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MA thesis


MA students make an original contribution to scholarship by completing a thesis on a topic related to historical, modern, or contemporary art.

Students work closely with a supervisor to prepare a thesis proposal for submission to the Graduate Program Committee, to plan their thesis research, and to prepare and revise multiple drafts.

MA theses are 13,000 - 15,000 words in length (plus notes, title page, abstract, acknowledgements, table of contents, list of illustrations, figures, bibliography, and appendices where applicable).

The following should be noted with regard to the submission of the master's thesis:


Deadlines to submit the final thesis:

1 September  - to graduate in the fall term (November convocation) and avoid fees for the fall term

31 December - to graduate in the summer term (June convocation) and avoid fees for the winter term

1 April – to graduate in the summer term (June convocation) and avoid fees for the spring/summer terms

Students may make their final thesis submissions at any point during the year; However, the deadlines above affect graduation and fees.

MA students wishing to meet these deadlines must submit their thesis to their reader at least 5 weeks in advance.

Please note that it is no longer possible to submit on the DNE date in order to avoid fees. Extensions past the above deadlines will be granted only in instances of unforeseeable family or medical emergencies.

Also note that the application to graduate is separate from the thesis submission process. There are two graduation application deadlines each year:

15 January - summer graduation (June convocation) application deadline

15 July - fall graduation (November convocation) application deadline

Read more about applying to graduate. 



Once students have completed all the changes requested by their committee, they will send the finalized thesis to the supervisor in PDF/A format, requesting permission to submit on Spectrum. The supervisor responds, cc'ing the Graduate Program Assistant and the Graduate Program Director.  Students submit to Spectrum once they have received this permission.



The master’s signature page contains the signatures of the members of the Examining Committee and must be prepared by the student and sent to the Graduate Program Assistant (via email, as a PDF) for verification at least 2 weeks prior to the upload of the thesis to Spectrum. The GPA takes care of the required signatures and ensures delivery of the signature page to the School of Graduate Studies. A blank copy of the page (with examiners’ names and titles, no signatures) must be included in the final thesis submitted to Spectrum.

If a master’s student has been granted an extension due to a family or medical emergency, they take care of the signatures and delivery of the signed signature page to SGS.


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