Graduate Guide

The Department of Modern Languages and Cultural Studies is committed to providing robust guidance to its graduate students at all stages of graduate study, both through formal relationships with supervisors and by providing informal guidance as needed. The various mechanisms through which the Department supervises and advises its graduate students are described below.

The Graduate Advisor

The Graduate Advisor, Andrea Hayes (andrea.hayes@ualberta.ca) serves as a first point of contact for all graduate student inquiries. She can provide general guidance on the graduate programs in MLCS and resources available to students.

The Stream Advisors

In the first year, or at any time when a supervisor is not in place, students are encouraged to consult the designated faculty advisor for their stream as needed for advice and supervision on academic matters. This includes but is not limited to help making connections with experts within and outside of the department and advising on course selection and supervisory committee composition as needed. The stream advisors can also supervise the completion of elective portfolio modules, providing guidance in the planning stage and signing forms on completion before they are submitted to the Graduate Advisor. In thesis-based programs, these roles will pass to the supervisor once one is selected at the end of the first academic year. In the course-based MA program, the stream advisors will continue to provide supervision to students in collaboration with the Graduate Advisor.

The Supervisor

The supervisor is directly responsible for the supervision of the student's program. In this capacity, the supervisor assists the student in planning a program, ensures that the student is aware of all program requirements, degree regulations, and general regulations of the department and the Faculty of Graduate Studies and Research (FGSR), provides counsel on all aspects of the program, and stays informed about the student's research activities and progress.

For more on the role of the Supervisor in MLCS graduate programs, see the Faculty of Graduate Studies and Research's Graduate Program Manual and the MLCS Student-Supervisor Checklist.

The Graduate Associate Chair

The department's Graduate Associate Chair is the official representative of the department to its graduate students.

The department oversees the supervision of all graduate students enrolled in its programs and serves as the chief liaison with the Faculty of Graduate Studies and Research (FGSR). It is responsible for ensuring that the student receives proper supervision and that the regulations and requirements of the FGSR are met.

The department is responsible for keeping the FGSR informed of any development in or changes relating to the student's program, including the appointment of the supervisor and supervisory committee members (where applicable) and changes to that membership, course and program changes, scheduling of examination dates, and so on.

The department maintains open communication with its students concerning any problem; and in the event of a conflict in the supervisor-student or advisor-student relationship, the Graduate Associate Chair discusses the issues with the student and supervisor or advisor in a timely fashion (see Section 9 of the Graduate Program Manual for further information).

Not sure where to start? Choosing a supervisor for your MA or your PhD thesis begins with the careful outline of your research project. The more precise your idea is, the easier it will be to find your supervisor. Some points to consider:

  • What kind of thesis do I want to write?
  • What kind of research and data collection am I interested in?
  • What is my ideal research setting?
  • Where do I want to work after graduating?
  • What do I expect from a supervisor? Do I expect my supervisor to be the top expert of my field?
  • What style of supervision do I need to be successful? (eg. hard deadlines versus more independence)

With these questions in mind, you should use the MLCS website to gather information about potential supervisors. Look at their CV and their publications. Find out what their research interests are. It is also advisable to look at the person's internet presence, i.e. research and professional platforms, such as LinkedIn or academia.edu. If a professor strikes your interest, feel free to contact him/her with further questions about their background.

Once you have decided on a potential match, you can get in touch with our Graduate Advisor and ask if any students, currently working with your potential supervisor, are willing to speak with you. Prepare a list of questions you would like to ask their students. If at all possible, you should take a course with your potential supervisor(s) and consider their teaching style and philosophy, social interactions, level of support, expectations, etc.

When listening to other students' impressions, always keep in mind that personalities matter. There needs to be chemistry between you and your supervisor.

Before you and your supervisor make your final decision, take the time to arrange a meeting with them. Discuss your project and its feasibility and find out if they have an interest in your topic. Do you think you feel comfortable working with this person? Do you 'click'? Chemistry is crucial because the relationship between a supervisor and a student is one that will ideally last well beyond the duration of your graduate program (e.g. recommendation letters, academic cooperation, professional advice etc.) However, please be mindful of the person's time and contact only those professors who you seriously consider to be a good match. Try not to approach the meeting like an 'interview' of any sort. Keep in mind that you do not only choose a supervisor but the supervisor also chooses you.

