Embark on a scholarly journey with EPI 7998 Research Paper, a 6-unit exploration in independent research under the guidance of seasoned professors. Unveil the world of Epidemiology, showcasing your analytical prowess in a comprehensive paper evaluated for its scholarly rigor and potential for publication.

EPI 7998 Research paper (6 units)

Research Paper prepared under the direction of one or two professors chosen in consultation with the director of graduate studies. The paper is evaluated by the supervisor(s) and another professor.

Graded: S (Satisfactory)/NS (Not satisfactory).


Like the thesis, the purpose of the research paper is for the student to demonstrate his or her ability to work independently in a scholarly manner. It is a prospective exercise, i.e., a student may not submit work conducted previously. It is expected that students will complete the MSc in Epidemiology with research paper in no more than two years; it is usual to complete within 16 months.

The research paper does not have to make a significant original contribution to the academic knowledge of the subject, but it must display extensive research and independent analysis. This includes comprehensive knowledge and understanding of the literature relating to the topic. Use of original data is not required but analysis of already collected data, or collection and analysis of small-scale primary data, is optional. The subject of the research paper must fit within the parameters of the epidemiology program. Examples of projects that may be feasible to conduct within the time frame of about one semester (4 months) and therefore could be the basis of research papers include some types of evidence syntheses, some types of analysis of already-collected data, and small-scale studies involving collection of primary data. The intent is that the student applies some of the training they gain in their coursework and produce scholarly work. Supervisors will be able to advise whether a chosen topic is appropriate.



The research paper is a major piece of work, requiring approximately half the effort that would be expected for a master’s thesis in Epidemiology. While the most important aspects of the research paper are the content and quality of work that is presented, the typical length would be around 40-50 pages of text (presented in 12 point font and double-spaced). This excludes title page, table of contents, references, and appendices.

Presentation and structure

The research paper should include a title page, a table of contents, a one-page abstract, with citations and references prepared according to one of the conventional formats in medicine and health sciences. Tables and figures should be normally incorporated into the main text and count toward the length.

The structure of the research paper should be guided by the topic and reflect conventions in the discipline. Thus, most research papers will follow the standard format for scientific papers (i.e., introduction, aims, methods, results, discussion) but it is not expected that this be applied rigidly when other approaches to organizing the material would be more logical and coherent.


  1. The student explores potential topics and supervisors, consulting with their interim advisor. Supervisors must have the supervisory privileges for the Epidemiology program, and a research paper may have no more than two supervisors. The topic should be fall within the broad scope of the Epidemiology program.
  2. Guided by supervisor(s), the student develops a short protocol: 2-3 pages maximum, and an accompanying abstract; the latter should be approximately 250 words and structured: title, background, objectives and methods.
  3. The student submits the protocol and abstract using the Service Request application in uoZone and select the Research type/Major Research paper supr. type with electronic versions of the forms signed by supervisor(s) in attachement. The abstract is sent to the Graduate Studies Committee (GSC) for approval. The protocol is retained by the Graduate and postdoctoral Studies Office for inclusion in the evaluation process.
  4. Following approval by the GSC, the student enrolls for EPI7998 and works on the research paper under the direction of the supervisor(s). It is expected that the research paper represents the equivalent of a semester’s work.
  5. It is expected that the supervisor will review at least one draft of the research paper as it is being prepared, and offer feedback to be considered in finalizing the final paper. The student and supervisor(s) should negotiate expectations and timing in this regard at an early stage of writing. The external evaluator will be instructed to assume that this review and feedback has taken place.

Submission of the research paper

The research paper may be submitted at any time.

Note: Students must remain enrolled until the final grade is submitted to the university.

Students need to make sure to meet the last possible deadline for submission to avoid re-enrolment for the subsequent term (see DEADLINES). This allows for the possibility that minor revisions may be required (see EVALUATION).

To submit your Research paper, please use the Service Request application in uoZone and select the Research type/Major Research paper supr. type with the completed Research paper submission Form and a .doc version of your research paper in attachment.

The research paper is evaluated by one supervisor(s) and one other professor. The Graduate and Postdoctoral Studies Office forwards the research paper and the original protocol to the evaluators, with the firm expectation that their recommendations will be returned in no more than three weeks.

The research paper may be accepted without revision, with minor revisions, or it may be returned for major revisions (see EVALUATION). Enrolment must be maintained continuously until completion of evaluation and submission of the final grade.


The research paper will be evaluated by the supervisor and one other professor (with supervisory privileges). Using the protocol for reference, the research paper will be assessed for quality and accuracy of the analysis, logical organization, extent of research conducted for the paper, the relevance of the material used, and clarity and correctness of expression. It is expected that the research paper will demonstrate scholarly rigour. An aspiration is that it would be ‘of publishable quality’ in the sense that it meets the standards of rigorous peer-review while recognizing the short time frame for the research. Some students have gone on to develop manuscripts based on their research papers that have been accepted for publication in peer-reviewed journals.

The supervisor’s evaluation will be informed by having been involved with the student in the development of the research paper, from advising on the original protocol, interactions through the writing phase, and feeding back on the draft paper. The evaluation will consider how closely the research paper reflects the original intent and aims of the protocol, taking into account how and why these may have evolved as the work progressed. Where the student has engaged two supervisors, they will agree on one evaluation only (i.e., either one supervisor acts as a single evaluator, or they both evaluate but agree on a single recommendation).

The external professor’s evaluation will also be informed by the original protocol. He or she will be requested to judge whether the research paper meets the expectation of high quality, scholarly work, as described in the PREAMBLE.

Each evaluator indicates one of three possible recommendations:

1. The research paper is approved with no requirement for revisions.

  • The research paper is graded SATISFACTORY.

2. The research paper is approved with a requirement for minor revisions.

  • The student must make the requested revisions by the deadline indicated below.
  • The supervisor(s) will review and formally confirm that the revised research paper meets the requirements to be graded SATISFACTORY.

3. The research paper is not approved and requires major revisions.

  • The student is given one opportunity to make major revisions. The revised research paper must be submitted by the deadline for the following semester (see Table) and enrolment maintained. The revised research paper will be evaluated using the standard process.
  • To receive a SATISFACTORY grade, the research paper recommendation must be (1) or (2), with minor revisions made according to the process described above.
  • If the revised research paper receives a second recommendation for ‘major revisions’, it will receive a final NOT SATISFACTORY grade.

Discordant recommendations will be resolved in a timely manner with the input of a third examiner appointed by the director of graduate studies.

Deadlines for 2024-2025

Winter term 2024

Winter term 2024
Submission deadline:March 11, 2024
Evaluation deadline:April 8, 2024
Revision deadline (if necessary):April 26, 2024

Spring summer term 2024

Spring summer term 2024
Submission deadline: July 3, 2024
Evaluation deadline:July 24, 2024
Revision deadline (if necessary):August 23, 2024

Fall term 2024

Fall term 2024
Submission deadline: November 4, 2024
Evaluation deadline:December 2, 2024
Revision deadline (if necessary):January 6, 2025

Winter term 2025

Winter term 2025
Submission deadline:March 10, 2025
Evaluation deadline:April 7, 2025
Revision deadline (if necessary):April 25, 2025