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Thesis Guide


Students who have achieved an A-minus (3.7 GPA) or higher average in their first 8 MLIS courses may consider the thesis option in lieu of 4 half-credit elective courses. Thesis work is subject to school approval and is undertaken according to the research standards required by the Faculty of Graduate Studies (FGS). The thesis must display original scholarship expressed in satisfactory literary form and be of such value as to merit publication.

Roles and Responsibilities

Students, supervisors, committee members & external readers should review the pages below for a complete overview of the thesis process.

Completing a MLIS Thesis

Selection of Topic and Supervisor

Students considering the thesis option should meet with the SIM Director to discuss the topic, selection of a supervisor, the potential timeline, and course selection.

NOTE: It is beneficial to complete a reading course in the area of interest prior to beginning work on the thesis.

Thesis Proposal

A thesis proposal will vary depending on the nature of the proposed research; however, as a minimum the following must be addressed:

  • Title
  • Introduction explaining the rationale for the research
  • Review of the literature providing the context for the research
  • Purpose of the research expressed as a research question or research hypotheses
  • Methodology (including a copy of data collection instruments, as appropriate)
  • Timeline for the research
  • Funding requirements

The thesis proposal must be approved by the Supervisory Committee. A copy of the approved thesis proposal must be submitted to SIM.

Approved thesis proposals must be submitted to FGS no later than one week before the start of class in any term and final approval must be received within the first two weeks of classes.

Ethics Approval

Thesis research projects involving human subjects must receive ethics approval from one of the Ethics Review Boards at Dalhousie (or, as applicable, an Ethics Review Board in the institution where research will be undertaken). Most MLIS theses research projects will be submitted to the Social Sciences and Humanities Ethics Review Board for approval.

Further details about ethics review are available on the Research Services website.


Students enrolled in a thesis are eligible to apply for Travel Grants through the Faculty of Graduate Studies.


You must register for one of the following:

  • INFO 9000.12 (Thesis): Select this course code and number if you are a FUNDED (e.g. SSHRC Award) thesis-option MLIS student.
  • INFO 9000.06 x/y (Thesis): Select this course code and number if you are a regular thesis-option MLIS student.
  • INFO 9003.00 (Thesis Continuing):All thesis-option MLIS students who are continuing work on their thesis must register for this course.

Once you become a continuing student, you must also register for REGN 9999 every term. REGN 9999 is listed in the Academic Timetable as "Registration Course—Graduate".

For more registration details visit the Graduate Student Registration page or contact us

Annual Progress Report

Thesis students who continue to work on their thesis 11 months after their program start date are required to submit an Annual Progress Report to the Faculty of Graduate Studies on an annual basis.

Program start date Progress report due
September August 1
January December 1

Progress reports are completed on GSIS (through Dal Online). Instructions can be found in the GSIS manual under the heading "Program Reports".

Thesis Format Guidelines

MLIS students are responsible for ensuring that their theses manuscripts comply with all aspects of the FGS Format Guidelines. Samples and templates are provided on this site.

Students can find an overview of items and formats required by FGS on the Thesis Formatting Checklist site.

Thesis Format Check

All thesis students are required to submit a copy of their thesis to FGS for a format check before their thesis defence. Email your thesis (in PDF format) to thesis.review@dal.ca. Please include your banner number in the email.

Note: FGS normally takes two business days to complete a format check. You may request a maximum of two format checks.

Thesis Submission

For full instructions on submitting a final thesis, please refer to the FGS website. Be sure to make note of the Thesis Submission Deadlines.

Required thesis submission forms can be found on the FGS website here

All theses are submitted electronically to the Dalhousie Institutional Repository (DalSpace) in PDF/A format, where they are searchable and available to the public via the internet.