Graduate work and length of study

Timelines and required steps for a graduate studies program are quite different than for an undergraduate degree.

Length of study

  • The minimum time from admission to a graduate studies program to defense of your thesis is three academic terms. An academic term is four months.
  • Your thesis should be defended within eight academic terms for a full-time students and 15 academic terms for a part-time students*.
  • Teaching assistantships are optional. Contact the department head for a potential list of courses for teaching assistantships. Graduate students are encouraged to participate in the department's laboratory teaching.

Within this period, you are required to:

  1. Complete a minimum of two to a maximum of four three-credit graduate level courses as determined by the supervisory committee and confirmed by the Dean of Graduate Studies.
  2. Complete a research program and a thesis based on this research.
  3. Participate in and present at a departmental seminar series. Graduate students are required to complete at least one seminar presentation, normally in their second year. Please contact to organize when your seminar will take place.

*If extenuating circumstances prevent you from completing a graduate studies program within the normal period specified, the Dean of Graduate Studies may grant an extension of up to one academic term.

Administrative requirements for graduate students

As a candidate for a Master of Science degree at Mount Allison, you will be required to complete the following administrative activities in addition to your research and course work during the course of your degree. Section 11.4 of the Academic Calendar refers to these requirements.

1. Confirmation of Acceptance

If you are accepted into Mount Allison’s Master of Science program, an offer of acceptance will be sent to you by the Registrar.

If you have been offered a conditional acceptance, the conditions of your acceptance will be outlined in your letter.

2. Course registration and fees

Registering for courses

Upon confirming your acceptance into the graduate studies program, you will be automatically registered in the appropriate thesis course (MSCI 5990) until the completion of your program.

In consultation with your supervisor and supervisory committee you will also need to register for two to four additional courses.

Registration for graduate-level courses is not available online. Please contact when you are ready to register for courses.

Tuition fees

The tuition fee for graduate students is $1,670 for the first six terms and $670 for the remainder, term per term.  Note: other student fees will be applied once per academic year, specifically the MASU (student union) membership (equivalent to the Part-time MASU fee) and the McConnell Fitness Centre fee (see details at

Students are expected to register for each year of study (full or part-time) or face automatic removal from the Master’s program. Fees are due according to the billing and due dates schedule – pay special attention to the ‘Who pays it’ section (in the Important Financial Due Dates chart) for current students in the fall and winter terms and for spring/summer students in the spring.

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3. Establish Thesis Supervisory Committee (TSC)

Within one month of admission, a Thesis Supervisory Committee (TSC) will be appointed for each candidate by the Dean of Graduate Studies on the recommendation of the research supervisor.

The TSC shall consist of the research supervisor, who will act as chair, and a minimum of two other qualified individuals*, one of which must come from within the University.

It will be the responsibility of this committee to review periodically the progress of the candidate, read the thesis, and conduct the oral examination, which will be presided over by the Dean of Graduate Studies or designate.

*Qualified individuals include research associates, technicians, postdoctoral fellows, government researchers, etc. Please contact the Dean of Graduate studies if you are unsure if a potential committee member is qualified or not.

4. Development of Research Proposal and Initial Committee Meeting

Within three months of beginning your MSc, you must provide a written research proposal and a working title for your thesis to your Thesis Supervisory Committee. The research proposal is expected to be ~10 pages of text (~2500 words) plus references. It should include background on the topic of study, research questions, methods, and timeline towards program completion. Students will often summarize key elements of their written research proposal in a presentation to the TSC. The TSC will provide feedback on this proposal.

Your initial committee meeting must be held within the first three months of your MSc. At this meeting, your committee will:

  • Discuss your proposal and your initial timeline towards program completion
  • Confirm your course selection
  • Review progress from the first three months
  • Complete and sign the GSP1 — Supervisory Committee, Thesis Topic, and Preliminary Progress form (pdf), and upload it to your Prograds profile or forward this form directly to the office of the Dean of Graduate Studies
  • GSP1 includes a listing of your course titles, your working thesis title, an initial timeline for project completion, and a brief outline of your research proposal

When a department intends to offer a graduate studies course, it must submit course information at least one month in advance to the Dean of Graduate Studies for approval.

If a graduate course is to be pursued at another institution (e.g. a specialized field or experimental course), the supervisor must provide the course syllabus to the Dean of Graduate Studies for approval prior to the course being taken.

5. Progress

You must have a second meeting with your TSC within 12 months of your program’s commencement, and hold a meeting within every 12 months thereafter until program completion.

You or your committee may also request more frequent meetings.

A signed GSP2 — Annual Progress Report form (pdf) must be completed by your TSC and provided by your supervisor to the Office of the Dean of Graduate Studies (either upload to Prograds or mail/email directly) after each meeting. The form includes a brief summary of progress and an updated timeline towards program completion.

The program of study should be completed within eight academic terms for a full-time student and fifteen academic terms for a part-time student.

If necessary, upon justification, the Dean of Graduate Students may consider and approve an extension for completion, normally a 1-term extension.

