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Graduate Project or Major Paper Evaluation Policy

Classification number ACD 1516
Framework category Academic
Approving authority Academic Council
Policy owner Dean, Graduate Studies
Approval date February 23, 2021
Review date February 2024
Supersedes Academic Regulations, Graduate Academic Calendar 2020‐21

Purpose

The purpose of this Policy is to outline the requirements and outcomes for the evaluation of a master’s student’s project or major paper.

Definitions

For the purposes of this Policy the following definitions apply:

“Graduate Faculty Appointment” means a faculty member with an academic appointment at the University who has been approved to participate in a graduate program in one of the three categories: Graduate Faculty, Associate Graduate Faculty or Emeritus/Emerita Graduate Faculty.

“Graduate Program Director” means academic administrators with a Graduate Faculty Appointment within an academic unit and help to ensure the success of the program and its students.

“Master’s Degree” means an advanced degree that is normally completed after receiving a first degree in a related subject area. It contains a prescribed set of courses, and/or other units of study, research or practice within an area of disciplinary or interdisciplinary study, normally requiring at least 30 credit hours of study. Master’s Degrees may comprise a thesis component, a project or major paper, or be primarily comprised of coursework:

  1. a) A Master’s Degree with thesis is a research oriented Program comprised of advanced courses and intensive research culminating in a thesis. The thesis constitutes at least nine credit hours and involves an oral examination with assessment by an external examiner.
  2. b) A Master’s Degree with a project or major paper is a research oriented Program comprised of advanced courses and intensive research culminating in a project or major paper. The project or major paper constitutes at least six credit hours of supervised research and assessment by a Research Supervisor and a second reader.
  3. c) A Master’s Degree by coursework is comprised primarily of course work, and may also include other units of study, research and practice.

“Research Supervisor” means a faculty member with a Graduate Faculty Appointment that oversees a graduate student’s research and academic progress towards successful completion of the student’s program.

“Transcript” means the complete report of a student's academic record.

Scope and authority

This Policy applies to graduate students in a Master’s program completing a project or major paper, Graduate Program Directors, supervisors, readers and all others involved in the student’s project or major paper.

The Dean of Graduate and Postdoctoral Studies, or successor thereof, is the Policy Owner and is responsible for overseeing the implementation, administration and interpretation of this Policy.

Policy

A Master’s project or major paper normally expects students to combine and apply the knowledge garnered from graduate level courses. It often involves the discussion of a meaningful question within the discipline, including a critical review of the literature or analysis of a theoretical or substantive problem. Students usually complete this requirement under the supervision of a professor. The credit value and length of a project or major paper is less than that of a thesis. Students may be expected to present their work orally to an audience, but they are not required to undergo a formal oral examination.

General

  1. The student's Research Supervisor authorizes the student to begin the project or major paper.
  2. The Research Supervisor or co‐supervisors and at least one other reader shall evaluate the project or major paper.
  3. Reader(s) are appointed by the Graduate Program Director and must hold a Graduate Faculty Appointment to the program.
  4. All evaluations must be accompanied by a report that outlines the reasons for the decision.

Outcomes of the Evaluation

The supervisor(s) and reader(s) will assign one of the following four evaluations:

  • Acceptable without Required Revisions.
  • Acceptable with Minor Revisions.
  • Major Revisions Required.
  • Not Acceptable.
  1. Acceptable without Required Revisions
    1. In cases where all the submitted evaluations are Acceptable without Required Revisions, a grade of Pass will be given.
  2. Acceptable with Minor Revisions
    1. In cases where at least one evaluation is Acceptable with Minor Revisions and there are no Major Revisions Required or Not Acceptable evaluations, the Research Supervisor ensures that the student's work is revised to respond to the recommended minor revisions.
    2. Normally, these revisions must be completed within four weeks.
    3. Minor revisions must not fundamentally change the content of the project or major paper.
    4. Upon the satisfactory completion of the revisions, a grade of Pass will be submitted for the student.
  3. Major Revisions Required
    1. In cases where at least one evaluation is Major Revisions Required and there are no Not Acceptable evaluations, the Research Supervisor ensures that the student's work is revised to respond to the recommended changes.
    2. These revisions must be completed within six months.
    3. After these revisions are complete, the student's project or major paper is circulated a second time for evaluation by the Research Supervisor or co-supervisor and at least one other reader appointed by the Graduate Program Director.
    4. Any evaluation of Major Revisions Required or Not Acceptable from the second reading results in a grade of Fail.
    5. Any evaluation of Acceptable without Revisions or Acceptable with Minor Revisions will be processed accordingly and the student will be given a grade of Pass.
  4. Not Acceptable
    1. In cases where there are at least two Not Acceptable evaluations, the student will be given a grade of Fail.
    2. In cases where there is only one Not Acceptable evaluation, the Graduate Program Director will meet with the Research Supervisor and the student within two weeks. The Graduate Program Director chooses one of two options after this consultation:
        • The Graduate Program Director sends the project or major paper to another reader within four weeks.
          • The project or major paper may incorporate only minor revisions.
          • If the new reader determines that the project or major paper is either Acceptable without Revisions, Acceptable with Minor Revisions or Major Revisions Required, the evaluation of the student's work will continue with the appropriate level of response as outlined above for the decision that requires the greatest revision.
          • If the new reader evaluates the work as Not Acceptable, the student will have then received a second Not Acceptable and is given a grade of Fail.
        • The Graduate Program Director follows the procedures associated with Major Revisions Required.

 

Transcript Notation

Upon acceptance of the student’s project or major paper, the title of the work and date of approval are recorded on the Transcript.

Monitoring and review

This Policy will be reviewed as necessary and at least every three years.  The Dean of Graduate and Postdoctoral Studies, or successor thereof, is responsible to monitor and review this Policy.

Relevant legislation

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Related policies, procedures & documents

Graduate Academic Calendar
Graduate Faculty Appointments Policy
Responsibilities of Graduate Program Directors, Faculty Advisors, Research
Supervisors and Graduate Students Policy
Graduate Submission of Thesis, Project or Major Paper Policy