Course:APBI498

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Undergraduate Essay
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APBI 498
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Purpose

The purpose of the essay is to provide an opportunity during your final year for you to undertake independent study, under direction of a faculty member, in a subject are of interest to you. A substantial effort is expected of you. The quality of the work must be good, grammar and structure must be acceptable, and statements made substantiated by references or data where appropriate.

General Guidance

You should consult your thesis academic advisor periodically. Weekly or bi-weekly meetings, at a time mutually agreed upon, are recommended. It is essential for a good learning experience that a healthy collaboration be developed. Frequent contact and stimulating dialogues will help make the essay a rewarding experience for all involved.

Organization of the Essay

The material in the essay should be placed in the following order:

  1. Title page
  2. Abstract or Executive Summary, followed by a short list of key words
  3. Table of Contents, Index of Tables and Index of Figures
  4. Main body of the thesis
  5. References
  6. Appendices (if any)

Marking Process

Your essay will be read, marked, and commented upon by your academic supervisor. The supervisor will select a second reader for your essay, for comments before assigning a final mark. The advisors' comments will be returned to you via e-mail to the address listed on the UBC Student System after the grades have been finalized. The hardcopies of your thesis/essay will be destroyed (recycled) unless special arrangements are made by you to retrieve one or both copies. The grade assigned to the thesis/essay will only be available to you as part of your official academic record, except when warranted by exceptional circumstances, whereby the Associate Dean, Undergraduate Studies for Forestry will inform you of your grade.

The electronic .doc version of your essay will be submitted to the TurnItIn software package by the course coordinator. This software will be used to identify the possibility of plagiarism within your essay, from either web-based sources or from other works included in the database. You are reminded that plagiarism constitutes serious academic misconduct and that it can result in penalties up to and including permanent withdrawal from the University. You are encouraged to learn about what plagiarism entails and to discuss ways of avoiding it with your advisors or the course coordinator. Information on the TurnItIn software can be obtained at www.turnitin.com. If an advisor or a student suspects that part or any of the essay is plagiarized, this should be brought to the attention of the Course Coordinator. Instances of plagiarism will be subject to the academic discipline procedure as outlined in the Academic Calendar under "Student Discipline".

You should treat the formal submission of your essay as final. However, the essays that are deemed to be unacceptable for a variety of reasons may be returned to you for modifications prior to assigning a final grade. Advisors should discuss the situation with the Course Coordinator before a decision is reached as to whether to return an essay for modifications or to assign a failing grade. The usual consequences of an essay being returned for modifications is a delay in when you can graduate. If your essay receives a failing grade, you must re-register in the course and choose a new topic.

Grade Guidelines

(90-100%): This grade is an indication of an outstanding piece of work. The essay is extremely well-written and organized. There is good evidence of creativity and critical analysis.

(80-89%): There exists a high level of quality throughout all aspects of the work. The essay is well-written, with only minimal typographical and editorial errors. The topic is well-researched and presented. An excellent understanding of the relevant issues is demonstrated. Very good critical thinking and/or analysis skills are evident.

(70-79%): There is generally good quality throughout the work. The essay is reasonably well-written, with only minimal typographical and minor editorial errors. The topic is adequately researched and presented. A good understanding of the relevant issues is demonstrated. Some critical thinking and/or analysis skills are evident, but the thrust of the paper is primarily descriptive.

(60-69%): There are several problems of the significance with the work. The essay likely demonstrates only marginally acceptable writing, with sufficient typographical and editorial errors to detract from the presentation. The organization of the essay is acceptable, but concrete suggestions could be made for improvements. Only a moderate understanding of the relevant issues is demonstrated. Evidence of critical thinking and/or analysis is minimal.

(50-59%): There are a number of serious flaws with the work. The essay is poorly written, with sufficient typographical and editorial errors present to significantly detract from the presentation. There may be significant concerns about the organization of the essay. Only a marginal understanding of the relevant issues is demonstrated. Evidence of critical thinking and/or analysis is minimal.

Failure (<50%): A failing grade indicates an unacceptable essay. The quality of writing is poor and there may be significant concerns about the organization of the essay. A very poor understanding of the relevant issues is demonstrated. There is little or no evidence of critical thinking and/or analysis. Often, the student has ignored or totally failed to seek help/advice from his/her advisors.