Concordia University

Program requirements

Completing the Individualized Program

The Individualized Program (INDI) exists to promote innovative and creative approaches to issues that are outside the normal boundaries of investigation of existing graduate programs. Students engage in individualized research initiatives supported by an integrated program of study drawing on the various resources available at the University either within a Faculty or across Faculties.

  • Most cases: students apply to the INDI must propose a program involving multidisciplinary scholarship on problems that are not normally within the exclusive province of disciplines represented by departments in this University. For these students, the proposed supervisory committee must involve faculty from at least two different departments/units. 
  • Limited number of cases: students may be admitted who propose programs within a single discipline and involving faculty from only one department/unit. 
  • Candidates admitted to an INDI are required to conform to School of Graduate Studies’ regulations for graduate students.

Candidates for the PhD

Candidates for the PhD must have completed a master’s degree or its equivalent in a relevant disciplinary area. Doctoral candidates are required to complete a minimum of 90 credits apportioned as follows: 

  • Coursework, 18 credits;
  • Comprehensive Examination, 3 credits;
  • Thesis proposal, 3 credits; and 
  • Doctoral research and thesis, 66 credits.

The minimum period of residence is 24 months of full-time study, or its equivalent in part-time study. 

Candidates for the master’s

Candidates for the master’s must have completed a bachelor’s degree with high academic standing in a relevant disciplinary area or its equivalent. Master’s candidates are required to complete a minimum of 45 credits apportioned as follows:

  • Coursework, 18 credits
  • Thesis proposal, 3 credits; and 
  • Master’s research and thesis, 24 credits. 

For the master’s degree, the minimum period of residence is 12 months of full-time study, or its equivalent in part-time study.


Candidates are normally required to take a minimum of 6 credits in regularly scheduled graduate courses, plus one 3-credit research methodology seminar in their first or second year. The latter seminar explores methodological issues relevant to the principal area of the student’s research. It is chosen in consultation with the student’s Principal Supervisor from among the numerous master’s and doctoral level courses in methodology offered by different departments at Concordia University. (A list of potential courses is available from the INDI Coordinator upon request.) Please note that special permission from the departments in question (Chair or Graduate Program Director and Instructor) is necessary in order to have access to these courses. 

INDI 686 Special Topics (3 credits)
INDI 687 Master’s Thesis Proposal (3 credits)
INDI 690 Master’s Research and Thesis (24 credits)
INDI 885 Doctoral Comprehensive Examination (3 credits)
INDI 886 Special Topics (3 credits)
INDI 887 Doctoral Thesis Proposal (3 credits)
INDI 890 Doctoral Research and Thesis (66 credits)

Comprehensive examination

At the doctoral level, students are required to write an examination testing their basic knowledge of the relevant areas of each component discipline comprising their program of study. The supervisory committee supplies the student with an appropriate reading list to prepare for this examination. The student is then given 72 hours to submit the essay.

Students are additionally required to write a Doctoral Comprehensive Examination Essay (5000 - 6000 words) that integrates the component disciplinary areas of the program of study in addressing a particular issue. The student makes a formal essay topic proposal to a meeting of the supervisory committee which decides with the student boundaries and expectations for the essay.

The supervisory committee evaluates these examinations; it may, however, consult with other faculty members in relevant areas where additional expertise is required for the evaluation. The principal supervisor submits the reading list, the questions, the answers/essay, and the evaluations along with the pass/fail grade to the INDI Director.


An INDI thesis represents a unique contribution to scholarship undertaken while the student is enrolled in the program. The master’s and doctoral theses offered at this University in cognate areas will normally provide an appropriate guide to the format and scope of INDI thesis requirements.

In the case of a nontraditional thesis - such as one involving a creative production - the requirement of scholarly contribution still applies. Thus, while a thesis may present a creative work as its central focus, it should nevertheless provide a scholarly discussion placing that work in the context of related ideas and works. As in the case of traditional theses, the nontraditional thesis is submitted to an oral examination where it is exposed to scholarly criticism and where the student is given an opportunity to defend it.

The thesis defence at the doctoral level must provide for the inclusion of one external examiner. At the master’s level the thesis defence will include the student’s principle supervisor and at least two other committee members, one of whom may be an external examiner.

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