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Student information

Student email

The University's online learning tools use your student email address to communicate with you. If you do not wish to use this address, you should forward all incoming emails to your preferred email address. Instructions on how to do this can be found in the AskOtago service portal:

Forwarding University of Otago student email to another email address (PDF)

If you choose to use your student email address for all correspondence related to the online learning tools which your course uses (the default) then it is essential that you check your student email address regularly.


Blackboard is the learning management system used at the University of Otago. It allows lecturers to upload lecture notes, reading lists, assessment information and other course-related material to each paper's Blackboard site so that students may access them. It may also hold things such as additional literary resources, videoconference podcasts, audioconference podcasts, Otago Connect recordings and facilities for online discussion. It also contains functions that enables students and teachers to interact via class announcements, email, discussion boards and tools used for assessing students, such as online tests and assignment submission.

To access Blackboard, log in with your University username and password at the address below:

For further information and help using Blackboard, visit the AskOtago service portal:

Blackboard – AskOtago service portal

Class representatives

You will be asked to nominate class representatives who will meet with the Head of Programme to provide feedback on each course.  This is an important role which is valued by the Politics Programme and can be added to the service section of your CV . OUSA provides training and resources:

Class reps – OUSA support


In the course outline that comes with your paper, your lecturer will set out the assessment tasks for your particular course. The following section provides information about the standard procedures with respect to assessment in relation to assignments and (if you have one) the exam.
It is recommended that students check their internal assessment grades in eVision throughout the semester and should any discrepancies be noted, contact the programme as soon as possible.

Submitting your assignment

Most assignments are submitted on blackboard - please check your course outline and information provided by your co-ordinator.

Submitting an assignment in Blackboard – AskOtago service portal


Deadlines, extensions and late submission

Essays must be handed in by the due date unless an extension has been granted by the lecturer in charge of the paper.

To request an extension, download and complete the extension application form:

Politics assignment extension application form (DOCX)

Completed forms must be submitted via email in advance of the assignment due date.


No retrospective application will be accepted, except in the case of serious medical condition, for which a medical certificate is required.

Extensions will be granted only for the following cases:

  1. Ill-health
  2. Bereavement
  3. Personal difficulties of a serious nature
  4. Provincial or national representative activities
  5. Job interviews outside Dunedin.

Nothing else (such as pressure of other university work) will be accepted as a legitimate reason for extensions.  Computer problems do not constitute an exceptional circumstance unless it is an officially notified failure of University equipment.

Your application for an extension must be accompanied by evidence:

  1. Medical certificate for ill-health
  2. Documentary evidence for bereavement
  3. Written statement in support of your application from another university officer for personal difficulties of a serious nature
  4. Documentary evidence for provincial or national representative activities

No other evidence will be accepted.  The evidence must be submitted to the Politics Programme, at the same time as the application for an extension either in hard copy or as an email attachment of scanned image.

Application with evidence does not guarantee the grant of extensions.  The maximum length of an extension is ONE WEEK, i.e. five working days (except the case of serious medical conditions).  Work that is more than one week late without an extension may be commented on but will not be graded.

Unless otherwise stated in the course guide, late essays will be penalised by a grade deduction of 5% for each day of lateness.  Thus, for example, an essay handed in three days late which received a grade of 65% (B-) would be lowered to 50% (C-).

Return of marked work

As most assignments are submitted on blackboard you can access your mark and feedback there.  You will be advised by your co-ordinator if there is to be a hard copy hand back.

Style and formatting

Please note that every essay should have a cover sheet attached. This should include:

  • The paper code of your paper
  • Your name and student identification number
  • Your lecturer's name
  • Your tutor (if this applies)
  • The date
  • A word count (this is optional, but your lecturer may require it)

The programme does not have a specific referencing style, the emphasis is on the consistent application of the chosen style selected by the student. For recommended referencing style please click here.


