Masters Programme Progress Guidelines

Masters Programme Progress Guidelines

The rules stated here have precedence over the ones that appear in our earlier guidelines (e.g., the “Supervision and Timely Graduation Guidelines” and the “Student Financial Support”). These earlier documents provide additional useful information. These documents will eventually be merged into one.

The new rules are effective from May 1998, and will be made available to both students and graduate faculty.

Length of Programme

The programme is a 20 month programme, covering two academic years, consisting of two fall terms (F1 and F2), two winter terms (W1 and W2) and one summer term (S1). The summer term is between May 1st and August 31st.

Students are expected to complete all their degree requirements, including thesis defense (thesis option) or project report (project option), by the end of term W2.

Financial Support

Financial support for up to 20 months is available to all full-time students making satisfactory progress in the programme. See the discussion of satisfactory progress below.

Financial support will not extend beyond the second academic year.

Discussion of Satisfactory Progress

Satisfactory progress is defined by the following criteria:

  • Course requirements Students who are admitted into the program are expected to complete all their course requirements in their first year (F1 and W1). Beyond these minimum requirements, students may take additional courses with the approval of their supervisor and the programme director. Students must maintain a grade point average of at least B+ in the programme, and satisfy any additional minimum grade requirements stated in the FGS calendar.
  • Selection of a thesis supervisor Students are expected to have found a thesis supervisor by April 15 of the winter term of their first year (W1). Typically students will have shown excellent or exceptional promise in at least one graduate course, the instructor of which would normally be willing to become their thesis or project supervisor. Selection of a supervisor is primarily the responsibility of the student. As well, a second member of the supervisory committee must be identified. These two people will form the thesis or project supervisory committee.
  • Research Students are expected to work on research leading to a thesis or project by their first summer term (S1) and to submit a preliminary version of their these proposal (thesis option) or a written agreement between the student and supervisor on project scope (project option) by the end of that term. The thesis proposal should include a clear statement of the project they are undertaking, a summary of the work performed on it during the summer term, and a timetable with milestones to be achieved during terms F2 and W2, leading to successful completion of the thesis by the end of term W2.

Progress Reports

To determine satisfactory progress, two progress reports must be submitted. It is the student’s responsibility to obtain the form and to ensure that the completed form is returned to the Graduate Assistant before the deadline.

Progress report #1

It must be submitted before April 15 of the student’s first academic year. The student should demonstrate progress in their coursework and should have identified a faculty member as their thesis supervisor and a second one to be on their Thesis Supervsory Committee. If the student does not have a thesis supervisor by April 15, he/she will not get any financial support during the summer term. This progress report will be signed by both the academic advisor and the thesis supervisor.

Progress report #2

It must be submitted before August 15 of the student’s first summer (S1), together with a draft of the thesis proposal. If the student’s progress in research over the summer is not satisfactory, the student will not get any financial support during the following fall and winter term (F2 and W2). This progress report will be signed by the thesis supervisor.

Academic Advisor and Thesis Supervisor

Students are assigned an academic advisor before entry to the programme, who will advise them in their first two terms of study, and help them select a thesis supervisor (who does not have to coincide with the academic advisor). If the student selects a thesis supervisor other than their academic advisor, the academic advisor remains available as an additional resource throughout the student’s course of study. Although it is possible for a student to change thesis supervisors, students are expected to remain with the thesis supervisor that they select during their first year.

Paid Work on research unrelated to thesis, External Contracts, Leaves

Students are expected to work full time on their courses and thesis while they receive financial support from the programme. Students should be aware that they are limited to working a maximum total of 270 hours per academic year and a maximum of 10 hours per week. Students who exceed these limits without the explicit written permission of both the Graduate Director and their thesis supervisor will have their financial support terminated. In addition, students are expected to remain in residence with the programme while they are funded. Students who plan to take extended leaves (longer than 2 weeks) must seek permission from their thesis supervisor.

Faculty wishing to hire graduate students to work on grants/contracts must approach the Graduate Director before advertising the position to students. Positions must be open to all qualified students. Faculty must be aware that full time students have a limited number of hours available for extra employment.

Revised: February 18, 2008