Master’s Program

Extended Essay Guidelines & Form 2019The Master of Arts (MA) program in Gender, Race, Sexuality and Social Justice at UBC is a vibrant, interdisciplinary graduate program that attracts excellent students worldwide.

Our students pursue their interests in areas as diverse as blue-collar alliances with neoconservative movements and post-communist Eastern European women’s trauma narratives. Many of our faculty are cross-appointed, giving the program strong connections in sociology, English, environment and development, community and regional planning, anthropology, and classical and religious studies.

Students may choose between a thesis or an extended essay. Most students will complete the program in 18-24 months, with thesis students taking a little longer than those writing an extended essay.

MA Thesis Option

  • GRSJ 500 (3) Intersectional Issues in Social Justice and Equality Studies
  • GRSJ 501 (3) Issues in Decolonizing and Feminist Methodologies or GRSJ 515A (3) Critical and Creative Social Justice Studies Seminars
  • GRSJ 502 (3) Issues in Gender, Sexuality and Critical Race Theories
  • Electives (12 credits)
  • Thesis (9 credits)

Electives credits must have the approval of the student's supervisor and may be selected from:

  • GRSJ special topics courses
  • graduate courses in other UBC departments
  • undergraduate courses numbered 300 and above (maximum 6 credits)
  • courses at another university - see Western Deans Agreement

MA thesis prospectus

The MA thesis prospectus offers a preliminary description of the thesis's proposed argument and explains this argument's relation to existing research on the topic. It also sets out the major steps through which you plan to research, write, and structure the thesis and explain why these steps have been selected. It will seek to convince readers who are specialists in the proposed research subject and 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 prospectus text is typically ten pages (2500 words), not inclusive of bibliography/notes/appendices.

The student will discuss data and authorship handling with the supervisor per UBC policies of scholarly integrity and inventions and discoveries.

When approved, your supervisor should complete the MA thesis proposal approval form and sends it electronically to the graduate program assistant, along with a copy of the prospectus for your student record.

The MA 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 supervisor's preferred methods.

Preliminary drafts, either of individual chapters or the whole thesis, should be submitted to the supervisor as you proceed. You are encouraged to meet with both committee members several times during the preparation of the thesis. The committee members will not act as copy editors. The thesis is roughly 60 pages (not inclusive of bibliography/notes/appendices). The thesis will be assigned a Pass/Fail grade.

Thesis Submission

Students must prepare the final form of the thesis per Faculty of Graduate and Postdoctoral Studies regulations.

Defense

An oral examination is not required.

Your program will be closed when you have completed 21 credits (typically 7 courses) and the Master Thesis has been approved.

MA Extended Essay Option

  • GRSJ 500 (3) Intersectional Issues in Social Justice and Equality Studies
  • GRSJ 501 (3) Issues in Decolonizing and Feminist Methodologies or GRSJ 515A (3) Critical and Creative Social Justice Studies Seminars
  • GRSJ 502 (3) Issues in Gender, Sexuality and Critical Race Theories
  • Electives (18 credits)
  • Extended Essay (3 credits)

Electives credits must have the approval of the student's supervisor and may be selected from:

  • GRSJ special topics courses
  • graduate courses in other UBC departments
  • undergraduate courses numbered 300 and above (maximum 6 credits)
  • courses at another university - see Western Deans Agreement

Students have the option of completing a three-credit extended essay (GRSJ 510) instead of writing a nine-credit thesis. The work may develop an essay previously completed as part of a graduate seminar or pursue a new topic.

While the MA thesis is Pass/Fail, the extended essay is graded.

Extended Essay Proposal and Registration

To register for the extended essay, students must submit an essay proposal of approximately four pages (1000 words) along with the registration form signed by the faculty member who has agreed to supervise your essay and by another faculty member who will be the second reader. Submit the completed form to the graduate program assistant by the end of the first year of your studies. When the graduate studies chair has signed the form, you will be registered in the extended essay (GRSJ 510).

Extended Essay Preparation and Writing

Students will write an essay of 9,500 words maximum (approx.. 40 pages) under a faculty member or faculty associate’s supervision. It is expected that the supervisor of the essay and student will meet on at least three occasions during the process:

  1. to define the topic, reading list and expectations;
  2. to review a first draft of the essay;
  3. on completion of the final draft.

A second reader also reviews the final draft. Although the essay need not be accepted for publication (it need only be judged publishable), the supervisor and second reader should ideally provide advice in identifying suitable publication outlets and a strategy for bringing the essay to publication.

The essay will be assessed on the following criteria:

  1. research/documentation skills;
  2. evidence of critical thought and analysis;
  3. appropriate writing skills and format/presentation.

Important: It will take at least two weeks for your two readers to respond after the extended essay is submitted to them. If revisions are required, the committee will typically require an additional two weeks to respond after each submission.

Completion of Extended Essay

An oral critique/defense is not required. Once the supervisor and second reader approve revisions (if any), a percentage grade will be assigned by the supervisor and submitted to the Graduate Program Assistant for entry.

A final version of the essay must be submitted to the graduate program assistant along with the signed extended essay completion form. The form, signed by both committee members, must be submitted by mid-April for May graduation or mid-October for November Graduation.

Your program will be closed when you have completed 27 credits (typically 9 courses) and the 3-credits extended essay.


Applying for Graduation

Students who complete the program through the thesis option will conclude their studies once they have completed 21 credits (typically 7 courses) and their masters' thesis has been approved.

Students who complete the program through the extended essay option will conclude their studies once they have completed 27 credits (typically 9 courses) and the 3-credits extended essay.

Each MA student must apply for graduation; please check the G+PS website for specific deadlines.


Supervision

MA students are assigned a supervisor to advise on their study program including course choices, grant possibilities and potential members of supervisory committee. We pair students with a supervisor with an eye to research fit; however, this is not always possible and change of supervision for the thesis or extended essay is not uncommon.

GRSJ students draw on the Institute’s associate faculty members to serve as supervisors and committee members. Students should meet with their supervisors at least once a term.

Students may change supervisors or committee members at any time with the approval of the graduate program chair.


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