15. Language of Instruction and Examination
The language of instruction for all graduate programs is English. Likewise, all theses will be written and examined in English. The only exception to this policy is where the nature of the scholarly topic requires that the thesis be written, in whole or in part, in a language other than English. The rare exceptions for use of a language other than English in a thesis must have approval in writing from the student’s supervisor, the Program Coordinator, and the Dean of the FGSR. The Supervisor and Program Coordinator must also ensure that qualified thesis examiners, fluent in the language presented in the thesis, are available for examination of the thesis. Even if the thesis is written, in whole or in part, in a language other than English, the thesis examination will be carried out in English.
16. Program Requirements
a. Students entering with an honours degree (or equivalent) must complete a minimum number of credit hours of course work as defined by the program (see detailed descriptions of the individual graduate programs in the Graduate Studies Academic Calendar) and, where applicable, submit an acceptable thesis or masters research project (MRP). In some programs, a master’s degree or graduate diploma may consist of course-work only and no thesis or MRP. The course requirements for such non-thesis programs are described in the detailed description of the program. Courses in all programs must be at the 5000 level or above, but where advisable, courses at the 4000 level may be included in a program, provided that the requirements applying to graduate students in such courses are of a graduate standard. It is the particular responsibility of students to ensure that they meet all their program requirements within the regulated time-for-completion of their graduate programs (see Graduate Academic Regulation 19).
b. A student may be required to audit a course as part of the program of study (see Regulation 9).
c. In order to graduate, a student must obtain a degree grade point average (DGPA) of at least 3.00 out of 4.3 (see Regulations 29 and 30 )
d. In Master programs that require a thesis, a student supervisory committee shall normally be established within eight (8) months of starting the program. For Ph.D. programs, the supervisory committee should normally be established within the first twelve (12) months of the program or by the time that the student has completed their comprehensive exams. Supervisory committees require approval of the relevant Graduate Program Coordinator (GPC) and the Faculty of Graduate Studies and Research and shall consist of at least a thesis supervisor and one other member for the Master level, and at least a thesis supervisor and two other members for the Ph.D. level. Requirements to serve as a thesis supervisor are outlined below in Regulation 16 (e)
(i). Please note that co-supervision is only allowed in exceptional cases and must have approval from both the GPC and the Dean of the Faculty of Graduate Studies and Research.
e. Where required, a student shall submit a thesis on a subject approved by the Graduate Program Coordinator (GPC) in which research has been conducted under the direction of a supervisor appointed by the appropriate GPC. A public oral defense in the presence of an Examining Committee appointed by the GPC and the Dean of the FGSR is mandatory. The minimum requirements for the composition of the Examining Committees are:
(i) the Thesis Supervisor
(ii) For the Master level: one examiner who may have been previously involved in the supervision of the student’s thesis research (normally a member of the Supervisory Committee). For the Ph.D. level: two examiners who may have been previously involved in the supervision of the student’s thesis research (normally both members of the Supervisory Committee).
(iii) an “external” examiner who has not been previously involved in the supervision of the student’s thesis research; for PhD Examining Committees, the external examiner must be an expert in the thesis topic, external to Saint Mary’s University, and not in a conflict of interest with either the PhD candidate or his/her supervisors. The external examiner must receive approval of the GPC and Dean of the Faculty of Graduate Studies and Research prior to scheduling the oral defense.