6. Preparation for the thesis defence
  • Your supervisor must read your complete thesis draft and provide you with comments.
  • You then submit your revised thesis draft to your Thesis Supervisory Committee, normally at least 6 weeks prior to your intended defence date. TSC members will read and comment on the thesis, and offer a recommendation (on Form GSP2) as to whether the thesis is ready to go to defence. Form GSP2 must be completed and sent to the Office of the Dean of Graduate Studies before the defence can be arranged. Students are not obliged to follow their committee’s advice and may proceed to defence regardless of the opinion of the committee, but they are strongly advised to follow the committee’s recommendation in this regard.
  • You then submit an electronic copy (.pdf format and .docx) of your defendable thesis to the Dean of Graduate Studies at least 3 weeks prior to your intended defence date.
  • Your supervisor and the Dean of Graduate Studies will establish a Thesis Examining Committee (TEC) comprised of your TSC, an examiner external to the University to be recommended by the TSC and approved by the Dean of Graduate Studies, and the Dean of Graduate Studies or designate as the Chair.

The external examiner should not have any conflict of interest in evaluating your work, including collaborations within the past 6 years with you or your supervisor, or plans to collaborate or supervise your work in the near future.

The TEC will set a date for your public thesis presentation and public final oral examination.

The Dean of Graduate Studies will send your thesis to the TEC at least 3 weeks prior to the public defence.

7. Thesis defence

The initial part of the defence is a public oral presentation of 30 minutes, which is immediately followed by questions from the public, if applicable.

The oral exam is public and will follow the audience question period. In this segment only the examiners are permitted to ask questions.

The Chair of the exam will invite examiners in turn to question the student in the following order: external examiner, committee members, supervisor.

In the initial round, each examiner will be allowed 15 minutes for questions, then 10 minutes on subsequent rounds, with additional rounds as required by the examiners.

Following the examination, the Chair and examining committee will discuss the thesis and defence in a closed meeting to decide whether your thesis, defence, and examination performance meet the standard to warrant granting a MSc degree.

The committee may impose specific changes to the thesis that must be fulfilled before the degree can be granted. The supervisor will advise you of this decision immediately following the meeting. Results of the oral examination will be reported on the GST1 — Oral Examination Report form (pdf) and forwarded to the Office of the Dean of Graduate Studies.

  • If major revisions to the thesis are deemed necessary, the examining committee will decide what remedial measures must be undertaken. The TEC will also specify whether another defence is necessary. The candidate then has 6 months to meet these conditions and re-submit the thesis for review (and defence if necessary). At this point if the thesis or defence are not deemed satisfactory, a grade of “Fail” will be assigned.
  • If no changes are recommended, the committee will indicate on the Oral Examination Report form that the thesis is acceptable in its current form.
  • The more common situation is where minor revision is required, in which case this is indicated on the form and typically the supervisor withholds signature on the examination form until corrections are made. Provided the result of the defence is “Pass”, a thesis acceptance form (GST2) is also completed at the conclusion of the defence. This will be provided by the Chair of the examining committee.
  • A grade of “Pass” for both the thesis and the defence are required to fulfill the MSc degree requirements.
8. After the thesis defence
  • The Chair will obtain all necessary signatures from the TEC and student for the appropriate forms.
  • Make suggested changes and corrections to your thesis. Advise your supervisor when these changes have been made.
  • You will receive a GST2 — Thesis Acceptance form (pdf) from the Chair of the TEC bearing the signatures of the TEC. The signed form must be included in the final version of your thesis immediately following the thesis title page.
  • Arrange for copying and binding of the final version of your thesis including the GST2 — Thesis Acceptance form (pdf) -- contact to discuss with the Bookstore. Submit your thesis along with the GST3 — Thesis Copy Authorization form (pdf) to the Campus Bookstore to obtain one copy of your thesis. You are responsible for covering the costs of any additional copies. Please discuss this with your supervisor.
  • Deliver one bound copy of your thesis (including the form containing the original signatures) to the Dean of Graduate Studies on or before the date indicated by your TEC. Note that this should happen no later than the last day of the term’s submission of marks deadline in order to ensure that you can graduate at the following Convocation. Please refer to the Academic Calendar at the time to determine this deadline.
  • Send an electronic copy of your thesis and a signed Thesis Licence Agreement to the Dean of Graduate Studies (

Once all Graduate Studies requirements are met, the student must complete the Registrar’s Office application to graduate.

Program milestones and associated forms

Milestone associated form date from start of program
Course registration   N/A
Thesis supervision committee established   1 month
Courses selected GSP1 3 months
Research proposal developed GSP1 3 months
Preliminary progress report GSP1 3 months
Annual progress report (yearly TSC meeting) GSP2 every 12 months
Thesis draft to supervisory committee   Normally at least 6 weeks before intended defense
Seminar presentation   Normally in the second year, anytime prior to thesis submission
Defendable thesis to the Thesis Evaluation Committee   At least 3 weeks before intended defense
Defence and recommendation on thesis   Within 36 months for full-time students; within 15 academic terms for part-time students
Thesis copy authorization form GST1, GST2, GST3 Within 8 academic terms for full-time students, within 15 academic terms for part-time students
Thesis licence agreement form (formerly Library release form) Thesis Licence Agreement Within 8 academic terms for full-time students, within 15 academic terms for part-time students

Students are required to submit one copy of the Thesis Licence Agreement with their thesis. This form must be signed by the author in the appropriate place and must not be bound into the thesis.

Forms may be uploaded to Prograds by the student or their supervisor, or provided directly by mail/email to the Dean's Office.

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