Forms of Assigments
While the kinds of assignments vary according to the course designs, the partner universities have agreed on some basic standards for each kind of assignment to ensure reliability for students and the quality of EMMIR. Below you will find brief information on requirements for assignments that may be used within modules. However, we advise you to contact the designated teacher of a module for details.
You may choose to perform written assignments as teamwork. Make sure to have proper arrangements with your teachers in place before you submit your work. Each individual student’s contribution must be able to be defined based on chapters, numbers of pages or other objective criteria. Potential assignments (in alphabetical order) are:
You will be asked to do individual research on literature, original sources and other material that you intend to use to work on specific topics, and compile relevant information in a list. The bibliography should give an overview of central works on the subject, including most recent publications, as well as specify the sources you plan to work with. Instructors will set a limit to the number of works to be identified.
A book review should reflect your ability to critically assess publications that portray your issue from a variety of perspectives or present theoretical approaches to analyse it. You are asked to give a brief description of the book, focussing on the main ideas and themes of the author, and to emphasise the major argument. Identifying the subject and scope of the book should be limited to no more than a quarter of the review. You are required to evaluate the work through interpretation and analysis, especially with the following questions in mind:
- What is particularly original about the book?
- Does the book offer a significant contribution to the field?
- Does the argument contribute to current debates, either in the public or academic sphere?
- What are the weaknesses/strengths of the argument?
- Does the author present a consistent account?
- Are the sources and information given to support the argument reliable?
- Does the result correspond to the purpose of the book as stated by the author?
- Does the author reflect on conflicting views?
- What issues and topics for further discussion does the work raise?
- Questions of style and format have to be addressed as well.
This assignment might include an oral presentation of the review in class.
In addition to written assignments, you might be asked to take an oral exam, especially in case you did not demonstrate sufficient oral effort throughout the semester. You will be asked to prove your mastery of material and discussions covered in the module. In addition to a demonstration of your knowledge, oral exams ask you to show your presentation skills and your ability to communicate in an academic setting about a given question or topic.
Students and professors/lecturers agree on the scope of the exam in advance, but specific questions will be chosen dynamically in the course of the exam. Questions might focus on your research or study over the semester. Also, teachers may use open questions to ask for opinions, ideas for future work or aspects of research you did not consider in previous work.
Asked to give a presentation, for instance based on a book review or a research paper, you should manage to present main arguments of your work in the given time, usually 10 to 15 minutes. Since these presentations are designed to provide an opportunity for you to share your work and results with fellow students and teachers, you should focus on
- a brief summary of the content/topic,
- an outline of main arguments,
- presenting your analysis and/or questions resulting from your study.
The purpose of this assignment is to present your research project visually in a comprehensible manner. You are asked to demonstrate your research question, few main assumptions and the method you applied/plan to apply. The poster should be visually appealing, easy to read and understand, and informative.
The portfolio is designed to document all assignments submitted during the semester. You are asked to record course notes and/or comment on tasks, approaches and findings, as well as on results of class discussion. The portfolio is not to be considered an assignment in itself; rather it should help you to organise and structure your work within the given module.
A project report, assigned for instance within a module on methods or the internship module, is designed to record and to reflect on practical and/or research experience. In particular, students are expected to document the independently developed, designed and conducted research project and its results. You should demonstrate how and to which end you have tried out and applied theoretical, empirical or statistical methods. Problems you faced during your work, changes in your initial work plan/research concept and open questions should be included in the report as well.
When assigning specific readings or other work in preparation of a class, instructors will pose questions that you have to respond to. You might be asked to present facts and details, to give your opinion on given statements or arguments, or to come up with your own questions to the author etc. Usually, a response paper does not exceed 2 pages.
Final papers are designed to test your ability to apply ideas, theories or concepts that you have studied in the module to a specific question or topic. You are required to submit a written original paper/text in which you synthesise knowledge gained on a topic pertaining to migration studies. The paper should be a collection of evidence that you found in existing literature or material relevant to research, and of your personal insights, i.e. you are asked to present your own ideas that are developed by using expert knowledge. The length of the assigned paper may vary, but is usually between 12 and 15 written pages (400 words/page).
Partners agreed on two types of papers that you might be asked to produce: an analytical paper, or an argumentative paper. Below you will find a brief explanation of both kinds of papers.
Typically, the starting point for an analytical paper is a research question that leads to exploring an unresolved or unfamiliar topic. Your aim is to survey information and views expressed by professional or involved people of various fields, and to evaluate them based on your knowledge. Evidence found in existing literature or other relevant material is used to analyse an issue from one particular or various perspective(s), and to develop conclusions about the topic at hand.
At the outset of working on an argumentative paper, you will formulate a hypothesis, i.e. you will define your stance on a specific issue that you will prove as true in the paper. You are asked to present your conclusion about a topic or theory within migration studies, connecting evidence, reliable information and reasoning in a logical manner to justify your argument. Your aim is to present your perspective and to convince the reader of your hypothesis.
Thought Paper / Reflection Paper
While reading assigned texts, you should pay attention to major themes and aspects the author presents, his/her arguments and conclusions. You are expected to give a brief summary of the text, name questions that remained open to you and/or were posed for you while reading. You should point out which information presented in the texts is most important to you, as well as name puzzling aspects you consider worth future investigation. The purpose of a thought or reflection paper is to help you to organise your thoughts about readings. This work might also help you to identify topics and/or questions for final papers. Usually, a thought or reflection paper does not exceed 2 pages.
Your MA dissertation should be based on research that is developed and conducted independently; it has to follow a clear research question. Broadly speaking, you are expected to apply the theoretical, methodological and empirical knowledge and competences acquired in the study programme; the topic and research question of the MA Dissertation should conform to the objectives of the MA. It should reflect your specialisation within the field of migration studies and/or intercultural relations.
