Academic Policies

This page outlines and explains all the Academic Policies for undergraduate courses offered in the Department of Languages and Cultures. All undergraduate course outlines refer to this page. Please also note the Departmental Practices and Support Services for Students. 

1. Course Selection

Students are responsible for ensuring that their selection of courses is appropriate and accurately recorded and that all course prerequisites have been successfully completed, and that they are aware of any anti-requisite course(s) that they have taken. If the student does not have the requisites for a course, the University reserves the right to remove the student from the course and to delete it from the student's record. This decision may not be appealed. A student will receive no adjustment to his or her fees in the event that he or she is dropped from a course for failing to have the necessary prerequisites.  

For literature, culture and linguistics courses this means that you need to check your academic record. In LC usually only 1000 level and courses numbered 2000-2199 do not have prerequisites.

If you are a first year student enrolling in a language and/or culture course taught in a target language, and you have some background in that language and/or culture please refer to the Languages Placement Test. The website outlines the objectives for taking a test, as well as the repercussions for misinformation:

Misrepresenting your abilities on the LC language placement test will be considered a violation of the Code of Student Conduct. The Department reserves the right to transfer a student out of a course, if it is deemed that the student does not have the appropriate level of language for the course.

 Student are required to adhere to the Student Code of Conduct.

 Please find the Office of the Registrar here.

2. Academic accommodation

Students seeking academic accommodation on medical or non-medical grounds for any missed tests, exams, participation components and/or assignments must apply to the Academic Counseling office of their home Faculty and provide documentation. Academic accommodation cannot be granted by the instructor or department. Please refer to the Accommodation for Illness - Undergraduate Students.

In other words, if you need to be absent from class on medical, compassionate, legal grounds, etc. you may request academic accommodation based on a professionally documented reason. Download and complete the appropriate form and present it at your home faculty counseling office, which in turn advises the instructor of the accommodation needed.

Instructors will indicate on their syllabus how they will be dealing with accommodation of work worth less than 10% of the total course grade. The instructor may individually accommodate the student by allowing the assessment still to be completed or by re-weighting course requirements. The instructor may also suggest that you seek formal academic accommodation as it allows your absence not to affect your participation grade.

For further types of academic accommodation including accommodation for students with disabilities, students in reserve forces, students observing religious holidays, please see Academic Accommodation for Students with Disabilities. 

3. Mental Health

Students who are in emotional/mental distress should refer to Mental Health@Western  for a complete list of options about how to obtain help.

Mental Health can be defined as “the capacity to feel, think and act in ways that enhance our ability to enjoy life and deal with the challenges we face.”  (Public Health Agency of Canada) If you are not well, please seek help and if someone you know is feeling overwhelmed, please listen and encourage them to seek help.

4. Participation

Participation means not only attendance, but an active engagement in the class. Students who miss classes or parts of classes are responsible for the material they have missed. Instructors are not obliged to review the contents of lectures, repeat announcements or retain notes, handouts or overheads.

Any student who, in the opinion of the instructor, is absent too frequently from class or laboratory periods in any course, will be reported to the Dean of the Faculty offering the course (after due warning has been given). On the recommendation of the department concerned, and with the permission of the Dean of that Faculty, the student will be debarred from taking the regular examination in the course. The Dean of the Faculty offering the course will communicate that decision to the Dean of the Faculty of Registration.

Absences from class which prevent you from participating in the course can have very serious repercussions. If you are deemed to be absent too frequently, which usually means more than three unexcused absences per term, you will receive an email citing this policy and warning you, that if there is no change in behavior, you will not be allowed to take the final examination.

5. Academic Offenses

Scholastic offences are taken seriously and students are directed to read the appropriate policy, specifically, the definition of what constitutes a Scholastic Offence.

