Under exceptional circumstances, and subject to the approval of the graduate program committee, students may be allowed to write a Master of Arts (MA) thesis. Students wishing to write a thesis should consult with the graduate program coordinator during the fall term of their first year. A thesis abstract, of approximately 500 words, is due Dec. 15 to the graduate program coordinator. The graduate program coordinator and the graduate committee will assess the abstract, along with the student’s academic record from the fall term. If approved, a supervisory committee will be established. Students will be notified of the committee's decision within three weeks of the submission deadline. The committee will then decide upon a work schedule, using the MRP guidelines as a template.
Students who are permitted to register in the thesis option must submit a thesis which is written in satisfactory form, and based upon research on a topic connected with the discipline of communication studies. The thesis, which must be approximately 100 to 120 pages in length, exclusive of bibliography and notes, must demonstrate the candidate’s capacity for original and independent work, and when appropriate it should include a critical evaluation of work that has previously been done in the field of research. The thesis should emphasize any new conclusions that may be drawn from the candidate’s own research.
If a thesis topic includes research involving human participants, approval for the investigation must be sought from the Research Ethics Board.
On completion of the thesis, students will be expected to pass an oral defense of the work by an examining committee, which will be composed according to the regulations outlined in the academic calendar. The purpose of the oral defense is to demonstrate to the examiners that the candidate fully understands the work that was completed, how the research was completed, and the meaning and significance of the findings and conclusions. The candidate must have a clear understanding of how the work fits with the relevant literature and/or practice.