English Student Policies and FAQ

The following are general answers to frequently asked questions (FAQ) and policies pertaining to all students of the Southern English Department. For questions regarding the English Master’s program specifically, see Graduate Handbook and FAQ.  


English Department Transfer-Waiver Policy

Please note: the following are procedures for requesting a transfer-waiver for an English Department course other than First-Year Composition (ENG 110 or 112). For questions about composition transfer credit, contact the Composition Coordinator.

If you have completed an English course at another college or university that you believe is equivalent to an SCSU English course and/or should fulfill an SCSU English university requirement, English major requirement, or English minor requirement:

1. Check the SCSU Admissions Office's Transfer Equivalency web page.  The English Department will not overturn equivalencies listed on this site.

2. If the college or university at which you took the course in question is not listed on the Transfer Equivalency webpage, please assemble the following materials for English Department review:

  • For transfer students, a copy of your Transfer Evaluation Worksheet (the course-by-course transfer credit evaluation you received from the Admissions office when you were admitted to SCSU--NOT your SCSU transcript.  If you have lost it, request a replacement from the Admissions Office or the Registrar's Office);
  • A copy of the catalog description of the course you took at another institution (or a web address and page reference for the catalog course description);
  • If possible, a copy of the syllabus for the course--even if the syllabus is for a different semester from the one in which you took the course;
  • A brief cover note, including: (a) an explanation of what result you hope to achieve (i.e., Which course should we be looking at?  What SCSU course or requirement do you hope to have fulfilled or waived?); (b) your name and student identification number; and (c) your phone number and email

3. Submit all assembled materials to the Assistant Chair of the English Department at Engleman D265C. 

English Department Over-Enrollment Policy

Please read the following before requesting an over-enrollment.

The English Department normally does not grant over-enrollments in its courses. As much as we would love to allow every student to enroll in the course and section of his or her choice, over-enrollments result in larger class sizes, less faculty attention to individual students and their work, and a seriously diminished education for every student.

In order to maintain the high level of educational quality in all ENG courses, therefore, the department will consider over-enrollment requests only under the following circumstances. There is no guarantee under any circumstances that your over-enrollment request will be accommodated.

1. First Step

Check the university's online course listings regularly and repeatedly for newly opened seats in existing courses as the semester begins. (In many of these courses, there is plenty of add/drop activity near the beginning of the semester. If you're diligent, you may well be able to pick up a seat in the course you want.)

2. Second Step

For 100-level courses:

Over-enrollment will be considered if there are no available seats in other sections of the desired course and:

  • In the department's judgment, it is unlikely that openings in any section of the desired course will occur before the end of Add/Drop;
  • You have a documented physical or other disability that requires you to take a course in a particular time slot or location;
  • You were in a composition course that was cancelled;
  • You are completing a course with an instructor who previously assigned you an "I."

If you meet the above conditions, contact the Composition Coordinator to discuss your situation.

For 200-400-level courses:

  • An over-enrollment will be considered if:
  • You are in your last semester of study;
  • You need the course to fulfill either the university literature requirement or an English major/minor requirement;
  • No open course or section will fulfill the requirement;
  • In the department's judgment, it is unlikely that openings in a course that fulfills the requirement will occur before the end of Add/Drop.

Please note: Day, time, or location preferences will not be considered grounds for over-enrollment unless you have a documented disability that requires you to take a course at a particular time or in a particular location.The English Department will not over-enroll “W” courses.

If you meet the above conditions, contact the English Department Chair to discuss your situation.

English Department Plagiarism Policy


To plagiarize is "to steal and pass off (the ideas or words of another) as one’s own; . . . [to] use (a created production) without crediting the source; . . . [to] present as new and original an idea or product derived from an existing source" (Webster’s New Collegiate Dictionary 870).

Academic writing is an ongoing dialogue among scholars, both professionals and students. When you write an academic paper, you are entering into a textual conversation with other writers who have written on the same topic. Any time that one’s writing in any way gives readers the impression that words or ideas belonging to others are your own, you have taken the intellectual property of those other writers. This is plagiarism.

Since academic writing is a conversation, it is both necessary and desirable to use others’ words and ideas as you build your own original arguments on topics that others have visited before you. But in order to use other people's ideas legitimately, while avoiding even the appearance of having stolen their words or ideas and passed them off as your own, you must use the conventions of quotation and documentation to make it absolutely clear where your own words and ideas end and others' words and ideas begin.

