University Logo
Master's Degree Thesis or Major Paper

A thesis incorporating the results of an investigation in the field of the major subject may be required of candidates for the Master's degree.

Candidates for some Master's programs may choose, instead of the course of study including a thesis, a program requiring additional course work and/or the submission of a major paper or project on which there will be a final evaluation.
The Major Paper/Project is a scholarly essay/research project that shows evidence of critical analysis and understanding on a topic approved by the student's supervisor and acknowledged by the program coordinator.

The Major Paper/Project committee will include a supervisor, who is a member of graduate faculty, and one other program faculty member. Additional members may be added with the approval of the program coordinator.

Upon completion of the Major Paper/Project each student will deliver a public oral presentation and defense which shall be announced publicly (with a copy sent to the Office of Graduate Studies ) at least eight days in advance. Major Paper/Projects are graded by the committee with letter grades or as Satisfactory or Unsatisfactory.

The Major Paper/Project is not subject to thesis regulations concerning full library binding, copyright application, and microfilming for the National Library, but is deposited in the library and in the departmental office of the program.

The regulations of individual programs should also be consulted for details of their thesis or major paper requirements. Letter grades or Satisfactory/Unsatisfactory may be assigned for theses and major papers, depending on program policy.

Although in some cases it may be acceptable for more than one candidate to make use of a common set of data or research findings, each candidate is responsible for a single-authored thesis/major paper.

The regulations of individual programs should be consulted for details of their procedures. The general format is prescribed in Guidelines for Major Papers, Theses, and Dissertations, which may be obtained from the Administrative Officer in the Office of Graduate Studies or from Within the thesis, the student should use formats approved for scholarly publication in the field of specialization and approved by the program coordinator. Final checking of the general format of the thesis is the responsibility of the Office of Graduate Studies , but the student should consult the Master's committee for instructions as to the internal form of the thesis.

Copies of the Master's thesis must be provided to all members of the Master's committee and one copy to the chair of the defense, at least two weeks before the expected date of defense. Students are advised to ascertain from the academic unit any prior deadline established by the unit. No changes may be made to the Master's committee between these deadline dates and the defense except under the most extraordinary circumstances and with the approval of the Executive Committee of Graduate Studies . The oral presentation should be completed at least three weeks prior to the Convocation at which the candidate expects to receive the degree.

No later than eight days before a proposed defense a Master's committee shall notify the Office of Graduate Studies that a notice of defense is to be posted. The chair of a Master's defense will be a member of graduate faculty who has not served on the candidate's Master's committee, and who is appointed by the Department Head at the time the defense is publicly announced. The chair is non-voting. The general audience may remain until the defense is completed and the committee begins its deliberations on the outcome. These deliberations are held in camera.

The minimum basis for acceptance of a Master's thesis is positive unanimity by the examining committee less one vote. Unless an examining committee is unanimously negative, a candidate may resubmit the thesis once, after a minimum period of three months and before a maximum period of twelve months. The second decision shall be final.

Copies of the corrected thesis must be deposited in the Office of Graduate Studies at least two weeks prior to Convocation.

The title page of the thesis, or a separate page immediately following the title page, must bear the Universal Copyright Convention symbol , the full name of the author, and the year the Master's degree was granted. Arrangements for binding the thesis and payment of fees connected with binding and microfilming should be made with the Administrative Officer. The Office of Graduate Studies will transmit a copy of the thesis to the National Library, accompanied by a "Theses Non-Exclusive License", supplied by the Office and validated by the candidate, which authorizes the National Library to produce single copies, in response to a formal request from an individual, a research institute, or a library.

If approved, the physical thesis becomes the property of the University. Two copies will be filed in the Leddy Library, and a third in the academic unit.

Occasionally, it is necessary to withhold the thesis from public circulation, especially where the student's interests (e.g., patent rights) would be jeopardized by publication. In such cases, a thesis may be held from the public domain, i.e., the Leddy Library and the National Library of Canada. Such delay in circulation may be requested for six months without cause being given, and an additional period of six months with good cause. Forms for withholding a thesis are available from the Office of Graduate Studies .