For Students

Guidelines for B.A. Thesis or M.A. Thesis

Please come to my office hours to discuss your ideas for the B.A. or M.A. thesis as early as possible. After our discussion, I will ask you to write and hand in a paper proposal, in which you present your thesis statement and briefly outline your theoretical approach and (intended) line of argumentation.

Guidelines for Oral Exams (B.A./M.A./M.Ed.) in American Studies

Note: Please come to my office hours to consult with me some time before the registration at the “Prüfungsamt” starts.

B.A. Guidelines

Procedure:

  • The exam is 30 minutes and consists of 2 topics.
  • Both topics are subject to examination (approx. 15 minutes for each topic).
  • One of the two topics can be examined in German, if this was discussed with me before the exam.
  • The first topic can be introduced with a brief statement (2-3 minutes), which can give a general introduction to the topic, can refer to a specific aspect of the topic, or can elaborate one of the theses that were handed in (see below).

Preparation:

  • The scope of each of the two topics is comparable to what one would cover in one seminar.
  • Aim: In the course of the examination, you need to show:
    – that you have a comprehensive understanding, including detailed analytical knowledge of the texts on your reading list,
    – that you are able to analyze specific passages (both the form and the content) of these texts if you are asked to do so,
    – that you are able to recognize and discuss differences and similarities between the texts on the list,
    – that you have adequate knowledge of the literary/cultural/historical contexts of your topic beyond the texts that are on your reading list,
    – that you can contextualize your topic within the larger cultural and literary history of the United States,
    – that you are able to respond to unexpected questions and issues raised during the examination.

Please hand in the following documents

To be send to:
Heike.Steinhoff[at]rub.de

  1. A reading list of primary sources consisting of 5 ‘substantial cultural/literary/theoretical texts’ for each topic (to be handed in before you register for the exam). One ‘substantial cultural/literary/theoretical text’ is approximately equivalent to: one novel, 3-5 short stories, 2 feature films, one season of a television series, 3-5 poems, 1-2 plays, 1-2 theoretical texts. The exam is based on these texts. A mixture of genres is advisable.
  2. A list of sufficient secondary sources is required 2 weeks before the exam. “Sufficient” in this case means that for each ‘substantial’ primary text at least 2 secondary texts should be read. These should not consist of general introductory texts or encyclopedia entries, which should be consulted in addition.
  3. No later than 1 week before the exam you need to hand in 3-5 theses which you have formulated for each topic (length: 3-5 sentences). These theses are part of your preparation for the exam; they will not be graded. They may, but do not have to be discussed during the exam. The aim of these theses is to create connections between the primary texts in each topic. This will help you prepare for the exam in which we will jump quickly from one text to another.

M.A. Guidelines:

Procedure:

3 topics, the scope of each of the three topics is comparable to what one would cover in one seminar, all topics need to be approved by the examiner.

  • The exam is 45 min. and consists of three topics.
  • All of the three topics are subject to examination (approx. 15 minutes for each topic).
  • The examiner decides with which topic the exam begins.
  • The first topic can be introduced with a brief statement (2-3 minutes), which can give a general introduction to the topic, can refer to a specific aspect of that topic, or can elaborate one of the theses that were handed in (see below).
Preparation:

The scope of each of the three topics is comparable to what one would cover in one seminar. You may choose the topic of one seminar you attended or choose a topic yourself. All of the topics need to be approved by the examiner.

Please hand in the following documents:

To be send to: Heike.Steinhoff[at]rub.de

  1. A reading list of primary sources consisting of 5 ‘substantial cultural/literary/theoretical texts’ for each topic (to be handed in before you register for the exam). One ‘substantial cultural/literary/theoretical text’ is approximately equivalent to one novel. The exam is based on these texts.
  2. A list of sufficient secondary sources is required 2 weeks before the exam. “Sufficient” in this case means that for each ‘substantial’ primary text at least 2 secondary texts should be read. These should not consist of general introductory texts or encyclopedia entries, which should be consulted in addition.
  3. No later than 1 week before the exam you need to hand in 3-5 theses which you have formulated for each topic (length: 3-5 sentences). These theses are part of your preparation for the exam; they will not be graded. They may, but do not have to be discussed during the exam. The aim of these theses is to create connections between the primary texts in each topic. This will help you prepare for the exam in which we will jump quickly from one text to another.

Master of Education Guidelines:

Procedure:
  • There are two examiners of the English Seminar, each of them examines one, two, or all three topics, the other takes the minutes of the parts that s/he is not examining.
  • The exam is 45 minutes.
  • All of the topics are subject to examination (approx. 15 minutes for each topic).
  • If more than one topic is in American Studies, the examiner decides with which topic the exam begins.
  • If more than one topic is in American Studies, the first topic can be introduced with a brief statement (2-3 minutes), which can give a general introduction to the topic, can refer to a specific aspect of that topic, or can elaborate one of the theses that were handed in (see below).
Preparation American Studies (Lit and CS):
  • 1 or 2 or 3 topics (see above) in American Studies.
  • The scope of each topic is comparable to what one would cover in one seminar. You may choose the topic of one seminar you attended or choose a topic yourself. All of the topics need to be approved by the examiner.
  • A reading list of primary sources consisting of 5 ‘substantial cultural/literary/theoretical texts’ for each topic (to be handed in before you register for the exam via email). One ‘substantial cultural/literary/theoretical text’ is approximately equivalent to one novel. The exam is based on these texts.
  • A list of sufficient secondary sources is required 2 weeks before the exam. “Sufficient” in this case means that for each ‘substantial’ primary text at least 2 secondary texts should be read. These should not consist of general introductory texts or encyclopedia entries, which should be consulted in addition.
  • No later than 1 week before the exam you need to hand in 3-5 theses which you have formulated for each topic (length: 3-5 sentences). These theses are part of your preparation for the exam; they will not be graded. They may, but do not have to be discussed during the exam. The aim of these theses is to create connections between the primary texts in each topic. This will help you prepare for the exam in which we will jump quickly from one text to another.



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