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Thesis - Guidelines

The following guidelines are meant to help graduate students in the process of writing and defending an M.A. thesis. The process requires that graduate students:

  • choose a supervisor, preferably as early in the course of graduate studies as possible. (Please note that our limited term and adjunct faculty can serve on MA defence committees or as advisers for MA research, but not as MA supervisors; supervision is limited to full time faculty.);
  • submit a supervisor-approved thesis proposal to the Graduate Program Director for further endorsement by the Graduate Studies Committee;
  • compose and submit the supervisor-approved thesis to the Thesis Office; and
  • pass an oral defence of the thesis before the examination committee appointed by the Graduate Studies Committee.

Thesis proposal

The thesis proposal must be handed in to the Graduate Program Director (GPD) by May 1st of the academic year during which the student entered, assuming the student started in the fall (September admission). If a student started in the Winter term (January admission), the proposal is due by December 1st of the same calendar year in which the student began the graduate studies in philosophy at Concordia. Hence, students who started in September 2006 must hand in the proposal by May 1st, 2007; those who entered in January 2006 must hand in the proposal by December 1st, 2007.

Prior to submission to the GPD, the thesis proposal must have been approved by the supervisor the student has chosen for the thesis project. The GPD will then circulate the proposal among the members of the Graduate Studies Committee (GSC) for their approval. The GSC reserves the right to reject the proposal, suggest changes to it, or to expand the bibliography.

A thesis proposal should be between 4 and 6 single-spaced pages. It should first offer the thesis statement the student wishes to defend, and indicate the main arguments in its favour (2 to 3 pages). It should then supply a breakdown of the projected chapters and their content, and add a bibliography relevant to the thesis.

Both the thesis proposal and the thesis itself should use gender-inclusive language.


Thesis

The student's thesis must first be approved for oral examination by the student's supervisor. It must then—that is, even prior to the oral defence in the department—be handed in to Thesis Office in the School of Graduate Studies. It may be submitted to the Thesis Office at any time during the year, but remember that your total time limit for the completion of the MA program (including course work) is three years. (The GSC hopes you'll complete the program in less time than that, of course.) Also, students wishing to graduate at a particular convocation must meet the following deadlines for thesis submission:

Fall Convocation: Traditionally in November
1st submission prior to defence: August 1
Final submission after defence: September 1

Spring Convocation: Traditionally in June
1st submission prior to defence: March 1
Final submission after defence: April 1

Please note also that students wishing to graduate must fill out, sign, and submit a graduation application. Generally, if you have completed all program requirements except for your thesis defence and final thesis submission, you must apply to graduate by January 15 for Spring graduation or July 15 for for Fall graduation at the Birks Student Service Centre. For exact dates, please check the School of Graduate Studies web site).

The format of the thesis must follow the Thesis Preparation Guide of the School of Graduate Studies. The Guide discusses such topics as the acceptable style manuals for the conventions governing the presentation of scholarly work, the sequence of contents (from title and signature pages as well as the abstract and table of contents to the bibliography), the page format and paper quality.

Once three copies of the thesis have been formally submitted to the Thesis Office, the thesis is distributed to the examination committee by the Office.

The examination committee is then appointed by the Graduate Studies Committee of the Department of Philosophy, as represented by the GPD, in consultation with the student's supervisor. The examination committee is not selected by the student, but you may suggest possible examiners to the supervisor and/or the GPD.

A thesis in the Department of Philosophy usually numbers around 80 pages, including the bibliography.

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