While your initiative is important in the process of finding a good match, your Stream Advisor, the Assistant Chair (Graduate) and the Graduate Advisor will support you in your search in the first year of your program. You are not required to identify a supervisor until the end of your first year of study, so take the time to get to know everyone!

These checklists are mandatory for all new student-supervisor relationships, as mandated by FGSR. These checklists should facilitate a conversation shortly after the selection process of a new supervisor. Signed copies must be returned to the Graduate Advisor.

Funding Policy

All students, domestic and international, are considered for financial assistance at the time of admission. An offer of assistance is made as part of the admission package. Any limits placed on your funding at admission supersede the general guidelines posted below.

It is expected that all SSHRC-eligible students will apply for SSHRC funding. The department offers mentorship for these applications.

All appointments for graduate students are regulated by the collective agreement for graduate students. Please review this document to acquaint yourself with your rights and responsibilities. It can be found here.

Eligibility for funding, and continuation of funding, is subject to the following conditions:

  • Needs and resources of the Department
  • Satisfactory academic progress (including but not limited to satisfactory GPA, timely completion of courses, successful completion of candidacy exams, etc)
  • Performance evaluations, including student evaluations, supervisory reports, and assistantship supervisor evaluations

When possible, MA students may be funded for 1 year.

When possible, PhD students will be funded for four years. Further funding is subject to the needs of the department and that year's budget.

The funding year refers to September 1st through April 30th. There are limited intersession teaching appointments available, and they are not guaranteed. You are responsible for budgeting to pay your spring/summer tuition as necessary.

Students who considered to be not in good standing for funding will be required to meet with the Associate Chair, Graduate, where a performance improvement plan may be put in place. The department reserves the right to suspend or terminate funding.

All graduate assistantships are paid bi-weekly directly into your bank account. The University of Alberta requires all students to enroll in direct deposit, using your Bear Tracks account. Please note that tuition deductions may occur if you have outstanding fees on your account. See Tuition and Fees for more information.

Note: All students are responsible for paying their own tuition and fees. We do not offer tuition assistance in addition to an academic appointment.

Graduate Student Office Policy

The Department will endeavour to provide as many students with offices as possible. There are a limited number of spaces available, and the assignments are prioritized as follows:

1. PhD students
2. MA students with teaching positions
3. MA students with research assistant positions

MA students who are not academically employed by the Department are encouraged to use Room 246, a large drop-in study space for MLCS graduate students only. Contact Jo Bradley at mlcs@ualberta.ca for more information and access.

Office configuration varies widely (i.e. window, number of desks) but spaces are limited and must be accepted as offered. If you are assigned an office space, you are responsible for the knowledge of and attention to the following policies:

 

  • The Department reserves the right to ask you to vacate or move your office at any time. We try to limit moves as much as possible, but with limited space it may become necessary, in order to meet the needs of the Department. You are not guaranteed the same office for the length of your degree nor are you guaranteed office space.
  • It is impermissible to live in your office or to use your office for purposes not affiliated with your work as a graduate student or instructor. Anyone found to be living in their office will have their office privileges revoked. This includes moving in your household or belongings over the summer or at any other time.
  • Do not bring in large pieces of furniture or any small appliances, including mini-fridges. If you need a fridge, please use the one in the Grad Student Lounge, Arts 312. Kettles and coffee makers are the only appliances permitted.
  • If you plan to put posters etc. on the walls, please contact Jo Bradley at mlcs@ualberta.ca first.
  • We occupy a beautiful and historic building on campus. Please respect your office space and do not vandalize or mistreat it. Please ensure you do not leave food out and that you are emptying your recycling bin regularly, as this will not be done by the janitorial service.

Bypass from MA to PhD Policy

MA thesis-based students who are interested in applying to bypass into our PhD program should speak with the Graduate Advisor early in the Fall term of Year 2 for more information on the application process. Bypass applications are due no later than January 15 of Year 2.