Use quotation marks to denote direct borrowing of language from other sources and introductory comments to indicate paraphrases of material from other sources, crediting their author. To avoid plagiarism, you must also indicate precisely the location of your source material, so that your reader may easily find and consult your sources.

For English papers, this task is accomplished by using parenthetical page citations in your writing wherever you have quoted material from an outside source, following the MLA format provided to you in this Blue Book, and by giving complete publication information about each source in a Works Cited page at the end of your paper.

Make sure you understand the definition of plagiarism and the university's policies and penalties regarding academic dishonesty, which are spelled out in detail in the University Catalog and the Student Handbook, as well as the SCSU English Department Plagiarism Policy, provided for you in this appendix. For help on recognizing plagiarism, you can also visit these useful sites:

MLA Style Center – Plagiarism and Academic Dishonesty
Purdue Online Writing Lab – Is It Plagiarism?

Departmental Policy

English Department Procedures for Cases of Plagiarism

(Approved by vote of the English department faculty 11/5/2010)

Both the university catalog and the student handbook have university-wide policies on academic dishonesty with which all students and instructors should become familiar. Plagiarism is a particularly problematic and not infrequent variety of academic dishonesty that calls for more specific policy than either the catalog or the handbook offer.

As a department, we rely on individual instructors to devise their own plagiarism policies and make them known to students as part of each course syllabus or as an ancillary document referenced in the syllabus. Doing this in writing has the dual benefit of communicating the information unambiguously and providing a “legal” reference point should a student dispute your handling of a particular instance of plagiarism.

Instructors have the freedom and the responsibility to deal with each individual case of plagiarism as they see fit, tailoring the approach to the circumstances, seriousness, and degree of certainty of the offense. However, no constructive educational purpose is served by keeping such matters secret—particularly in upper-division courses populated primarily by English majors and minors. Likewise, no constructive pedagogical purpose is served by letting the most serious cases of plagiarism go unpenalized. For these reasons, the department agrees to abide by the following, minimal standards for handling and reporting cases of plagiarism in our courses.

According to the particular circumstances, instructors may choose to deal with plagiarism in any way ranging from requiring a rewrite of the assignment, to failing the assignment, to failing the student for the course, to referring the matter to the Dean of Arts & Sciences with a request to pursue university disciplinary action. (The Dean will typically not pursue disciplinary action without the recommendation / request of the instructor.) We recognize that in some courses and situations, particularly in entry-level courses, “grey-area” plagiarism may occur as part of a student’s normal learning process and should probably be engaged by the instructor on that basis. Serious cases of plagiarism, however, should be reported to both the department chair and the Dean, to be added to a registry so that repeat offenders can be identified and dealt with appropriately.

Instructor's Responsibilities

When confronted with serious cases of plagiarism, English instructors, in addition to whatever other measures they deem educationally appropriate to the particular situation, are strongly encouraged to

  • Obtain from the student a written response to the plagiarism charge, in which the student may accept or deny the charge, demonstrate his or her understanding of how and why this instance of plagiarism occurred, and articulate a strategy for avoiding future occurrences.

  • Submit to the department chair and to the Dean of Arts & Sciences a packet of information about the case, as follows: (1) A cover note explaining the action the instructor has taken to address the plagiarism, and/or copies of written communication between the instructor and the student about the plagiarism, including the student letter mentioned in item 1, above; (2) A copy of the course plagiarism policy as published to students in the syllabus or ancillary document; (3) A copy of the plagiarized student work, with plagiarized portions marked; (4) A copy of the stolen source, or a web address for it; and (5) A copy of the assignment.

Chair's Responsibilities and Next Steps

Upon receipt of the plagiarism report, the department chair will add the student's name to the department plagiarism registry. If the student's name already appears in the registry, then the case will be referred by the chair to the student's advisor. The chair will also notify the student that this action has been taken. The advisor, chair, and instructor will meet to discuss the adequacy of the student’s response to the charge of plagiarism and strategy for avoiding future acts of plagiarism (see step 1, above). On the basis of this meeting, the chair and instructor may make further recommendations to the Dean concerning further disposition of the plagiarism charge. The instructor will report the results of this meeting, in writing, to the student, unless the instructor asks the chair to do so instead. Second plagiarism offenses will also be reported by the chair to the English Secondary Education program coordinator and to the Graduate Program coordinator, both of whom will have access to the department plagiarism registry.

At no stage of implementation of these plagiarism procedures shall information about a plagiarizing student’s case be shared with anyone other than the individuals explicitly named in the policy.