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Master's study regulations

1. Thesis route

The regulations set out in this document assist programs in managing and administering the thesis route of the master’s degree program.

The thesis is the final requirement for students in the thesis route of the master’s degree. It is a substantive piece of scholarly writing that contains some original contribution to the research area and demonstrates that the student is acquainted with the principal works in that field of study.

2. Supervisors and committee members

Graduate students who write a thesis are required to have a supervisor and supervisory committee. In some programs, students are only approved to the thesis route once they have an identified supervisor, and in others, the selection of a supervisor occurs soon after the student has been approved to the thesis route.

3. Thesis proposal

Each student is required to write a thesis proposal in their chosen field of study. The thesis proposal is developed under the mentorship of the supervisor and the supervisory committee.  The thesis proposal should normally include the following information, but may not necessarily follow this format:

  • Significance of the research;
  • Background to the problem or issue under study;
  • A theory or theoretical support for the study;
  • Methodology;
  • Preliminary description of proposed analysis;
  • Ethical considerations (if applicable); and
  • References.

4. Ethics/access approval

Upon receiving a Pass for both the proposal oral examination, the student can apply to the AU Research Ethics Board (REB) and any other approval bodies as applicable. When such approvals are obtained, a copy of the approvals must be provided to the supervisor for their file. The student must also retain a copy of the approvals for inclusion as an appendix in the thesis.

5. Previously published thesis material

Submission of previously published, peer-reviewed material in the thesis does not preclude its examination, either as a written document being reviewed by examiners or at the thesis oral examination.

6. Preparation for the final thesis examination

7. The final thesis examination

The examination committee will review the thesis and conduct an oral examination designed to test the student's knowledge of the thesis subject and of related fields.

The thesis and the oral examination are adjudicated at the same time; however, they are given different ratings. For example, the student may receive a Pass on the oral examination but may receive a Fail on the thesis. To be eligible to graduate, the student must receive a Pass on both the thesis and the oral examination. The supervisor shall chair the thesis oral examination. The chair is responsible for ensuring that the examination proceeds according to the oral examination guidelines.

8. Submission of thesis

The student has 3 months after the oral examination to complete the revisions. The supervisor must inform the Faculty of Graduate Studies (FGS) when they have approved the revisions to the thesis. Instructions will be provided by FGS on depositing the thesis in the DTheses repository and the subsequent procedures to apply for graduation.   

If the thesis and the necessary forms are not submitted to FGS and the AU DTheses repository, the student will not be able to graduate.

Updated July 13, 2022 by Digital & Web Operations (