Overview

PhD students will complete Candidacy in Year 2 of the program* and participate in the mandatory Colloquia. Completion of Candidacy has several parts:

It is the oral defense which is considered Candidacy by FGSR; the remaining departmental requirements must be completed prior to the exam. Having successfully fulfilled all requirements above, a student is declared ABD, all but dissertation.

*FGSR mandates that students complete candidacy within the first three years of their PhD program; in MLCS we encourage completion by the end of Year 2.

Language Proficiency Requirement

PhD students are required to have reading knowledge of two languages other than English. A native language can count towards this requirement. Please see the Graduate Language Proficiency Exam page for more information about either taking a proficiency exam or completing a language course. When preparing for candidacy, please check with the Graduate Advisor to ensure that your languages are on file.

Ethics Requirement

Students are required to complete three ethics courses/seminars to fulfill this requirement. In your first year of study, you should attend two departmental workshops: Student-Supervisor Relationships and Ethics. These are offered yearly, so if you miss one in your first year, you should attend the following year. You can also complete workshops through FGSR in consultation with the Graduate Advisor.

The final requirement for ethics is an online training component, which is mandatory for all students. Click on this link to access the course through FGSR. The course should take an hour or two, and upon completion, you will receive a digital certificate. Please forward this to the Graduate Advisor as evidence of completion.

Comprehensive Exam

Description

The comprehensive exam tests the student’s knowledge in general areas related to the subject and/or discipline of the dissertation. That knowledge will be gathered from 2 reading lists. The student is responsible for compiling these lists in consultation with the supervisor, and, where appropriate, the supervisory committee and/or the stream advisor. The student is also responsible for delivering the completed lists to the supervisory committee, which must approve them. Once they are established, the supervisor emails the Graduate Advisor confirming the committee's approval and attaches (or drops off copies of) the 2 lists for the student's file. 

List 1 (30–40 texts) will encompass texts or works that provide the contextual basis on which the dissertation is founded and/or the background knowledge necessary to begin dissertation research. Depending on discipline or stream, context and background may refer to, for example, cultural history, sociocultural or political setting, theoretical foundations, etc.

List 2 (20–30 texts) will represent an area related to the dissertation that expands comprehensive knowledge and will be complementary to, though distinct from, List 1; it may be, for example: a) theoretical tradition(s) essential to dissertation work; b) a related topic explored in depth.

The lists are intended to reflect comprehensive disciplinary knowledge. As such, they will be broader than the dissertation proposal bibliography, though overlap is expected. Together the lists will number no less than 60 texts in total. Both lists may have an equal number of texts, whereby text is defined as books and articles (literary and scholarly), films, other visual works, performances, etc. Supervisors must ensure that the lists achieve a balance in terms of length and difficulty of texts, and, where appropriate, in terms of the distribution of literary/visual/other creative texts and critical works.

The exam preparation is accompanied by participation in the Comprehensive Colloquium (Fall term).

Format

The comprehensive exam will take the form of seven short (3-5 pages) papers, all of which must be completed over the course of 1 week. These papers may take different forms depending on the demands of the question or discipline, for example, critical response, thought paper, short essay, extended definition, critical review article, etc. Students will receive 7 questions, addressing each of the lists respectively; at least 1 question should address the intersection of the two lists in some manner. The questions will be thought-provoking and specific; the questions will be written by the supervisor and the supervisory committee, where appropriate under consultation with the stream advisor. In their answers, students must demonstrate comprehensive knowledge of and critically reflect on the texts as well as synthesize the knowledge gathered from the lists.

Evaluation

The questions will be evaluated by the supervisory committee. Each evaluator will use the evaluation guidelines below and log their comments on the provided exam sheet where an outcome of pass, conditional pass, or fail will be given to each question; in the case of conditional pass or fail, comments are required. The evaluator must list the aspects of the question that need be addressed in an oral assessment (in the case of conditional pass) or a rewrite (in the case of fail). The exam sheet must be submitted to the Graduate Advisor one week following receipt of questions (see the dates in the schedule below).