The topic of the MA dissertation may relate to any of the modules in the course, as long as competent examiners are available who are willing to commit themselves to supervising. Connecting the topic of your dissertation with the research project conducted during the internship is very welcome but not obligatory.
Upon completion of the programme, i.e. after the two examiners have finally assessed your MA dissertation module, you will receive a diploma, stating that you have been awarded a joint Master of Arts degree by the partner universities. The diploma is accompanied by a Transcript and a Diploma Supplement (describing the nature, level, context, content and status of studies that you followed and successfully completed as a student of EMMIR).
As a successful student, you will receive your MA Diploma during a festive event at the University of Oldenburg in early September. The winner of the EMMIR Award for the most innovative MA Thesis will be announced during the ceremony. If you are not able to attend the ceremony you may request to receive the diploma by regular mail.
Award for the Most Innovative MA Thesis
The EMMIR Consortium will award a prize for the most innovative MA dissertation of each cohort. An announcement (including details and criteria) will be made available before the start of the fourth semester.
Good Academic Practice
You are required to attend all scheduled classes, tutorials, and other forms of meetings with teachers and/or fellow students. Teachers have to be notified in advance (i.e. no later than two hours before the appointment) in case you cannot be present at any of those occasions. You are allowed to miss a maximum of three meetings per module and semester; if you miss more classes and/or fail to notify teachers on time, you might fail the module or be asked to take an oral exam to successfully complete a module. Teachers may decide to oblige you to sign attendance sheets.
We want you to present your own learning and research efforts. Your work has to reflect the outcomes of your learning. The deliberate use of someone else’s language, ideas or other original (i.e. not common-knowledge) material without acknowledging its source is considered plagiarism. Such sources include texts published in print or online, manuscripts and the work of other student writers. Therefore, we will not accept any written assignment that fails to identify sources for your analysis that do not represent results of your own research.
If you submit written work using unauthorised or unidentified materials, your performance in the examination concerned will be rated as “failed”. In particularly serious or repeated cases of plagiarism, students will be suspended from the EMMIR programme by the Consortium Committee. The EMMIR degree is then conclusively failed. Please note that you are always required to submit soft copies of your assignments and that the EMMIR consortium makes use of software tools that make it very easy to spot plagiarism!
EMMIR has a high respect for the individual diversity of its students and scholars. EMMIR participants are diverse in nationality, ethnicity, gender, sexual orientation, religion and class. Our Anti-Discrimination Policy is the basis for working together towards the realisation of an atmosphere of equal opportunities, including the use of an inclusive language, and the elimination of discrimination. Should you feel being discriminated against at any point in your studies and against whatever background by fellow students, teachers or other staff, please make use of the local structures at partner institutions or get in contact with the EMMIR team.
There are a lot of different style guides for writing papers and citing sources in English language. The most common are, for example, MLA style, APA style, and Harvard style. You are free to choose which one you want to use for your papers and theses, but you have to make sure that, once you chose, you have to stick to one style for the whole text.
You can find information on style guides for example at:
- MLA style: owl.english.purdue.edu/owl/resource/747/01/
- APA style: www.apastyle.org
- Harvard style: guides.library.uwa.edu.au/friendly.php
Most of your module assignments will be marked by the supervising examiners in charge according to the scale below. A requirement is deemed to have been met if it is given a grade of at least “E”. Grading should be completed no later than three weeks after the deadline for the work submitted.
A = An excellent performance, clearly outstanding. The candidate demonstrates excellent judgement and a high degree of independent thinking.
B = A very good performance. The candidate demonstrates sound judgement and a good degree of independent thinking.
C = A good performance in most areas. The candidate demonstrates a reasonable degree of judgement and independent thinking in the most important areas.
D = A satisfactory performance, but with significant shortcomings. The candidate demonstrates a limited degree of judgement and independent thinking.
E = A performance sufficient to warrant a passing grade, but with serious flaws, errors and shortcomings. The candidate demonstrates a very limited degree of judgement and independent thinking.
F = A performance that does not meet the minimum academic criteria. The candidate demonstrates an absence of both judgement and independent thinking.
If requirements for a particular module consist of several parts, the grade for one module will be generated as the weighted average of all grades obtained in the module. The allocation of grades and weighting will be announced at the beginning of each module.
A grading grid that is used by teachers in EMMIR to assess your assignments will be available via eConsort from early September on.
Feedback on Assignments
You have the right to receive qualitative feedback for each of your assignments. Usually feedback should be given within three weeks after submission of an assignment. If a particular teacher does not answer your feedback request, it usually helps to include the EMMIR team at the University of Oldenburg in your communication with the relevant teacher.
All your assignments – apart from the MA Dissertation – will be graded by one teacher only as it is laid down in the Study and Exam Regulations. If you have the feeling that a grade is “based on false information, that general grading principles were not followed or that the examiner was guided by irrelevant considerations” please check §25 of the Regulations for further information on appeals (you will find this document on your student website).
As a student of EMMIR, you will sign a specific student contract with the EMMIR coordinator, in which terms and conditions are laid down. The contract covers agreements regarding the curriculum, the participation costs, and reasons for exclusion as well as dispute settlement. The contract will be signed during the IP at the University of Oldenburg.
Study and Exam Regulations
In the Study and Exam Regulations you will find all relevant aspects concerning the programme. Here you will also find specifications on how the assessment or grading will be done (EMMIR grading system is following Bologna criteria). The document is binding for all EMMIR students and teachers and should be used as reference while studying EMMIR. For the document see Documents.