years from now. But no one expects you to be able to write a fully-formed dissertation proposal right now. Faculty members want to know whether you’re serious enough at this point to have a topic of intellectual interest, a grasp of its theoretical and historical stakes, and an understanding of the scholarly state of play around it. Your research into your senior thesis is the best place to begin the work of articulating this topic. Remember, however, that you aren’t bound for life to it: faculty members expect that as you grow intellectually, your interests will change.

Third, summarize how your work as an undergraduate has brought you to this topic. Shape your undergraduate experience into a narrative, a kind of intellectual autobiography that illustrates how this topic has grown from your broader intellectual trajectory. Explain, for instance, how your essay in a class on 18th century fiction grapples with the same theoretical problems of narrative and subaltern politics that motivate your current thinking on the contemporary anglophone novel. Have you participated in conferences or given presentations? Explain them briefly and show their relation to your broader project. No doubt this narrative will be a creative or fictional reconstruction of your life, but it does the important work of contextualizing your interest in your topic and demonstrating that you are well-rounded.

Finally, explain how the particular program you are applying to is suited to helping you develop this particular project. Specify professors whom you’d love to work with (ideally, you are applying to the program because you’ve read their work and want to learn more from them). Identify institutions at the university that will facilitate your research (i.e., special programs, library collections, interdisciplinary initiatives). This shows the faculty that you’ve done your homework.

And remember: proofread your work! Show your letter to your adviser

Many graduate schools are funded by their MA programs, so the MA is typically more expensive than the PhD. PhD programs, by contrast, typically offer tuition waivers and stipends for students (in exchange for work). The amount of work (teaching, editing journals, assisting the research projects of professors) you will have to do in exchange for your stipend will depend on the program. Typically, “better” (i.e., more highly ranked) programs offer more generous financial aid.

We would strongly recommend that you never go into debt for a PhD program, and apply only to those programs that offer full tuition waivers and stipends that will allow you to enjoy a decent quality of life. Be sure to look into the cost of living in places where you are applying so you can properly judge how far a school’s stipend will go.

There is more than one way to approach this question. Applying to graduate school is expensive, so the number of schools you can apply to may depend on your budget. That said, a common approach is to apply to at least 10 schools, spreading your applications out over a number of tiers according to school rankings and the financial packages they offer.

An alternative approach is to choose a handful of schools based on the interests of particular scholars whose research matches your own. Engage those scholars in email correspondence concerning that field. See whether they would be willing to work with you on questions of common interest. If so, highlight that personal contact in your particularized statement of purpose. This approach emphasizes the development of relationships to increase the strength of your application.

It is very common for students to finish undergraduate studies in a particular field and then decide to pursue graduate study in a related (or even unrelated) area. The key here is to begin your research into graduate programs early on and get as much information as possible as to the basic “formation” that any specific graduate program demands of its applicants. Generally speaking, if you are a student of English Literature but applying to (for example) a Political Science MA program, it will be very important for you to show your target department that you have experience in that area (i.e. that you have taken political science courses, received good grades and even perhaps obtained a recommendation from a professor in that field). Additionally, your statement of purpose will become an important place for you to show why your degree in English Literature has led you to Political Science programs and how your training positions you as a good candidate.