English & Writing StudiesWestern Arts and Humanities

Thesis Regulations & Procedures

A. Exploration

The following procedure for discovering and defining the subject of your thesis should be followed by both MA and PhD candidates. It is not a mechanical procedure, but it is the best one to follow if you are to select a topic which interests you, which it is possible to pursue at this university, and which is clearly defined.

1. Begin by discussing possible thesis topics informally with professors who specialize in your field of interest. Feel free to approach members of the department who are not instructing you in courses, as well as those who are. Such informal advice will lead to exploratory reading, until the point is reached where you and one or more of the faculty feel that a subject has been sufficiently defined for you to begin concentrated work on it.

2. At this point, you will almost certainly feel that one particular member of the department is more interested in your subject than the rest, and you should ask him or her whether or not he or she will supervise your thesis. If so, then you or the supervisor, or both, should approach another member of the department to be the second reader (officially called the "supervisory committee member") for the thesis.

B. Prospectus

1. You will next draw up a prospectus (see below) in close consultation with your supervisor. When the final draft of the prospectus has been approved by your supervisor, you should forward a copy of it to the Chair of the Committee on Graduate Studies via the Graduate Assistant, who will distribute it to the members of the Committee on Graduate Studies in English for review and approval.

Deadlines for submission of the prospectus:

a) For MA candidates: A prospectus must be approved by the supervisor and submitted to the Chair of the Committee on Graduate Studies in English via the Graduate Assistant no later than the end of the second-last week of September.

b) For PhD candidates: A prospectus must be approved by the supervisor and submitted to the Chair of the Committee on Graduate Studies via the Grad Assistant by May 31 of the second year.

The purpose of the prospectus is to lead you to limit the scope of your thesis precisely, to define your purpose clearly, and to establish your method firmly, before you begin concentrated work on the thesis itself. A thoroughly prepared and carefully written prospectus will save you from confused motives, false starts, and muddled procedures. The prospectus is an important stage in the thesis and should be written with care.

2. The prospectus must be in the following form.

a) a statement of the tentative title of the thesis;

b) the student's name and degrees and the names of the Supervisor and Supervisory Committee Member;

c) for the MA prospectus: a description in not more than 300 words of what the student intends to do in the thesis;
    for the PhD prospectus: a description in not more than 750 words of what the student intends to do in the thesis.
There should be no projection of probable conclusions. It is not necessary to provide full details of the methods to be used.

d) for the MA prospectus: the Committee on Graduate Studies requires a statement from the supervisor that the candidate has produced sufficient evidence that bibliographical materials for the research are reasonably available;
for the PhD prospectus: the prospectus should include a brief statement concerning the nature, location, and availability of bibliographical materials, along with a short, selective bibliography of materials used to prepare the prospectus.

e) The prospectus should not be submitted until the supervisor has seen and approved the final version.


C. Work in Progress

1. While working on your thesis, you should always feel free to consult any member of the English Department who may be able to offer advice.

2. The length of an MA thesis is normally 100 pages, including apparatus. A PhD thesis will be approximately 250 pages.

3. The MLA Style Manual is to be used as the norm for bibliography, footnotes or endnotes, and scholarly methods.

4. Consult your supervisory committee before submitting your thesis to be examined.

5. For MA Students: Summer support for students writing MA theses is contingent upon submission of a substantial and acceptable portion (for example, a twenty-five-page chapter) by May 15. Thesis supervisors will report to the Graduate Chair whether this condition has been met. However, the Graduate Committee recommends the following schedule: March 15: First chapter submitted to Supervisor and Supervisory Committee Member; July 1: Completed first draft submitted to Supervisor and Supervisory Committee Member. Final submission deadlines are set by the School of Graduate and Postdoctoral Studies. See http://grad.uwo.ca/current_students/thesis/timelines.html.


D. Examination of the Thesis

The Graduate Regulations of the School of Graduate and Postdoctoral Studies should be consulted carefully with regard to the regulation of examinations. The following is merely a supplement to the Graduate Regulations and Thesis Guidelines:

1. When you have completed the thesis to the satisfaction of your Supervisory Committee, they will notify the Chair of the Committee on Graduate Studies in English that it is ready for examination. The supervisor(s) and candidate should discuss potential examiners and supply names and contact information of potential examiners to the Grad Chair, who invites examiners to participate. Once the examiners and date/time are set, the Grad Chair notifies SGPS about examiners and date of examination, as they give final approval over the examination board.
For MA thesis examinations: Three examiners are required - one university examiner, and two departmental examiners.*
For PhD thesis examinations: Four examiners are required - one external examiner, one university examiner, and two departmental examiners.*

*Except for the external examiner (PhD), all other examiners must have membership in the School of Graduate and Postdoctoral Studies in order to participate.

2. Deadlines for thesis examinations: These may be found in the Graduate Calendar and will be strictly adhered to. See http://grad.uwo.ca/current_students/thesis/timelines.html.

3. Description of the thesis examination:

Consult the School of Graduate and Postdoctoral Studies Thesis Guidelines: http://grad.uwo.ca/current_students/thesis/examination.html and Thesis Regualations: http://grad.uwo.ca/current_students/regulations/8.html.