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    McMaster University
   
 
  Aug 16, 2017
 
 
    
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School of Graduate Studies Calendar, 2017-2018

Regulations for Master's Degrees



Master of Applied Science, Master of Arts, Master of Biomedical Discover and Commercialization, Master of Communications Management, Master of Engineering, Master of Engineering in Manufacturing Engineering, Master of Engineering Design, Master of Engineering Entrepreneurship and Innovation, Master of Engineering and Public Policy, Master of Finance, Master of Health Management, Master of Public Health, Master of Science, Master of Social Work, Master of Technology Entrepreneurship and Innovation. Regulations for the M.B.A. program may be found in the M.B.A. Calendar, available from the DeGroote School of Business.

3.1 General

Three types of Master’s programs are available, although not all departments offer each type. The first is the thesis program, consisting of both course work and a research thesis. The second type entails a project rather than a thesis, as well as course work. Finally, some programs offer a course work-only curriculum. The decision on the choice of curriculum for Masters students can either be determined at the time of application or after the student is admitted, please consult the departmental listings to see which options are available in a specific discipline.

If a department offers more than one of these types, the ability for a student to switch between them is not automatic, but is sometimes permitted. Approval of the supervisor and department chair (or graduate chair/advisor) is required. In many departments, there will be consequences for the level of financial support to the student. As well, there are likely to be consequences for the expected time to completion. Both financial support and expected time to completion should be clarified prior to approval of the change. If such a change is approved, notification should be sent to the School of Graduate Studies by the department or program, along with any change to the payroll authorization. Graduate Studies approval is not required.

The regular Master’s programs are designed for those students who can devote their full time to graduate studies. (See Section 2.5.2  for the definitions of a full-time student.) Some departments also offer part-time programs. Consult the departmental listing in this Calendar to see whether or not a part-time program is available in a particular department.

Prior to the 2001-2002 academic year, all Master’s degrees awarded within the Faculty of Engineering were designated as Master of Engineering (M. Eng.) degrees. On April 11, 2001, the University Senate approved the use of the Master of Applied Science (M.A.Sc.) designation for thesis-based degrees in the Faculty of Engineering. Non-thesis Master’s degrees in the Faculty of Engineering retain the M. Eng. designation.

3.2 Program Requirements

A Master’s program involving a thesis will normally be somewhat more specialized and will involve fewer courses than is the case in a Master’s program without a thesis. A course Master’s program is constructed by departments to contain a sufficient number of courses to make possible a diversified experience, for the student.

The student who is presenting a thesis as part of a program is required to complete, with at least B- standing, at least one full graduate course (or equivalent). Certain programs regularly prescribe additional graduate courses. In accordance with OCGS requirements, no more than one-third of the departmental minimum course requirements may be at the 600-level. The student may be required or permitted by the department to take courses in addition to those prescribed for graduate credit. In consultation with the programs concerned, one or more graduate courses in a related subject may be taken outside of the program.

Students will be required to meet any additional requirements of the program, including special seminars or colloquia. Such requirements are subject to approval by the appropriate Graduate Curriculum and Policy Committee.

Additional requirements for programs are found in program handbooks, please consult your program handbook’s specific regulations.

3.3 Thesis

A candidate must present a thesis which embodies the results of original research and mature scholarship. In the case of sandwich theses, mature scholarship specifically includes substantial and significant contributions to the composition of text in papers with multiple authors. The student must be authorised by a majority of the supervisory committee before producing the final version of the thesis for oral defence. Normally the thesis will be distributed to committee members and examiners in an electronic format (see Section 2.8 - Theses ).

A thesis may be submitted at any time but a thesis defence may not be initiated until all other degree requirements are complete. The final date for submitting a thesis to the department for Fall or Spring Convocation is found in the Sessional Dates Section. The thesis will be examined by a committee of not fewer than three members (including the supervisor and an examiner external to the supervisory committee) who will be appointed by the department/program chair; the thesis will be defended by the candidate in an oral examination before this committee. The Vice-Provost & Dean of Graduate Studies may appoint members to these committees. The time of the defence will be set by the department/program chair; normally this will be about two weeks after the completed thesis (as an electronic file; see section 2.8 ) has been submitted to the department for examination. 

