Master's Thesis Guide

A master’s thesis must show that the student truly applies a scientific approach to research and understands the main questions and doctrine related to the chosen topic.

The thesis must also put forth an original contribution, which, as an article, could be published without major corrections. The final text should range in length between 20,000 and 25,000 words but may not exceed 35,000 words (between 100 and 130 pages). The thesis is comprised of the following steps:

  1. Preparation of a research proposal
  2. Theoretical framework
  3. Methodology
  4. Data collection
  5. Data analysis
  6. Thesis preparation
  7. Thesis defence before a committee of professors

The thesis supervisor, or co-supervisor, will form a thesis committee to help guide the thesis, and may discuss the selection of thesis committee members with the student. The committee will comprise the following members:

  • the thesis supervisor or co-supervisor;
  • two other professors who have expertise in fields related to the thesis project. One member may be from another faculty.

The student is responsible for submitting through service request the Master's Thesis Committee Member List. This form will state the research topic along with the names of the thesis committee members.

The thesis proposal

The student drafts a thesis proposal, whose length should not exceed 20 pages (excluding tables and list of references) using the following conventions: 1.5 line spacing; Times New Roman, 12-point font; 2.5cm margins, numbered pages and single-side printing.

This document will include the following elements:

  • statement of problem;
  • theoretical or conceptual framework;
  • literature review;
  • one or more research questions;
  • a methodological framework (e.g. a research plan, participants, tools, procedure);
  • the contribution of the research to the field of education;
  • a relevant and exhaustive list of references.

The order in which these elements are presented may vary.

Although there is no evaluation grid for the thesis proposal, the committee members will submit written comments to the thesis supervisor before the approval meeting between the thesis supervisor, the committee members and the student.

Thesis approval meeting

The thesis supervisor and the committee members will meet to discuss their evaluation of the thesis proposal with the student, who will be advised on how to improve the quality of his/her research.

In light of this discussion, the thesis committee will take one of the following decisions:

  • Option 1: Satisfactory – The student may continue to conduct the research as proposed.
  • Option 2: Unsatisfactory – The student may not continue to conduct the research as proposed. In such cases, the reasons for this decision are stated and the student must submit a revised version of the research proposal to the committee and another meeting of the committee must take place. A grade of NS will be entered in the students file.

The supervisor submits a duly completed Approval of the Master of Arts in Education (MA) Thesis Proposal form to the academic secretariat at [email protected], and a copy of the form is added to the student’s file.

Ethics approval

Once the research proposal has been approved, the student will submit a request for ethics approval for any research involving human subjects to the Office of Research Ethics and Integrity. Students who fail to comply with this requirement may be subject to academic sanctions.

When requesting ethics approval, the student will need to submit a duly signed copy of the Approval of the Master of Arts in Education (MA) Thesis Proposal as proof that the thesis proposal has been approved.

Thesis format

1. Monograph thesis

The monograph thesis is the most usual form in the humanities and social sciences and it resembles a non-fiction book in that it deals in depth with a particular topic.

In a monograph thesis, a student presents a proposition or a “thesis” and the research findings to support it. The student reads existing research on the topics and may accept or reject it partially or totally.

The thesis usually follows a simple overall format: it begins with an introduction, which is followed by a main section or several sections, and ends with a conclusion. The students should keep these in mind but also remember that not all of these components will be required or even recommended for the particular field of study, so it is always best if they check with their own academic unit and supervisor.

For more information please consult the following link: Monograph components.

2. Article-format thesis

Students who wish to write a thesis in an article format must first notify the thesis supervisor, co-supervisor and thesis committee members, and obtain their approval. The student must submit a request at [email protected] for approval from the Faculty’s graduate studies director by checking of the appropriate box on the Approval of the Master of Arts in Education (MA) Thesis Proposal form.

A thesis submitted in article format must meet the following requirements:

  • The article must be substantial and equivalent to a monograph. The student must be the sole, or first and principle, author. If the student is not the sole author, the student must have contributed at least two-thirds of the original content and writing of the article. The student must formally specify his/her contribution. The article must be considered equivalent to a master’s thesis.
  • The article may have been published during the student’s time as an active student. Alternatively, it may have been submitted for publication, or may be in the form of a manuscript ready for submission for publication, in a peer-reviewed academic journal. If the article has already been published, a copy of the article as published must be included in the thesis, with the permission of the journal. If the committee members require changes or additions, these must be added as an appendix, since a published article cannot be modified.
  • The manuscript must be typed, with 1.5 line spacing in 12-point, Times New Roman font with 2.5cm margins. The manuscript must be page numbered, single-paged (printed on one side only) and unbound.

For more information please consult the following link: Components of a thesis in a series of articles.

Submission of the thesis for evaluation

Master’s students must submit a service request through uoZone four weeks before submitting their thesis for evaluation, failing to do so will delay the evaluation process. This request must include the following document:

The service request will be sent to the program director for approval.

Review how to submit a service request.

The Approval of the Master's Thesis Deposit form must be signed by all committee members and thesis supervisor and must be submitted with the thesis in uoZone.

Check the Graduate and Postdoctoral Studies website for information on thesis submission, evaluation and defence.