Pass: The answer demonstrates the student’s comprehensive understanding of the dissertation area as represented by a critical understanding of the reading lists in response to the question. If all evaluators give an outcome of pass for a given question, that question is considered complete.

Conditional pass: The answer demonstrates the student’s lack of some aspect of comprehensive or critical understanding. In the case of a conditional pass given by 1 or more examiner, the student will be asked to address concerns in an oral assessment undertaken by the supervisory committee. During the oral exam, the student needs to demonstrate their comprehensive or critical understanding related to the issues raised by the committee. For a conditional pass converted to a full pass at the conclusion of the oral exam, that question is considered complete. If any conditional pass is converted to fail, the student would follow the process for fail.

Fail: The answer fails to demonstrate the student’s comprehensive or critical understanding.  For each failed question, students will receive 24 hours for preparation upon receipt of the new but related question plus 24 hours (per question) for completion. See above for procedures following pass and conditional pass for these rewrites.

If the student receives a fail on a rewrite from 1 or more evaluator, OR if the student receives a conditional pass on a rewrite that is converted to a fail after the oral exam on that rewrite, the student will be invited to a meeting with the supervisor, 1 committee member, and the Associate Chair Graduate. The student will be asked to withdraw from the program. At the discretion of the Associate Chair Graduate, the student may be eligible to leave the program with an MA. Students should be aware that choosing to accept this option may result in additional fees due to the Change of Program.

Should the student receive an outcome of fail from all examiners on all original questions or rewrites, the student will be asked to to withdraw from the program. At the discretion of the Associate Chair Graduate, the student may be eligible to leave the program with an MA. Students should be aware that choosing to accept this option may result in additional fees due to the Change of Program.

 

Comprehensive Timeline Overview 

1. Preparation Period

Year 1, Term 1
September - December: Meet stream advisors, professors, etc.

Year 1, Term 2
January: Start the process of choosing a supervisor + committee. (The stream advisor or the Associate Chair, Graduate can guide, recommend & facilitate connections, etc.) 

April 1: Supervisor + Committee selected (can be modified if necessary).

March-April-May: work on compiling reading lists in consultation with supervisor + committee (see above).

May 15: Supervisor + Committee approves reading lists (via email to the Graduate Advisor).

May-August: Reading, completed by start of Fall Comprehensive Colloquium.

Year 2 Term 1
September-November: Comprehensive Colloquium (pass/fail) to facilitate exam preparation through peer work and guiding assignments, written and oral.

2. Exam period (see below for this year's specific dates)

Year 2 Term 1
November-December

Week 1: Comprehensive exam (Examiners = non-examining Chair, Supervisor + Committee).

Week 2: Marks due from Supervisory Committee.

Week 3: Oral exam for conditional passes.

Week 4/5: Rewrites of any failed questions completed; students will receive 24 hours for preparation upon receipt of new question(s) plus 24 hours per question for completion.

Week 6: Marks for rewrites due from Supervisory Committee; oral exam for any conditional passes on rewrites. 

 FALL 2020

October 28 Seven questions + confirmation of markers submitted to Graduate Advisor by the supervisor
October 30 Questions distributed to students via email by 9AM
November 6 Student answers due to Graduate Advisor via email by 12 NOON  
November 6 Student answers and marksheet distributed to markers via email; all markers evaluate all questions
November 16 Marksheets due to Graduate Advisor by NOON 
November 17  Graduate Advisor informs students of results
November 19-27      Committees hold oral exams for conditional passes (book a seminar room through Graduate Advisor if needed)
Nov. 30 - Dec. 4  Rewrites for failed questions (marks due 1 week after submission) 
December 7-11  Oral exams for conditional passes on rewrites 

 

Candidacy Exam 

Thesis Proposal and Oral Defense

The thesis proposal is the road map for your dissertation and is a vital exercise. As such, your thesis proposal should be a substantial document, about 40 pages plus bibliography. You will work with your supervisory committee on developing this proposal, supported by participation in the Candidacy Colloquium. Once your proposal has been approved by your supervisory committee, submit a copy signed by your supervisor to the Graduate Advisor (an email copy and email approval will also suffice). The student is responsible for distributing the approved proposal to all members of the examining committee at least three weeks in advance of the defense.