After a discussion of the examination, the Chair will ask for a vote on he success or failure of the defence. If the examiners approve the defence, the Chair will ask the examiners to complete the Examination Report by initialing appropriately. The student will be invited back to the examination room for congratulations by the committee. In the event that minor revisions are required to the thesis, the Chair of the examination committee is responsible for ensuring that (1) the candidate is advised of the revisions, (2) the candidate receives and understands the ‘Final Thesis Submission form’ to be used by the Supervisor to confirm that the revisions have been made, and (3) the supervisor is also aware of the form. The Chair will complete and sign the Examination Report and return it to the School of Graduate Studies.

However, if there are two or more negative or abstaining votes, with at least one of these votes being from a member of the supervisory committee, the candidate will be deemed to have failed the defence, and a reconvened oral defence must be held at a later date. The candidate should be told as clearly as possible by the Chair and the examining committee what he/she must do to improve the defence. The reconvened defence is the candidate’s final opportunity to complete the degree. Membership on the reconvened examining committee should be the same as that for the original defense, except that one or two substitutions are permitted in order to expedite scheduling of the reconvened defence. If the defense fails a second time, that decision is final, and is not open to appeal.

After a successful examination and all requested changes have been made, the student will upload the final e-thesis to MacSphere (see section 2.8 ). Students are normally expected to submit their final thesis within four weeks of a successful defence.The student may wish to have printed copies of the final thesis suitably bound for personal use or for presentation. The student will be responsible for the cost and distribution of any bound copies. 

Tuition fees continue to be assessed until all degree requirements are met, including the successful submission of the final approved thesis to MacSphere.

Please note: when a thesis is submitted and published to MacSphere students must be aware that their name will appear as author of the document. In exceptional circumstances a pen name may be used subject to written approval of the AVP and Dean of Graduate Studies.

 

3.4 Project

In departments where there is the option of submitting a project, the department regulations must be observed. If the project is to be submitted to the University Library, the rules governing Master’s theses must be followed.

3.5 Supervision

The general regulations regarding supervision, described earlier (Section 2.7, “Supervision” ), apply to Master’s students. If the student is registered in a thesis degree program, the thesis supervisor will have been identified by mutual consent, based on the nature of the thesis research. If the student is registering in a degree program without a thesis, a faculty advisor will be assigned. In either case, the advisor may be changed with the approval of the Department, as described in Section 2.7 .

3.6 Program Progression

The amount of work in a regular (full-time) Master’s program for a student with good preparation varies across the campus, but generally, programs involving a thesis are designed to take longer than those without a thesis. Programs with a thesis typically take sixteen to twenty months. Twelve-month non-thesis programs occur in Anthropology, Classics, Cultural Studies and Critical Theory, Economics, Economic Policy, English, Finance, French, Global Health, History, Physics, Political Science, and Sociology.

For students in a regular program, the permissible time for completion of a Master’s degree program is limited to three years from their initial registration in the program. For those students admitted to a part-time Master’s program, and who complete all degree requirements while registered part-time, the permissible time is limited to five years from their initial registration. Please note, students who choose to move from part-time to full-time or from full-time to part-time will be governed by the time to completion and fees associated with the degree to which they were admitted. For more information please see Section 2.5.2 Definition of Full/Part-Time Status .

Each student’s progress is reviewed annually by the department and on a more frequent basis by the supervisor. A student whose work is unsatisfactory may at any time be required to withdraw from the University. In those cases in which a student does not manage to complete the degree before the end of the time limit specified above, the University has no further obligation to provide supervision. Upon consultation with the department and on its recommendation, the student will be shown as having been “withdrawn in good standing due to time limit”.

In the case of a student in a thesis program, if a completed thesis is submitted, and is acceptable to the department, the student can be readmitted in order to defend the thesis. However, thesis program students who have been withdrawn in good standing should be aware that they may be required to complete additional course work before being permitted to proceed to a defence of the thesis. In all cases, the department must first declare that the submitted thesis is ready for defense before the student will be readmitted. Students can only be readmitted to defend at the beginning of the academic term. If a student needs more than one term to complete they should be re-admitted to program and pay regular fees until all the program requirements are complete.

At the time of readmission to defend, the student will be required to pay a fee (equivalent to one term’s tuition at the current part-time level 5 rate - see Section 5.1 ) to compensate for the costs of the defence and subsequent processing of the thesis

A student enrolled in a course work or project program may also be readmitted if this is deemed acceptable by the student’s department. However, course work and project program students who have been withdrawn in good standing should be aware that they may be required to retake courses in which the content is judged by their department to have changed significantly since first completion and/or may be required to take additional courses that are necessary to fulfill current program requirements.

See section 2.5.1  for information on continuity of registration