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Major Research Paper

The Master's Research Paper, or Major Research Paper (MRP), is a research paper on a historical topic designed to explore a body of primary sources, demonstrate a thorough grasp of the secondary literature on the topic and permit the author to arrive at an independent conclusion. The MRP carries the weight of two 0.5 credit courses and its normal length is approximately 50 pages of double-spaced type.

If a student wants to complete his or her MA degree by the end of the summer and graduate in the fall term the year after entering the program, he or she must adhere to the following schedule.

Supervisor, Committee and Proposal

Once a faculty member, who must be a member of the graduate faculty, has agreed to act as a supervisor, the student will inform the graduate officer in the student’s home department. The student, in consultation with the supervisor, will define the research topic and a viable body of primary sources, and submit a research proposal to the supervisor.

Students who register in the MRP stream must submit a research proposal in their second term of registration and have approval for their proposal by no later than the end of the second term of registration.

Students in the thesis and MRP streams submit their research proposals and undertake their research projects in consultation with an advisory committee consisting of their supervisor and at least one other reader/advisor. An advisory committee may be composed from any of the faculty in the Tri-University Graduate Program in History, provided those faculty are members of the graduate faculty at their respective institutions.

The MRP Proposal Form

By the beginning of the winter term, students must have identified a project for their MRP and in consultation with their supervisor formed an advisory committee (consisting of their supervisors and one additional examiners) in support of it. Your topic and/or working title and the list of your committee should be submitted to the History Graduate Co-ordinator and/or History Department office no later than Jan. 15.

The MRP Proposal

Where the proposal form identifies the project, the detailed MRP proposal demonstrates how the research for the project will be conducted. It must be attached to the Faculty of Graduate and Postdoctoral Studies MRP form available from the Graduate and Postdoctoral Studies office.

In 5-10 pages, the student will:

  • State the central research question or questions of the project.
  • Identify and briefly discuss the historiography that the project will address.
  • Identify the specific primary source material that will be studied to answer the relevant research question or questions.
  • Outline the methodology that will be used in the analysis.
  • In addition to the 5-10 page proposal, please include a working bibliography of potential primary and secondary sources.

The deadline for submitting the MRP proposal to committee members for their signatures is on the first Friday following the winter reading week.  Because you must circulate to your supervisor, then to the 2nd committee member for feedback you should have the proposal with bibliography ready to circulate to your committee by February 16th. Overrides for registering in HI695 in the spring term will not be granted until the MRP proposal form has been approved and signed off by the committee. You must register in your MRP (HI695) for the spring term by early March (please check the calendar) to avoid late registration fees.

MRP Drafts

Students should consider having a first draft of the MRP completed by July 1.

Final Drafts and Defences

Aug. 1 is the last date to submit the final pre-defence version of the MRP to the entire committee. Note that this version must have already been approved by the student's advisor before it can be circulated to the other committee member.

The MRP must be defended prior to the end of September (please check the graduate calendar for specific date as this changes slightly each year). If a September defence date is established in August, students will avoid paying fees altogether; if the defence date is not set until September, students will receive an invoice for fees but will be reimbursed if their degree requirements are met by the deadline. Note that if the student is defending after the spring term ends but before the end of September deadline, he or she must register for the fall term. Normally, if the student cannot meet this deadline, he or she will have to register for another term of graduate studies and pay any required fees and tuition.