The oral defense of the proposal lasts roughly 2 hours and is done in front of a committee made up of the following members:

The supervisor must communicate exam details to the Graduate Advisor, including date, time, preferred room, and a list of all examining members plus the exam chair. If you need videoconferencing, you must also check if Arts 131 is available by contacting Clare Peters: clare.peters@ualberta.ca.

During this defense, students must display to the satisfaction of the examining committee their readiness and ability to undertake original dissertation work by showing a good grasp of the literature, methodological approaches, and essential research questions pertinent to the topic. The outcomes of the candidacy exam are: pass, conditional pass, fail and repeat candidacy, fail with a recommendation to terminate or terminate with an MA (at the discretion of the Associate Chair Graduate), adjourned. Please see the University of Alberta calendar for more information, and click here for the exam day procedure.

Colloquia

The Comprehensive Exam (Fall term) and the preparation and Oral Defense of the thesis proposal (Winter term) are each accompanied by colloquia, which support students’ work toward candidacy while also offering a space for the sharing of research and the development of inter- and cross-disciplinary literacy and methodology. The colloquia will be led by an MLCS faculty member in conjunction with guest speakers and are designed to support students throughout the comprehensive exam and candidacy process. Colloquia are marked on a pass/fail basis.

In the Comprehensive colloquium (Fall) students will work with their reading lists in the form of peer work, work with student mentors, guided discussions with guest faculty members, sample exam questions, or presentations while acquiring strategies for organizing readings, structuring information, and time management.

In the Candidacy colloquium (Winter) students will develop their research questions and work with their corpus in small workshops and larger group presentations with the end goal of completing a working dissertation prospectus by the end of the term.

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MA-course Completion
MA-thesis Defense
PhD Defense Timeline
PhD External Examiner Guidelines and Procedures

MA (course-based) Completion

After successful completion of Year 1 core and elective courses, the course-based MA is completed through the Portfolio Modules; specifically the elective modules (1 in MLCS 795 and 3 in MLCS 796). In Fall Year 2, full-time students will typically be registered in MLCS 795, MLCS 796 and MLCS 901. Upon completion of the Portfolio, credit is granted in those courses, and the Report of Completion of Course-Based Master's Degree form is submitted to FGSR by the Graduate Advisor. At the same time, students must log into Bear Tracks and apply for convocation. FGSR will not be able to process the program completion until this step is taken. Once the forms are submitted to FGSR, they take 1-2 weeks to process.

 

MA (thesis-based) Defense

The MA thesis should be approximately 50-70 pages in length and conform to the formatting standards set by FGSR. Click here for the Exam Day Procedures.

Examiners required for defense

  • Non-examining chair
  • Supervisor
  • Two examiners, at least one of whom is arm's length

Definition of arm's length for MA: An arm's length examiner is knowledgeable in the field and comes fresh to the examination. They must not have been connected with the thesis research in a significant way. The examiner should not have been associated with the student, outside of usual contact in courses or other non-thesis activities within the University, nor be related to the student or supervisor(s). The arm's length examiners should not be a former supervisor or student of the supervisor(s). Except in special circumstances (fully justified in writing to the Dean of the department's Faculty), an arm's length examiner should not be an active collaborator of the supervisor(s). An arm's length examiner may be from the same department.

Timeline

Four weeks prior to the exam: student distributes copies of the thesis to all examining members.

At least three weeks prior to the exam: supervisor communicates exam information to the Graduate Advisor. This should include the date, time, preferred room, list of examining members plus the exam chair, and information about any members who may be videoconferencing. (If you need videoconferencing, you must also check if the room is available by contacting Clare Peters: clare.peters@ualberta.ca.)

One week prior to the exam: Graduate Advisor provides the chair with exam procedures and the Thesis Approval/Program Completion form to be signed at the exam.

If the exam is a pass (this includes minor revisions such as typos), all committee members will sign the Thesis Approval/Program Completion form and the chair of the exam will return it to the Graduate Advisor.