(iv) a neutral Chair (normally the Dean of the FGSR or their delegate)
f. In graduate programs that require a thesis, the thesis must be ruled acceptable by the Examining Committee. Any suggestions by the Committee concerning corrections, additions and other necessary changes must be either completed or formally refuted by the student to the satisfaction of the Examining Committee before the thesis/major research project can be accepted. For details on the examination/defense procedures for thesis/major research paper/project, students should contact their Program Coordinator.
g. In graduate programs that require a thesis, to be eligible for graduation, the student’s completed thesis must be submitted with the consent of the Supervisor/Supervisory Committee to the Program Coordinator with enough time for the thesis to be distributed, reviewed, examined in an oral defense, revised, and submitted to the Registrar before Senate meets to approve the list of graduates. Although this date varies each year, a good rule is that the thesis should be submitted to the Program Coordinator one month before the end of classes. Students should contact the FGSR Office to be informed of the specific recommended date for submission of the thesis to enable processing time for Convocation.
h. Changes in either the program of courses or the topic of the thesis require the approval of the Supervisory Committee and the Graduate Program Coordinator.
17. Thesis Handling - PhD Dissertations and Master’s Theses
a. The thesis/dissertation must be submitted using the formatting requirements found in the “Format Procedures” sheet, available online at the University Archives web site. The formatting requirements include but are not limited to:
i. Typescript: Double spaced
ii. Margins: 1” (2.5 cm) margins on all sides. All text, including page numbers, images, and charts must be within these margins.
iii. Abstract (may be single spaced) must be a maximum of 350 words for doctoral theses, and maximum 150 words for Masters’ theses. Should bear the title Abstract and include the name of the author, the title of the thesis/dissertation, and the date of publication.
iv. The title page must include the names of all advisors/examiners but cannot contain any original signatures. Students must include a separate Signature Page submitted to the Faculty of Graduate Studies and Research: A page designed to contain the signature of all members of the Examining Committee, including any external examiners, if applicable.
b. The student must meet any other requirements of the Program concerned.
c. Prepare one electronic PDF version of the thesis using the requirements found in the Format Procedures sheet. This version will be submitted as an email attachment, along with all required forms and attachments, to the Graduate Studies Office. The attachments include (see the Format Procedures sheet for details):
i. The Thesis or Dissertation Information Sheet, provided online at the University Archives; or include the required information in your cover email.
ii. One signed signature page (see above).
iii. The Non-exclusive License to Reproduce Theses form. This grants permission for the publishing, microfilming or digitization of the thesis by the University, including distribution or sale of microfilm or digital reproductions.
iv. Electronic copy of the certificate of approval from the Research Ethics Board, if one was obtained for the thesis or dissertation.
v. Electronic copies of copyright permission forms, if required.
d. Once submitted to the Faculty of Graduate Studies and Research, the PDF copy of the thesis or dissertation will be forwarded to the University Archives. The theses will be made available in the University’s Institutional Repository, where it may eventually be harvested by the Library and Archives Canada Thesis program.
18. Major Research Project (MRP) Handling
a. The Major Research Project (MRP) must be submitted using the formatting requirements found in the Format Procedures sheet, available online at the University Archives web site. The formatting requirements include but are not limited to:
ii. Margins: 1” (2.5 cm) margins on all sides. All text, including page numbers, images, and charts must be within these margins.
iii. Abstract (may be single spaced) must be a maximum of 300 words. Should bear the title Abstract and include the name of the author, the title of the MRP, and the date of publication.
iv. The title page must include the names of all advisors/examiners but cannot contain any original signatures.
c. If a student wishes to have their MRP available on the University’s Institutional Repository, they must prepare an electronic copy of their MRP, in PDF format (see the “Format Procedures” sheet for more information) and submit it as an email attachment sent to firstname.lastname@example.org.
d. If submitting an MRP for the University’s Institutional Repository, the following forms must be submitted to the Saint Mary’s University Archives as electronic attachments (see the Format and Binding Procedures sheet for details):
i. Signature page.
ii. Electronic copy of the certificate of approval from the Research Ethics Board, if one was obtained for the MRP.
iii. Electronic copy of the copyright permission forms, if required.
e. Once the forms and electronic copy of the MRP are submitted to the Saint Mary’s University Archives, it is checked to ensure it meets all required standards, including formatting requirements, required forms, etc. The electronic copy will be made available in the University’s Institutional Repository.
