Master's Studies (Thesis-Based)

Master's Studies (Thesis-Based)


Thesis-based master's programs at UAlberta train students to conduct methodical, systematic, theory-based, and collaborative research with a diversity of outstanding people, in a multitude of leading facilities and stimulating environments.

As local and global employment markets continue to evolve and expand their business models in a variety of sectors, a thesis-based Master's degree can provide those markets with the opportunity and learned skill set to find high-level solutions for a multitude of issues.



Summary of Requirements

As a thesis-based master's student at UAlberta, you need to complete a number of program requirements: define your research problem, carry out your thesis research, and write and defend your thesis-within a four year designated timeframe.

Degree requirements and responsibilities are both academic and administrative.

Learn More

Some requirements are defined by the University:

Other requirements are defined by your department, including coursework and comprehensive examinations.

Your department's section in the University Calendar as well as the graduate handbook define these requirements.



Your Academic Journey

The Faculty of Graduate Studies and Research is here to serve the graduate community and see you through a rich and successful program experience. Here are answers to questions about every phase of your journey.


Laying the Foundation

Registering in Your Program

Students in thesis-based programs are admitted as full-time students. If a department wishes to admit a thesis-based student on a part-time basis, they must inform FGSR at the time of admission.

Under certain circumstances, students who have begun their programs may request a change from full-time status to part-time status. For information on this option, please see this page.

Paying Fees
If you are a thesis-based master's student who was admitted in Fall 2011 or thereafter, you will pay an annual program fee. The amount of the fee depends on various factors, including whether you are a part-time or full-time student. See this page for information.
Securing Financial Support
Many students receive financial support in a number of ways. For information regarding teaching and research assistantships, graduate scholarships and other forms of funding, refer to the Awards and Funding section. See also this information from the GSA.


Pursuing Your Program

Working with a Supervisor and a Committee

You have one or more thesis supervisors who must meet the University's supervisory requirements. If you were not assigned one at the time of admission, please consult with your department.

Thesis-based master's students do not require a supervisory committee, although many programs form such committees. This committee would include all of your supervisors, ensure that your thesis research progresses satisfactorily, arrange for necessary examinations, and that your thesis is ready to be defended. You are also required to provide the committee with an annual report.

Maintaining Academic Standing
As a graduate student, you have to maintain good academic standing requiring satisfactory status in both course grades, as well as progress in your thesis research.
Meeting the Academic Integrity and Ethics Training Requirement

Academic Integrity and Ethics Training is mandatory for all newly-admitted UAlberta graduate students. Each student is normally expected to complete the equivalent of at least eight (8) hours of structured academic activity to meet this requirement.

For detailed information on the requirement, see this page.

Completing the Professional Development Requirement

After consultation with the Graduate Students' Association and consideration of economic job trends, the University of Alberta is the first Canadian university to implement the Professional Development (PD) Requirement (following some of the Ivy League colleges in the United States).

It's an exciting new initiative to help you recognize your talents, pursue your interests, learn professional skills and make the connections that will help you excel in your chosen field. Although it is mandatory for all incoming graduate students, some departments have professional development already incorporated into their programs. Please check with your department to confirm how this requirement is fulfilled in your program.

For detailed information on the PD Requirement, see this page.

Preparing a Thesis
At the heart of every thesis-based program is the thesis. A thesis is a piece of work which must embody the results of original investigations and analyses and be of such quality as to merit publication, meet the standards of reputable scholarly publications, and constitute a substantial contribution to the knowledge in your field. See this page for information on thesis preparation, requirements and deadlines.
Applying for a Leave of Absence or Requesting a Change to Part-Time Status

Sometimes, medical issues, parental responsibilities, or other emergencies mean that you may wish to take some time off from your studies. As a graduate student you may apply for an approved leave of absence that keeps your program in good standing. For information, see this page; access application forms for regular leaves of absence here and for maternity and/or parental, exceptional and professional leaves here.

Under certain circumstances, students who have begun their programs may request a change from full-time status to part-time status. For information on this option, please see this page. Application forms are available here.

Seeking a Program Extension
Occasionally, circumstances arise that mean that you need more than four years to complete your degree. In such cases, your department may support a program extension. See this page for information; forms are available here.


Completing the Journey

Applying for Convocation
The convocation ceremony represents a crowning achievement of your commitment to research and continuing your education.