Plagiarism is a major academic offense. Plagiarism is the inclusion of someone else’s verbatim or paraphrased text in one’s own written work without immediate reference. Verbatim text must be surrounded by quotation marks or indented if it is longer than four lines. A reference must follow right after borrowed material (usually the author’s name and page number). Without immediate reference to borrowed material, a list of sources at the end of a written assignment does not protect a writer against the possible charge of plagiarism.

Scholastic offenses are primarily forms of cheating. The range of offences include, but are not limited to, plagiarism, cheating on an examination, falsifying material subject to academic evaluation by recycling a paper, misrepresenting work completed by someone else, co-authored work or group work as individually done, and aiding or abetting any such offense. These offenses are taken very seriously by the University and are treated as such. Penalties range from a failing grade for the assignment or the course to suspension or even expulsion from the University.  

Your instructor will be happy to show you a proper method of documenting your sources. Courses in literature and culture in the department usually require the use of MLA format which represents the consensus of researchers in the fields of literature and cultural studies of how information should be cited and referenced. Courses in linguistics usually require the use of APA format. Please check with your instructor. Weldon Library offers style guides under

All required papers may be subject to submission for textual similarity review to the commercial plagiarism detection software under license to the University for the detection of plagiarism. All papers submitted for such checking will be included as source documents in the reference database for the purpose of detecting plagiarism of papers subsequently submitted to the system. Use of the service is subject to the licensing agreement, currently between The University of Western Ontario and

The University of Western Ontario uses a plagiarism-checking web site called Many instructors require that written assignments to be submitted electronically to is a service designed to help students protect the copyright in their work and professors to identify plagiarism. Instructors will receive a report from the website determining each paper’s “originality content.” The Department will assign penalties when plagiarism is discovered, or when there is a significant discrepancy between the electronic version and the hard copy. More information is available at

6. Electronic Devices

Unless stated explicitly on a specific course outline, the use electronic devices will not be permitted during tests and examinations.   

7. Proficiency in English

Students are reminded that University policy requires proficiency in English to be taken into account in the assignment of grades in all courses taught in English. See English language proficiency for Assignment of Grades.

8. Final Deadline for All Outstanding Assignments

All course work (with the exception of final examinations) must be submitted by the last day of classes.

Students seeking return of course work after the last meeting of the term should make arrangements with their instructor prior to the end of term. Exceptions to these work submission dates may be granted only as a result of petition to the Academic Counselor of the student’s faculty of registrations. Instructors have no authority to waive this requirement, and any unofficial arrangements they make with students will not be respected by the administration. This does not preclude instructors from setting earlier deadlines for course work.

Academic Policies on examinations, appeals may be found in the Academic Calendar under Student Academic Appeals - Undergraduate.

For further information, please contact the LC Undergraduate Chair, your Faculty’s Academic Counselor, or the Ombudsperson.

9. Departmental Practices

  • All course outlines contain the contact information for instructors and teaching assistants. Please use only UWO addresses for official email communication and follow proper email etiquette.
  • Students should submit course work directly to their instructor or tutorial leader during class or office hours. 
If you are unable to submit an assignment during class or office hours, there is an assignment drop-box available outside of University College 115. It will be cleared daily at 3:45pm and all assignments will be date-stamped the current date. Staff members will not accept assignments. All work submitted must clearly state:


                       Student's name

                       Student's ID number

                       Course number

                       Instructor or tutorial leader's name


 Final marks for courses can be obtained from your Student Center Instructors are not   permitted to release final grades.

10. Support Services for Students

  • The Student Development Center includes the writing support center and learning skills services, services for indigenous students, services for international students, services for students with disabilities and psychological services:
  • The Student Success Center helps students with all areas of career management, but includes a wide range of programs for First Year Students, Mature Students, Scholars and those interested in leadership training.
  • Please see Western's Mental Health Support services here and general Health and Wellness services here. The Faculty of Arts and Humanities also offers Academic Counselling services  and the Department of Languages and Cultures offers program and course mentorship and other supports as well.
  • Information on a wide range of other services is found at