MA Thesis Requirements

CNRS 549 (MA six-credit Thesis) – schedule and description

As part of their degree, students in the Master of Arts programs of CNERS write a thesis. Students undertake to produce a lengthy piece of academic work at an advanced level demonstrating their mastery of core methods and primary materials. This thesis should be the best piece of academic writing that students have done, and consequently requires a commitment of at least 312 hours’ work over the course of the academic year.

Suggested Schedule:

By May 1st of Year 1: identification of thesis advisor and choice of topic, so that student can start preparing proposal over the summer. DGS to coordinate information.

By September 30th of Year 2: thesis advisor, in consultation with the student, selects a second member for the committee. The graduate advisor serves as a member of each committee ex officio to ensure fairness across the cohort.

By October 15th of Year 2: submission of proposal to thesis advisor.

Format of proposal: proposal to consist of a summary of 500-1000 words + bibliography.

Thesis advisor to review proposal, if necessary working with the student to hone it, with a view to accepting it or a modified form by October 31st.

By January 31st: submission of final draft, this draft to be read by all members of the student’s supervisory committee.  The thesis advisor and the second member will return comments to the student by February 15th. The graduate advisor may or may not submit comments.

By March 15th: submission of final version, reflecting the comments of the supervisory committee.

Submission length: the thesis should normally be from a minimum of 15,000 words to a maximum of 18,000 words (excluding notes and bibliography).

Final submission format:

The thesis will include the following:

  • a table of contents,
  • footnotes or endnotes presented in a style approved by the supervisor,
  • a bibliography.

The thesis will be submitted in Times New Roman, 12-point font, and will be double-spaced.

Submission procedures: students will submit four copies of the thesis: one for the supervisor, two for the other readers, and one for the Department.

Assessment: the thesis will be assessed by the supervisor and the two readers.

Minimum standard: the thesis must meet a minimum standard of 76% to be assigned a Pass with Enrolment Services.

Oral examination: it is the thesis advisor’s responsibility to request an examination date from the DGS once the final version of the thesis has been submitted. The DGS will set a date in consultation with the committee. The oral exam will usually take place in late March/early April, (the deadline date for final submission for spring graduations is set by the Graduate School each year). The exam will be attended by the supervisory committee and will be open to other faculty and students in the Department. The examination will start with a presentation by the candidate (15-20 minutes), followed by questions from the committee. At the end of this examination, the committee will confer and determine whether the thesis meets the minimum standard. Even if the thesis meets the minimum standard, the student may be required to either make light or heavy revisions before submitting the thesis to the Graduate School.

Reporting of assessment: when the thesis has been approved, the DGS will submit the grade to the Graduate School by the deadline laid down by the Graduate School (usually mid-April for May degree conferral).

Any student not meeting the deadlines for spring graduation will be required to register again for the thesis for resubmission at the end of the summer or the following academic year with fees for an extra course. If the student plans to submit the thesis during the summer, the above-suggested timeline must be adapted to provide longer periods for each step to accommodate the diverse professional activities of faculty.