In the case of a pass subject to revisions, all members sign except the supervisor, who will sign once revisions are complete. The chair of the examining committee must provide in writing, within five working days of the examination, to the FGSR Program Services contact for MLCS (ask the Graduate Advisor for details), the Associate Chair, Graduate and the student:

  • the reasons for this outcome
  • the details of the required revisions
  • the approval mechanism for meeting the requirement for revisions (eg. approval of the examining committee chair or supervisor, or approval of the entire examining committee, or select members of the committee)
  • the supervision and assistance the student can expect to receive from committee members.

The student must make the revisions within six months of the date of the examination. Once the revisions are approved, the Thesis Approval/Program Completion form is submitted to FGSR.

If the exam is adjourned or failed, no members should sign the Thesis Approval/Program Completion form and should consult with the Graduate Advisor.

The Graduate Advisor will submit this paperwork to FGSR for processing. Please allow 1-2 weeks before you attempt to upload your thesis online.

Doctoral (PhD) Defense

The PhD thesis should be approximately 200 pages in length and conform to the formatting standards set by FGSR. Click here for the Exam Day Procedures.

Examiners required for defense (minimum of 5 voting members)

  • Non-examining, non-voting chair
  • Supervisor
  • Supervisory Committee Members
  • 2 arm's length examiners
  • 1 external examiner from outside the University of Alberta (this person can also be one of the two arm's length examiners; see Timeline below for details)

Definition of arm's length: An arm's length examiner is knowledgeable in the field and comes fresh to the examination. They must not be (or have been) a member of the supervisory committee, or have been connected with the thesis research in a significant way. The examiner should not have been associated with the student, outside of usual contact in courses or other non-thesis activities, within the University, nor be related to the student or supervisor(s). The arm's length examiners should not be a former supervisor or student of the supervisor(s). Except in special circumstances (fully justified in writing to the Dean of the department's Faculty), an arm's length examiner should not be an active collaborator of the supervisor(s). An arm's length examiner may be from the same department and may serve as the arm's length examiner for both the candidacy exam and the final oral exam.

 

Timeline

1. Set up the external examiner (2-3 months ahead)

At least two to three months (and up to a year) ahead of the predicted completion of the dissertation, an external examiner should be selected. Please do not leave this to the last minute and request a rush, as there is ample time to do this in advance. The external examiner is selected by the supervisor, who will initiate contact and establish interest. If the examiner is agreeable to participate, the supervisor must send his or her contact information to the Associate Chair, Graduate. The supervisor must have no further contact with the examiner from this point.

There are two options for external participation: reader or examiner. An external reader will not attend or participate in the exam day. They will review the dissertation thoroughly and submit a written report to the Associate Chair, Graduate a week before the exam. This will include a vote (acceptable with no or minor revisions, unacceptable without major revisions) and a list of questions and corrections. These questions will be presented at the defense by the exam chair, and the vote will be counted. An external examiner will participate in the exam either in person or by videoconference. This examiner must still submit a letter to the Associate Chair one week ahead of the exam, with a vote on the dissertation's suitability for defense.

Approval of the external examiner is granted by the Associate Dean of Graduate Studies in the Faculty of Arts. The guidelines for selection are as follows.

The External:

  • Will be a recognized authority in the specific field of research of the student's thesis.
  • Must be experienced in evaluating doctoral area work. Externals are expected to have supervised students at the doctoral level and to have served on doctoral examining committees. The department must present a justification for any external who does not meet this criteria.
  • Must be in a position to review this thesis objectively and to provide a critical analysis of the work and the presentation. Thus, the external should not have an association with the student, the supervisor, or the department within the last six years. Under normal circumstances, the same person will not be used as an external at the University of Alberta if that external has served in the same capacity in the same department at this University within the preceding two years; this does not preclude an external serving in another department.

2. Approve the dissertation for defense

All members of the supervisory committee must agree that the dissertation is suitable and ready for defense. They can do so by emailing their approval to the Graduate Advisor.

3. Distribute the dissertation to external (five to six weeks ahead)

The external must have at least four weeks to read the dissertation, and ideally more. The student must provide a pdf (and a paper copy if requested by the external) of the dissertation to the Graduate Advisor, who will handle its distribution. Ensure you book an exam date that allows sufficient time for both delivery and reading (five to six weeks).

