MA Thesis

It is recommended that students choose this option only if they have a clear, researchable thesis topic in mind.

Once you have decided on an area of specialization, preferably by the end of first year (Year 1, Term 2), you will work to formulate a topic and find a supervisor. At this time, also complete the MA Thesis Option form (available on the website MA Forms page).

The MA Thesis Prospectus

The MA Thesis prospectus offers a preliminary description of the proposed argument of the thesis and explains the relation of this argument to existing research on the topic. It also sets out the major steps through which you plan to proceed in researching, writing, and structuring the thesis and explains why these steps have been selected. It will seek to convince readers who are specialists in the proposed research subject, as well as to explain the proposed research to non-specialist academic readers. The prospectus includes a bibliography, a comprehensive list of required primary sources for the research, and a list of the most relevant and most influential secondary readings on or around the topic, both at present and over a longer time frame. The text of the prospectus is typically 10 pages (2500 words) (not inclusive of bibliography/notes/appendices).

Handling of data and authorship should be discussed with the supervisor in accordance with UBC policies 85 and 88.

When approved, your supervisor should complete the MA Thesis Proposal Approval form.

Supervision and Preparation of the Thesis

Students will work with a supervisor and a second committee member. The type and amount of thesis supervision will be dictated by the topic, the needs of the individual student, and the preferred methods of the supervisor. Preliminary drafts, either of individual chapters or of the whole thesis, should be submitted to the supervisor as you proceed. You are encouraged to meet with both members of the committee several times during the preparation of the thesis. The supervisory committee evaluates the final draft before scheduling an oral examination.

A third reader, chosen by the student in consultation with the supervisor, will evaluate the thesis when the committee has judged it satisfactory. The committee members will not act as copy editors. The thesis is roughly 60 pages (not inclusive of bibliography/notes/appendices).

The final form of the thesis must be prepared in accordance with Faculty of Graduate Studies regulations:

Oral Critique

Once the thesis is approved by the supervisory committee and evaluated by the third reader, a final oral critique of the thesis is held. A final oral may be held at any time of the year, provided the approved committee can be assembled. The supervisor plus at least one committee member must attend the oral exam. Students planning to submit a thesis during the summer should ensure that a suitable committee will be available. After the oral examination, a thesis will be assigned a Pass/Fail grade. Revisions made after the oral exam will not alter the grade assigned.

Students must not submit the thesis for oral examination until all other requirements for the degree have been fulfilled.


Submit the final, approved thesis to the Faculty of Graduate and Postdoctoral Studies accompanied by the “Final Master’s Thesis Approval” form (your supervisor will download this from the Faculty of Graduate Studies website.

For detailed instructions see Submission Procedures on the FoGS website.

Once the Faculty of Graduate Studies has approved your thesis, you will be e-mailed an official receipt.