The University of Otago takes the issue of plagiarism—presenting someone else's work as your own—very seriously. Plagiarism is regarded by the University as one form of academic misconduct. Any of the following may constitute plagiarism and result in investigation and possible punishment:

  1. copying or cutting and pasting text from others without using quotation marks or block quotes to identify that text, nor clearly indicating the source (this includes paper and electronic sources)
  2. copying visual materials, images and/or physical objects without clearly indicating the source
  3. using poor paraphrasing of sentences or whole passages without referencing the original work
  4. using another person's ideas, work or research data without acknowledgment
  5. copying computer files or computer code without clearly indicating their origin
  6. submitting another student's work in whole or in part, where this is not specifically permitted in the course outline
  7. submitting work that has been written by someone else on a student's behalf
  8. resubmitting portions of previously submitted work without indicating the source.

Note that the University's policy on academic integrity states that while plagiarism can be unintentional or intentional, even if it is unintentional, it is still considered to be plagiarism.
Any student found responsible for plagiarism in any piece of work submitted for assessment shall be subject to the University's academic misconduct regulations, which may result in various penalties, including forfeiture of marks for the piece of work submitted, a zero grade for the paper, or in extreme cases exclusion from the University. The University of Otago reserves the right to use plagiarism tools.


  • All Assignments submitted in the Politics Programme must be prefaced with a student Plagiarism Declaration Form to this effect.

For more information on plagiarism and the University's response to all  forms of dishonest practice, click here.


If the paper has an exam, students will be notified of the date, time and location via the Timetable section of their eVision portal.  This information can also be found on the examinations website link below.

The anticipated dates for the release of examination timetables are:

Summer School - late January
Semester One - mid-April
Semester Two - mid-August

If there is a problem with the date, time or venue, for your exam (referred to as a Variation), contact the examinations office.  Applications for Variations must be received by the following deadlines:

Summer School Papers: 1 February
Semester One Papers: 1 May
Semester Two Papers: 1 September

For advice on this and all other exam matters, see the examinations website.
Please note that to find out your final result in a paper you should check your eVision student portal around two weeks after the exam period has ended.

Special consideration

Final Examinations:
If you feel your performance in an exam has been impaired for any reason we suggest you apply for special consideration. Applications can only be made through your eVision student portal. Further information can be found here.

Note that your application must be received within five calendar days of the last examination for which you are seeking Special Consideration, e.g. if your last exam is on the 20th, your application is due no later than the 25th.

During the Semester:
If you are affected by illness or other exceptional circumstances during the teaching period you are expected to inform the Head of Department directly (not individual lecturers or tutors) at the time.


All grading will follow the University's standard scale:

90-100  A+
85-89  A
80-84  A-
75-79  B+
70-74  B
65-69  B-
60-64  C+
55-59  C
50-54  C-
40-49  Fail D
Below 40  Fail E

The benchmark criteria for each band are:

A- to A+: Very High AchievementWork reflects original and independent criticism, showing full awareness of the implications of the question, cogently argued with wide range of reference and appropriate illustration, fluently expressed.

B to B+: High AchievementWork shows depth of understanding and breadth of knowledge, ability to challenge the question, efficient organisation and illustration, confident expression.

C+ to B-: Sound Achievement
Work amounts to a sound, readable answer covering the essentials of the question, with points clearly stated, references relevant, evidence of insight and personal response.

C- to C: Pass Achievement
Work is of average and predictable quality, rather derivative, covering obvious points, relevant but limited in discussion and in supporting evidence, reasonably expressed.

D: Fail
Work indicates some ability to quote or refer to a text, but material does not properly fit the question, relevant only by implication, expression basic.

E: Clear Fail
Work is in a range from complete incoherence or irrelevance to answers which show some knowledge of text(s) but little ability to apply it (them). answers with substantial amounts of irrelevant material (biographical, narrative, anecdotal) will usually fall in the upper end of this category.