4. Distribute the dissertation to the exam committee (four weeks ahead)

The student is responsible for delivering the dissertation either electronically or on paper to all other members of the exam committee. Please ensure this is done at least four weeks prior to the exam date.

5. Set an exam date (at least 3 weeks ahead)

The supervisor must communicate exam details to the Graduate Advisor, including date, time, preferred room, videoconferencing requirements, and a list of all examining members plus the exam chair. (If you need videoconferencing, you must also check if the room is available by contacting Clare Peters: clare.peters@ualberta.ca.)

6. External review (one week ahead)

The external will submit a written review to the Associate Chair, Graduate. Copies will be given to the exam chair to be used in the defense. The chair will also be provided copies for the student and supervisor, to be given to them after the completion of the exam. The chair will also be provided with the Thesis Approval/Program Completion form.

7. Exam day

If the exam is a pass (this includes minor revisions such as typos), all committee members will sign the Thesis Approval/Program Completion form and the chair of the exam will return it to the Graduate Advisor.

In the case of a pass subject to revisions all members sign except the supervisor, who will sign once revisions are complete. The chair of the examining committee must provide in writing, within five working days of the examination, to the FGSR Program Services contact for MLCS (ask the Graduate Advisor for details), the Associate Chair, Graduate and the student:

  • the reasons for this outcome
  • the details of the required revisions
  • the approval mechanism for meeting the requirement for revisions (eg. approval of the examining committee chair or supervisor, or approval of the entire examining committee, or select members of the committee)
  • the supervision and assistance the student can expect to receive from committee members.

The student must make the revisions within six months of the date of the examination. Once the revisions are approved, the Thesis Approval/Program Completion form is submitted to FGSR.

If the exam is adjourned or failed, no members should sign the Thesis Approval/Program Completion form and should consult with the Graduate Advisor.

The Graduate Advisor will submit this paperwork to FGSR for processing. Please allow 1-2 weeks before you attempt to upload your thesis online.

Degree Requirements

MA Degrees (Thesis and Course-based)

Both thesis-based and course-based MA programs are offered. The thesis-based program is research focused, while the course-based program is focused on developing a variety of skills.

Students registered in either the thesis-based or course-based programs must successfully complete a minimum of 18 credits in the area of specialization and MLCS 795 (individualized modules tailored to the student's professional goals). The courses chosen to meet the 18 credit requirement will depend on the student's background and must be approved by the Department's Associate Chair (Graduate).

Language Requirement: MA students must demonstrate at least an intermediate reading knowledge of one language other than English. Credits taken to satisfy the language requirements do not count toward the degree. New students should meet with the Graduate Advisor to discuss the LOE requirement once they arrive.

In addition to the requirements listed above:

  • thesis-based student must complete MLCS 797 (academic and professional writing, which will lead into a thesis)
  • course-based student must complete MLCS 796 (individualized modules tailored to the student's professional goals, part II)

The expected time to complete for an MA degree is between twelve and twenty four months. The maximum time allowed to complete the MA program is four years.

PhD Degrees

Over the duration of their program, students must register in and successfully complete a minimum of 30 credits, as follows:

  • 18 credits in coursework in the area of specialization, approved by the Associate Chair (Graduate)
  • MLCS 795 (individualized modules tailored to the student's professional goals)
  • MLCS 797 (academic and professional writing)
  • MLCS 798 (preparation for the comprehensive exams)
  • MLCS 799 (preparation for the candidacy exam)

In addition to the requirements listed above, students must complete a thesis. Students may have the option to complete a paper-based thesis.

Language Requirement: PhD students must demonstrate at least an intermediate reading knowledge of two languages other than English. Credits taken to satisfy the language requirements do not count toward the degree. New students should meet with the Graduate Advisor to discuss the LOE requirement once they arrive.

