IV. Degree Regulations

Master of Arts, Master of Arts (Leadership), Master of Applied Science, Master of Bioinformatics, Master of Biotechnology, Master of Engineering, Master of Environmental Sciences, Master of Food, Agricultural and Resource Economics, Master of Science, Master of Planning, Master of Science (Planning)


For the master's degree by thesis each candidate shall submit a thesis, expressed in satisfactory literary form, based upon research in some topic connected with the candidate's special discipline. The thesis must demonstrate the candidate's capacity for original and independent work, and should include a critical evaluation of work which has previously been done in the candidate's field of research. The thesis should emphasize any new conclusions which may be drawn from the candidate's own research.

For purposes of equivalency calculations, a master's thesis is generally considered to be the equivalent of 2.0 credits.


The thesis may be submitted at any time of the year, but candidates are encouraged to have the final examination well in advance of the deadline date for thesis submission. Candidates should be aware of the deadlines schedule, a copy of which may be obtained in the Office of Graduate Studies. Candidates should discuss their thesis write-up with their advisors early in their final semester.

As the thesis is being written, the candidate is expected to be in regular communication with the advisory committee. The draft thesis is sent to the members of the advisory committee. When a draft is completed which the advisory committee recommends for examination, the final draft is sent to the members of the master's examination committee and the final oral examination is held.

Following the master's examination the candidate, if successful, arranges for the preparation of the thesis in final form, and for its submission to the Assistant VP (see below). The thesis in final form must include any minor corrections or revisions resulting from the examination. Approval of the thesis takes the form of a Certificate of Approval, signed by the examination committee.

Master's Examination

The final oral examination, devoted chiefly to the defence of the thesis, is a departmental examination identified as the master's examination. The master's examination committee normally consists of four members appointed by the department chair, as follows:

  • A member of the regular graduate faculty of the department, who is not a member of the advisory committee, to act as chair of the master's examination committee and to make arrangements therefor;

  • A member of the candidate's advisory committee (normally, the advisor);

  • A member of the associated graduate faculty or of the graduate faculty who may be a member of the advisory committee;

  • A fourth member appointed from among graduate faculty from another department, from the department or from the advisory committee, according to departmental and/or examination requirements.

If possible, a member of another department should be included on the committee.


The chair serves to administer and ensure the proper conduct of the examination. The Chair is expected to exercise full control over the proceedings and does not participate directly in questioning the candidate during the examination. In unforeseen circumstances where an examiner is unable to attend due to, eg,, sudden illness, accident, etc., the chair will attempt to receive questions to ask on behalf of the absent member, to be answered by the student to the satisfaction of the examiners.

The examination is open to the public; members of the audience may question the candidate only upon invitation of the chair of the committee.

The examination is passed and the thesis approved if there is no more than one negative vote. An abstention is regarded as a negative vote. The report to the Assistant Vice-President (Graduate Studies) will record the decision as unsatisfactory or satisfactory. If unsatisfactory, the candidate may be given a second attempt. A second unsatisfactory result constitutes a recommendation to the Board of Graduate Studies that the student be required to withdraw (see Unsatisfactory Progress and Appeals of Decisions).

Copies of Thesis

One electronic (.pdf) copy of the certified thesis must be submitted to the Atrium by the thesis submission deadline date shown in the Academic Schedule in the calendar. Also included in the electronic submission must be a brief abstract consisting of no more than 150 words. The Certificate of Approval signed by the examination committee, a copy of the circulation waiver, and the copying license must also be submitted to the Office of Graduate Studies. Departments may have a requirement to submit a bound copy of the thesis.


The university requires publication of the thesis in the following manner:

One electronic copy of the thesis is uploaded by the National Library of Canada, and the agreement form signed by the candidate authorizing the National Library to publish the thesis and to make copies available for sale on request. The National Library will upload the thesis exactly as it is and will list the thesis in Theses Canada as a publication of the National Library.

An abstract of not more than 150 words, prepared by the author and approved by the advisor, and submitted as part of the electronic thesis submission, is also uploaded by the National Library.

The National Library's Theses Non-Exclusive License will be sent to the candidate prior to the master's examination, to be signed and submitted to the Office of Graduate Studies immediately after the successful completion of the examination.

The candidate, in consultation with the advisor and the department chair, shall have the right to request that circulation and/or copying of the thesis in any form be withheld for up to one year.

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