Support and resources

There is a lot of support available to you. We strongly suggest you take the time to find out where it is and how it can help you in your study.

The Politics Programme

Approach your Lecturer in the first instance if you need assistance in this particular paper.

If you have a general administrative query or for academic course advice you can contact the Politics Programme.

If you want to come in to see the Politics staff we are located on the fourth floor of the Arts building at 95 Albany Street.

If you need to post something to the Politics Programme, please use this address:
Politics Programme, University of Otago, P.O. Box 56, Dunedin 9054

The library

Library Liaison

Kate Knox
Office: Central Library
Tel +64 3 479 8976

Self Help resources

This guide offers tips and techniques in developing independent research & information skills.

Library Website

The Library website provides online access to resources and services, including the Catalogue, Library Search, Article Databases, Group Room Bookings, Hours, Library Locations, Library
News, New Books, Exam Papers, Subject Guides, and more!
Library Website:

Politics Subject Guides

These guides will help you find information for your assignments including articles, books, websites and more!

Ask a Question

Library staff at any Lending and i desk are available Monday to Friday, 9am to 6pm. Try these people first to answer any questions you might have about using the Library and its resources.
Phone: 64 3 479 8910

Study Smart

The Study Smart tab in Blackboard offers advice and links to services and resources to help you with your studies.  It includes information about the Library, Student IT and the Student
Learning Centre.

Library links in Blackboard

The Library Study Smart tab in Blackboard offers advice and links to services and resources to help you with your studies. It includes information about the Library, Student IT and the Student Learning Centre. Your paper may also have direct links to the Library Subject Guides and Self-Help Guide.

ITS ServiceDesk

Students may seek assistance from the University's ITS ServiceDesk, which is staffed during term time on weekdays from 8:30am until 9:00pm and weekend days from 10:00am until 5:00pm, Ph 0800 479888, email.

Student Learning Centre

The Student Learning Centre offers assistance in note-taking, writing essays and taking exams via their website. You may also contact the Centre and ask to speak to a learning advisor:
Phone 03 479 5786;  Email

Disability information and support

Disability Information and Support provides a wide range of support services for students with impairments, medical conditions, or injuries. This support includes:

  • Copies of lecture notes
  • Loan of specific equipment
  • Reformatting of course material
  • One-on-one tutoring
  • Alternative examination arrangements

To arrange support, students are advised to make an appointment to talk with a Student Advisor as early as possible. This will enable students to discuss the learning support they may require while studying. Any information disclosed to Disability Information and Support is held in complete confidence. More information can be found here.
Disability Information and Support can be contacted directly: Ph 03 479 8235;  Email
To contact the Politics Programme disability support staff member, email:

Māori student support

Te Kete Aronui - Humanities Division have two Kaiāwhina Māori – Māori Students Support Officers. 
They can be contacted in regard to:

  • Any questions, concerns or complaints.
  • Liaison with general or academic staff.
  • Referral to services available to Māori students.

More information can be found here:
Kaiāwhina Māori Support for Māori students

Other support can be found here:
Māori student support services

Politics Programme Kaiāwhina:
Dr Christine Winter
Tel: +64 479 8667
Room: 4N7, Arts/Burns Building

Pacific Islands student support

The Humanities Divisional Office is here to support all Pacific students enrolled in Humanities papers and degrees.
We are able to help with:

  • Liaising with academic departments and support services with respect to any issues relating to you and your course of study, and
  • facilitating access to pastoral care, student services, course planning advice within the university.

Further information can be found here:
Support for Pacific Islands students

The Pacific Islands Centre can help you with academic assistance, scholarships and accommodation, legal and immigration matters – and more.
For more information about services for Pacific Islands students please see the University's Pacific Islands Centre site.

Support for international students

The Politics Programme encourages international students to seek support if they are having difficulties with their studies or meeting other challenges while they are a student at Otago.

Further information can be found here:
International student support

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