The thesis itself should be 15,000-20,000 words in length, including footnotes, but excluding your bibliography.
The Faculty of Graduate Studies has explicit regulations regarding the roles and responsibilities of the student and of the supervisor (or the supervisory committee), and also sets out explicit regulations for the formatting and submission of the thesis and exam procedures. For specific information, see FGS Regulations. In particular see sections VIII: Thesis Supervisors and Supervisory Committees and section IX: Thesis Regulations.
The MA Musicology program follows the ‘Oral Defense’ rather than the written defense model of examination.
Procedures for Organizing MA Defences
The completion, defence and final submission of the thesis involves a complex set of details, individuals, and deadlines, usually converging within a short timeframe. To ensure the smooth completion of their program for our MA Candidates, the following procedures should be observed:
- When the supervisor agrees that the candidate’s thesis is ready for submission to the defence committee, the student will alert the Associate Director, Graduate Studies & Research (cc’ing the supervisor) with the following information: a) a firm deadline for the submission of the thesis for the defence committee; b) an ideal week(s) for the defence; c) the specifics of any A/V requirements (i.e. Zoom, PowerPoint, etc.).
- Upon receipt of this email from the student, the Associate Director will confirm the make-up of the defence committee, sending an invitation to the external examiner or second reader. All such confirmations will be copied to the Academic Program Assistant.
- The Academic Program Assistant will then advise the student via email that the process is underway, reminding them of the firm deadline for the initial submission; find a suitable room for the defence; establish the specific date and time for the defence and communicate it to all involved.
The FGS website contains details on thesis submission, and thesis formatting. The student should consult with FGS on final submission formatting prior to the defence.
Thesis Defence Procedure
The Committee meets briefly to decide how to arrange rounds of questions. The Candidate is invited into the room and offers a brief presentation (5-10 mins) outlining the question and essential findings of the thesis. The Candidate fields questions (typically two rounds) and then leaves the room while the outcome is decided. The Moderator informs the candidate of the outcome and records the results on the relevant form (this is copied to the student’s file and to the Associate Director, Graduate Studies and Research).
There are four possible outcomes for an MA thesis:
- Pass without any revisions;
- Pass with minor revisions (not requiring resubmission to the committee);
- Conditional pass with major revisions (requiring resubmission to the committee); and
An Important Note on Timing
Examiners typically have many obligations and should have adequate time to read and fully consider the thesis. Additionally, FGS posts separate deadlines for those wishing to finish in April and convocate in May, and those wishing to finish in April and convocate in October (thereby avoiding summer fees). Thus, students should expect at least three to four weeks between submitting the thesis for examination and the defence. Also, sufficient time should be allotted for revisions following the defence.
Example Schedule of a Student Who Wishes to Convocate in May:
Mid February: submit thesis to committee; submit thesis to FGS to check formatting
Mid March: defence
End of March/Early April (FGS deadlines vary; students check): submit final thesis to FGS
Example Schedule of a Student Who Wishes to Finish by April, Convocating in October:
End of February: submit thesis to committee; submit thesis to FGS to check formatting
End of March: defence
End of April: (FGS deadlines vary; students check): submit final thesis to FGS
Example Schedule of A Student Who Wishes to Finish During Summer Term, Convocating in October:
Mid / End of June: submit thesis to committee; submit thesis to FGS to check formatting
Mid / End of July: defence
Mid/ Late August (FGS deadlines vary; students check): submit final thesis to FGS
Important Note on Convocation Ceremonies - To have your name considered by Senate for awarding of your degree and to be included in Convocation ceremonies, you must Apply to Graduate through DalOnline. This application is located in the Student Records menu under Web for Students. It is the responsibility of the student to register on time, by December 1 for May convocation and by July 1 for October convocation. Information, dates and forms are available at: www.dal.ca/academics/convocation.html.