Communication Sciences and Disorders

CSD 900 Projects

General Aims:

The CSD 900 project is the required capping exercise for the course-based track of the MSc SLP program.  The CSD 900 project is intended to give students the opportunity to independently explore a topic of interest within the domains of communication sciences and disorders.  The CSD 900 project is intended to develop students’ skills in the areas of scholarly inquiry, critical thinking and technical writing through a supervised, disciplined investigation of a particular question or issue in their chosen topic area.

Scope and Breadth:

The project is a supervised experience culminating in a scholarly written document described in detail below. The project is typically completed in small groups. CSD 900 projects include a wide range of approaches to scholarly inquiry. Projects can be empirical in nature but this is not a requirement. Acceptable empirical approaches include case studies, descriptive studies, correlational studies, single-case experimental investigations, experimental and comparative investigations, and qualitative studies. Acceptable alternatives include, but are not limited to, program evaluations, resource development, systematic reviews, evidence-based case reviews, meta-analyses, position statements, or other forms of information synthesis. Projects must significantly advance the student’s knowledge of the chosen area of study.

Projects will typically be guided by an academic staff member of the Department of Communication Sciences and Disorders (formerly known as the Department of Speech Pathology and Audiology).


Selection of a project is facilitated in the following way:

  • Students attend a departmental Research Fair to learn about potential projects.
  • Following the fair, students may talk with other students to form potential groups. They may also discuss specific projects in more detail with staff members.
  • Students will complete a Project Request Form, listing their preferences for project topics.
  • A Departmental Project Committee will assign projects, matching student needs/interests with department resources.

Student Guidelines:

Students undertaking a CSD 900 Graduate Project will be expected to assume the following responsibilities:

  • attend the research fair and select potential projects and/or supervisors
  • once the project is determined, submit a project outline to the Supervisor for review and approval
  • submit written work relevant to the project according to guidelines/deadlines set by the Supervisor
  • maintain open communication with the Supervisor concerning any problem either real or perceived
  • inform Supervisor regularly about progress
  • be aware of deadlines for possible scholarship applications and seek advice and assistance from the department in making applications early in the process if CSD 900 is part of a scholarship application
  • format the project in the template provided by the department
  • submit the approved project to the department for submission to the Education and Research Archive (ERA)

Students in modified programs should consult with the Graduate Coordinator with respect to appropriate deadlines.

Please note: Under ACSLPA regulations, students must have completed all MSc SLP degree requirements, including their CSD 900 project, prior to commencing employment as a Speech-Language Pathologist.  The project will be considered complete when the approved document is submitted electronically to the department along with the signed signature page.

Supervisor Guidelines:

The supervisor with support of the Department should:

  • provide an environment that is conducive to scholarly work and in which the student can grow intellectually
  • provide appropriate guidance to the student on the scope of the project and the standard expected
  • be accessible to give advice and constructive criticism
  • make the student aware of the normal expectations held by the Supervisor and the Department
  • establish with the student a realistic timetable for completion of various phases of the program
  • consider a graduate student as a “junior colleague”
  • ensure that there are sufficient materials and supervisory resources for each graduate student under supervision
  • ensure, when on leave or absent for an extended period of time, that the student is adequately supervised by arranging for an acting supervisor (who should be a member of the Department staff)
  • ensure that the student is aware of the student guidelines and, when necessary, assist the student in meeting these
  • assist with the ethics approval process, if such approval is necessary
  • read, comment on, document and return promptly all written work submitted within deadlines
  • provide timely and explicit feedback to the student as to the adequacy of performance throughout the project
  • be especially conscientious about written documentation when standards of student work are poor, performance is inadequate, or progress is delayed
  • verify with the Department Administrative Assistant: a) willingness to supervise the SPA 900 project at initiation, and b) completion of the project, with appropriate signatures, so formal documentation can go to FGSR


Formatting instructions, a sample project and submission instructions including the signature page can be found here:

CSD 900 Formatting Instructions

CSD 900 Sample Project

CSD 900 Submission Instructions and Signature Page

Completed projects can be found on the Education and Research Archive in the Collection of Speech Pathology & Audiology.  


First Year

October:  CSD 900 project form signed by student/supervisor(s)

January 15:  Web CT Ethics requirement submitted to the Department Office

February 1:  Research bursary deadline (if applicable)

April 1:  CSD 900 and Thesis abstract due

Second Year

June 30:  Final project and signature page submission

Clinical practicum paperwork: when complete (variable timeline)

Applying for major scholarships

The research component of the MSc SLP program

The major scholarships are available to our students because of the requirement for research experience through either a CSD 900 project or a thesis.  

The process for assigning students to theses and projects is as follows:
There is a Research Fair early in the first term of the student's program, at which professors present topics that they would like to supervise; then each student submits a form ranking five or more projects (and three or more thesis topics/supervisors, if interested in a thesis) in order of preference.  The Project/Thesis Selection Committee assigns students to a topic and supervisor based on their preference lists and supervisor workload. Students who wish to do a thesis must discuss it with the potential supervisor in advance.

Funding possibilities related to research area

The three funding agencies of the Canadian "tri-council" offer Canada Graduate Scholarships for students in Master's programs with a research focus (such as ours).  These are substantial (approximately $17,000).  The three agencies are:  Canadian Institutes for Health Research (CIHR), Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council (SSHRC), and Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council (NSERC).

Students may apply to only one of the three councils, dependent upon the subject matter of the proposed research.  The tri-council awards come up very soon in the first term of the program, so if you can do some reading and thinking in advance, it can be an advantage.

If you are thinking about a thesis, then you should contact a potential supervisor (or more than one) in the summer before you begin the program. That person could help you refine your ideas and choose the council that is most closely related to that topic. The same goes for course-based route - if you have a topic that you would like to pursue, please feel free to contact the supervisor(s) most likely to be involved in the research to discuss possible SPA 900 projects. However, with SPA 900 projects, it is likely that you would need to participate in a topic proposed by the supervisor with a small group of students.  For both projects and theses, students will not know whether they have been assigned to the topic of their choice until the committee makes the assignments after the Research Fair. This means that it may not be possible to do all the work for an application in the summer before beginning in the program, but it is advantageous to do some reading on a topic of interest and speak to potential supervisors of that topic, so that when the time comes to apply, you have some background to expand on.

The Queen Elizabeth II (QEII) awards are applied for in late spring of the first year for funding in the second year.  If you have applied for a tri-council award, the research project proposal that you would have written for that could be used for the QEII application as well.  You cannot get both - if you are awarded a QEII and then you wind up getting a SSRHC as well, you would take the latter (as it is more money).  The timing is often such that the deadline for QEII comes before we learn the results of the tri-council awards.

For all of these awards, the Department sends out information about deadlines and procedures at the appropriate time.