BA Theses: guidelines for students

(Anglophone Literary and Cultural Studies)

1. Purpose of BA thesis

The BA thesis is a major piece of independently undertaken research at the conclusion of your degree. The thesis is intended to be the capstone of your studies. This means that it should stand as the most significant piece of work you have done and should be of importance to you both academically and personally.

Outstanding BA theses can be nominated for the Vilém Mathesius Award.

 

Expectations and goals:

The BA thesis is a scholarly work, therefore students need to keep in mind that it will be judged in academic terms. At a most general level, students in the final year of their studies at BA level are expected to display competence in a number of areas:

  1. Doing research in a systematic and developed manner
  2. Comprehension of texts/materials and analytic response to texts/materials
  3. Writing in a clear and grammatically correct manner
  4. Presenting a logical and thoughtful argument
  5. Ethical use of sources

The goals of the BA thesis are to give students the opportunity to

  1. Demonstrate the above skills in a substantial work
  2. Test and apply knowledge gained in the course of their study
  3. Develop their own interests in the field (perhaps with a view to future work or study)
  4. Engage in a research journey that will, it is hoped, enrich them intellectually

2. Choice of topic

A B.A. thesis need not be focused on introducing new research results, it may also present an independent survey of existing research in the field.

Students are free to select any topic that falls within Anglophone Literary and Cultural Studies, however there are certain boundaries. When selecting a topic students should consider:

  1. specialisations of potential supervisors (is there someone available who can advise you on the topic?)
  2. availability of primary texts and/or research materials (if there are no, or very few materials on your chosen topic available, then it may be wise to rethink the practicality of beginning work on such a topic)
  3. the limitations imposed by the maximum required length of the BA thesis (can the topic be effectively and successfully explored within 40 standardized pages of text [72 000 characters])

Students should avoid the following:

  1. Topics that are too broad
  2. Topics that can be fully researched with only one source
  3. Biographical studies

3. Choice of supervisor

Students should consult the departmental website for staff areas of specialisation and contact the appropriate member of staff with a draft proposal (see below).

4. Preparation of a proposal/prospectus

Students should prepare a prospectus/proposal (300-500 words) discussing the subject, method and structure of the thesis, a short list of secondary literature (at least 5 titles), and an expected time of the submission of the thesis.

Proposals should provide answers to the following questions / address the following issues:

  1. Why do you think this is a topic you would like to research?
  2. What are your objectives? What is your core argument or thesis?
  3. What reading have you done so far? What materials are available? Can you foresee any problems or obstacles to your research? Methodology – how will you approach the topic, is there a theoretical approach that seems relevant.

A student may be refused by the supervisor:

  1. if her/his proposal/prospectus does not fulfil these requirements,
  2. if the proposal/prospectus is too ambitious, if the supervisor thinks it unlikely to be executed within the given time limit, or if the student does not prove to have access to sufficient library resources.

Any MAJOR changes in the proposal/prospectus must be made in writing and endorsed by the supervisor.

5. Deadline for consultation of topic with supervisor

Students are advised to think about their BA thesis topic early in the third semester of study. Potential supervisors must be contacted, and a draft proposal submitted to the supervisor in the required format. Failure to consult with a potential supervisor and to produce an acceptable proposal will result in delayed assignment of the thesis and therefore extension of BA studies.

6. Deadline for assignment of the thesis (Zadání bakalářské práce)

Following the approval of the thesis proposal by the supervisor, a thesis topic will be assigned to the student in the SIS information system. The student must subsequently upload the approved proposal in the system. The proposal will then be printed by the department, signed by the supervisor and department head, and handed over to the Dean of faculty for approval. The regulations stipulate that students must have their thesis proposal approved in the SIS one year prior to the defense of the thesis. Thesis proposals may be submitted at any time of the year. Step-by-step instructions concerning the submission of the thesis proposal may be downloaded through the link provided in the download section of this page (thesis submission manual).