19. Times-for-Completion of Graduate Programs
a. The normal academic year of the FGSR is composed of three 4-month semesters running from September 1 to August 31. Full-time students will normally complete their studies through a series of consecutive 4- month semesters. (e.g., three semesters will constitute 12 months of continuous full-time study; six semesters will constitute 24 months of continuous full-time study).
b. The FGSR has established normal minimum (often referred to as residency period) and maximum completion times for each program (see following table). Normally, Full-Time (FT) students will complete their program within the defined time periods. For Part-Time (PT) students, the minimum period will be double that defined for FT students.
Minimum and Maximum Time for-Completion of Graduate Programs
Time-for-completion for Full-time and Part-time refers to students’ status when admitted into programs and applies throughout their programs, regardless if their status changes during the programs.
Full-time “lock-step” program with defined courses in a prescribed sequence.
Part-time “lock-step” program with defined courses in a prescribed sequence.
NA = Not Applicable
c. If a student (FT or PT) does not complete the program within the minimum period, they must be registered as a FT Continuing or PT Continuing student until they complete the program, provided they do not exceed the maximum time for completion of a program (see Regulation 8, above).
d. If a student (FT or PT) does not complete their program within the maximum period, they are not entitled to continue their program, unless they have applied for and been granted an Extension to their graduate program (see Graduate Academic Regulation 20).
20. Extensions to Graduate Programs
a. Circumstances may sometimes justify an extension to a student’s graduate program beyond the normal maximum time-for-completion identified above. An extension to a graduate program may be considered under any of the following conditions which have interfered with the student’s ability to complete her/his Program within the normal maximum time-for-completion:
(i) Illness, family strife, or unforeseen family responsibilities
(ii) Pursuit of an employment opportunity which makes a positive contribution to the student’s Graduate Program
(iii) Unforeseen difficulties in pursuit of the thesis research beyond the control of the student.
Note: In cases (i) and ii) above, it is highly preferable that students apply for Leave of Absences from their Programs at the time of the incident/situation.
b. A student applying for an Extension should submit a written request on the appropriate FGSR form (available on http://fgsr.smu.ca/) to their Program Coordinator. The request should include a letter of support from the student’s research Supervisor or Supervisory Committee, together with a letter describing in detail the reasons for the requested Extension and supporting documentation, where applicable, certifying the facts surrounding the request. After the Program Coordinator has reviewed and approved the Extension application, it will then be forwarded to the FGSR. The decision of the Dean of the FGSR is final and (s)he will notify the student of the decision on their application.
c. Extension to a Program will be for a maximum of 1 year in length per request. Extensions can be granted only twice for Master’s programs and only three times for PhD programs. Students at or beyond their normal maximum Program period who are denied Extensions will not be able to continue their Graduate Programs. Students who do not complete their Programs within the maximum number of allowable Extensions will not be able to continue their Graduate Programs. Extensions will not be granted retroactively to a student who has failed to register for one or more previous semesters and is beyond their normal maximum Program period.
21. Leave of Absences
Leave of Absences from graduate programs for periods of up to a maximum of 1 year (3 semesters) may be granted. Leaves of Absences can be granted only twice for Master programs and only three times for PhD programs. Requests for a Leave of Absence (forms available from the FGSR office and website) must be supported by documentation explaining exceptional personal circumstances which would prevent research and/or coursework being undertaken during the period of time for which the leave applies. The decision of the Dean of the FGSR is final. If a leave of absence is granted, the student is considered to be inactive in the program during the period of exemption and must pay the appropriate fees. Time spent away from one’s graduate program while on a Leave of Absence, does not contribute to the time-for-completion. Students are expected to apply prior to or during the term for which the leave will take place. Students returning from a leave of absence must re-activate their status by filing an application for Visiting, Upgrading and Reactivation Students (available from the FGSR office and website). Reactivation of a student’s program must be approved by the Program Coordinator and the Dean of the FGSR.
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