The Department of Modern Languages and Cultural Studies requires that students demonstrate a general knowledge of their specialization of study by passing comprehensive exams prior to the candidacy exam. The Comprehensive Exam is held in late Fall of Year 2. After passing comprehensives, students prepare a thesis proposal; the Candidacy Exam is an oral defense of the thesis proposal. Students are expected to successfully complete Candidacy in their second year of study, and must be successfully completed by the end of the student's third year in the program. To support students through this process, they will complete two colloquia (MLCS 798 Comprehensives Colloquium, and MLCS 799 Candidacy Colloquium).

The expected time to complete for a PhD depends upon the student's progress. The minimum requirement is two years of study and research in residence at the University of Alberta. The maximum time allowed to complete the program is six years.

Map of MLCS Degrees

MA-Course MA-Thesis PhD

Year 1
- 18 credits of courses
(see table below)

Year 1
- 18 credits of courses
(see table below)
Year 1
- 18 credits of courses
(see table below)
     
Year 2 (Fall only)
- MLCS 795
- MLCS 796
- MLCS 901
Year 2 (Fall)
- MLCS 795
- THES 906

Year 2 (Fall)
- MLCS 795
- MLCS 798
(Comprehensive Exam)
- THES 903

     
 

 Year 2 (Winter)
- THES 906
- MLCS 797

 Year 2 (Winter)
- THES 903
- MLCS 797
- MLCS 799
(Candidacy Exam)
     
Complete in 18 months

Complete in 24 months

Year 3
- dissertation
     
Years 4-6 (max)
- dissertation
Total: 24 credits Total: 24 credits Total: 30 credits

 

Core courses

Applied Linguistics Media And Cultural Studies Translation Studies Transnational And Comparative Literatures
Year 1 (Fall) MLCS 620
MLCS 622
MLCS 650
MLCS 651
MLCS 640
MLCS 650
MLCS 602
MLCS 601
MLCS 650
MLCS 651
MLCS 630
MLCS 650
Year 1 (Winter) MLCS 621
Elective
Elective
MLCS 652
Elective
Elective
MLCS 600
Elective
Elective
MLCS 652
Elective
Elective

*Note that 3 courses (9 credits) constitutes full-time enrolment.

The following outline may be used as a guide. You should consider each of the areas that will be relevant to your research.

Background and/or introduction

-What motivated your research topic?
-Why does your research topic matter?
-How will your research contribute to the field?

Literature review

-Define and limit your area of interest along with the parameters of your study.
-Explain how your research will contribute to the current body of knowledge.
-Consult a variety of databases, indexes, and bibliographies to determine a current and relevant body of knowledge: http://guides.library.ualberta.ca
-Take advantage of the successes and failures of previous works to explore alternative perspectives and methodologies.
-Identify gaps in the literature. Where does your study fill these gaps?

Methodology/Theoretical framework

-Drawing on your literature review, explain which methodological framework (e.g., theories, hypotheses, and instruments) will be employed.
-Describe the methodology, explain why you chose it and how you will use it
-If your research involves the collection and analysis of research assets (e.g. photos, audiovisual recordings, texts) or data, explain how you will collect, manage, and preserve them (e.g., interviews, ethics application, and questionnaires). Discuss the tools employed for their interpretation (e.g., models, programs, theories).
-Discuss possible limitations arising from your methodology.

Research Questions

-Formulate the questions your research will investigate. Questions should not be too broad or too specific.
-Research questions should derive from your methodological framework and literature review.
-Research questions should be connected to each other (as opposed to being a disparate set) and be organized in a logical manner.

Dissertation outline

-The dissertation outline should reflect the literature review, methodology and research questions.
-Use numbering and/or bullets to organize the outline and highlight the outline rationale.
-Choose meaningful and specific titles describing the content of each section or chapter.

Timetable/Timeline

-Include time allocation for each significant stage of the research while allowing extra time for approval/review by the supervisory committee, ethics committee as well as for data collection and interpretation.
-Be as realistic as possible.

References/Bibliography

-Provide a list of all references that you have cited in the proposal.
-Use standard citation guidelines (e.g., MLA and APA) and consider using a citation manager, like RefWorks
-Check spelling, especially for proper names and references in foreign languages.
-If the bibliography covers various topics, consider using different sections.