7. Structure and format of thesis

Guidelines for the presentation and format of BA theses are as follows:

  1. Extent of the thesis
    Minimum 45 pages in all – including:
    • thesis abstract in 500 words (in both Czech and English)
    • minimum 40 standardized pages of text (1 standardized page = 30 lines per page, 60 characters per line), excluding bibliography
  2. Language
    The language of preference is English (the use of Czech is possible in cases where the selected topic requires it; the standard of language is part of the assessment)
  3. Structure
    Theses are composed of the following components:
    • Title page (see format requirements in subsection d. below)
    • Declaration page – this must be signed (see format requirements in subsection e. below)
    • Thesis abstract (Czech and English)
    • Table of contents page
    • Chapter 1: Introduction of project, aims, argument, structure, methodology (this may include theoretical, or contextual, framework for project)
    • Chapters 2-4: Development of argument / analysis (the number of ‘body’ chapters is not fixed but within the perimeters of a BA dissertation usually not more than 3)
    • Chapter 5: Conclusion, reiteration of argument, discussion of results, suggestions for further research, etc...
    • Bibliography
    • Appendices (if required)
  4. Format
    Students may also consult the respective section of Dean´s Decree no. 21/2010; however, the layout of the thesis and the format of citations and bibliography must follow the rules outlined below.
    Format of the title page:
    UNIVERZITA KARLOVA V PRAZE - FILOZOFICKÁ FAKULTA
    ÚSTAV ANGLOFONNÍCH LITERATUR A KULTUR
    (Title of Thesis) ........................
    BAKALÁŘSKÁ PRÁCE
    vedoucí bakalářské práce(supervisor):
    Prof. PhDr. Martin Procházka, Dr.Sc.

    Praha, month 200..
    Zpracoval/a (author):
    John Smith
    studijní obor (subject/s):
    Anglistika a amerikanistika – historie
    Second page - declaration:
    Prohlašuji, že jsem tuto bakalářskou práci vypracoval/a samostatně, že jsem řádně citoval/a všechny použité prameny a literaturu a že práce nebyla využita v rámci jiného vysokoškolského studia či k získání jiného či stejného titulu.
    V Praze dne .........
    (I declare that the following BA thesis is my own work for which I used only the sources and literature mentioned, and that this thesis has not been used in the course of other university studies or in order to acquire the same or another type of diploma).
    Prague, date .........)
    (On the pages following this there may be acknowledgements to the consultant, supervisor and permission: Souhlasím se zapůjčením bakalářské práce ke studijním účelům. I have no objections to the BA thesis being borrowed and used for study purposes.)
    NB This page must be signed by the student.
  5. References to literature in text
    Students are required to cite primary and secondary materials using MLA format footnotes. Exact details of materials used is expected, i.e. publication details and page numbers/website addresses of sources. Please consult GUIDELINES for ACADEMIC ESSAYS (downloadable from departmental website) or materials from Academic Writing. Footnotes should be numbered consecutively and should begin from 1 in each chapter.
  6. Bibliographical data to be provided in the list of references
    Students are required to list all material cited in the thesis. MLA format for bibliographies must be followed. Please consult GUIDELINES for ACADEMIC ESSAYS or materials from Academic Writing.

8. Research and plagiarism

All sources (primary and secondary) MUST be cited in a transparent manner. Students MUST follow the MLA guidelines for both the format of footnotes and the format of the bibliography in the thesis.

Plagiarism will not be tolerated. Misuse of source will result in a failing grade.

9. Work with supervisor

  1. Students should agree upon a working schedule with their supervisor.
  2. Students must consult every individual chapter of their theses, and, if necessary, also the progress of material research, with their supervisors.
  3. It is the student’s responsibility to respect agreed deadlines for the submission of chapters or other work. Failure to respect the agreed working schedule may result in postponement of the final BA examination. Submitted work should always be carefully proofread and appropriately formatted with sources cited in MLA format.

10. Submission of final work

  1. BA theses must be submitted three weeks before their defence at the very latest. Supervisors may further specify a submission deadline to their students. The failure to submit the thesis on time may lead to the postponement of its defence.
  2. BA theses are submitted in 2 hard-bound copies and in an electronic form through the Information system. Step-by-step instructions concerning the submission of the thesis proposal may be downloaded through the link provided in the Download section of this page (thesis submission manual).
  3. Supervisors are responsible for admitting their students to the defence. If the submitted thesis is unfinished or if it has serious faults (including formal ones, such as the quality or style of bibliographical references, language standard of the text including spelling and misprints, or the absence of a Czech/English summary), supervisors must not recommend it for the defence or must order the student to correct the formal faults as soon as possible.
  4. Submitted and defended theses are stored in UK Digital repository.

11. Selection of opponent

Supervisors are responsible for choosing and notifying opponents of their theses.