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Program Rules & Policies 2016-2017

Graduate Program Handbook guidelines & policies for the department of political science graduate program

In effect September 1, 2016

Applies to All Political Science Graduate Students Unless Indicated

Table of contents

Preface i

I. Admissions Guidelines & Policies

1. Minimum Program Requirements For Consideration For Admission 1

A. Minimum GPA 1

B. Background in Political Science 1

C. Proof of Proficiency in the English Language 2

D. Adequate Supervision 2

2. Application Documents Required 2

A. Documents required for all applicants 2

B. MA-Specific Application Documents 3

C. PhD-Specific Application Documents 3

II. Funding & Resource Guidelines & Policies For All Graduate Students

1. Departmental Funding Guidelines For Graduate Students 4

A. Length of Guaranteed Departmental Funding 4

B. Satisfaction of Department’s Guaranteed Funding to Students 4

C. Maintenance of Guaranteed Funding 5

D. Requirements to Seek Funding for Canadian Citizens & Permanent Residents 5

E. Requirements to Seek Funding for International Students 5

2. Departmental Payment Guidelines For Graduate Students 6

A. Tuition Fees & Fee Reductions 6

B. Payment schedule 6

C. Funding During Spring/Summer Semester 6

D. Graduate Student Payment Plan 7

E. Fee Payment 7

F. Direct Deposit 7

G. Income Tax 7

3. Graduate Program Travel Grants Policy 7

A. Purpose & Policy 7

B. Graduate Program Travel Grant Application Form & Instructions 8

C. Other Sources of Travel Assistance or grants 8

4. Departmental Graduate Student Office Space Policy 9

III. Supervision, Progress Reports, & Extension Policies
For All Graduate Students

1. Departmental Supervisory Policy 10

A. Eligibility for Supervisory Privileges 10

B. Supervisory Limits 10

C. Appointment of Interim Supervisor 10

D. Appointment of Permanent Supervisor 11

E. Appointment of Co-Supervisor 11

F. Forms for the Appointment of Supervisors 11

G. Appointment of Supervisory Committee (For PhD Students Only) 11

2. Master’s Program Required Meetings & Reports 12

A. FGS Annual Progress Reports for MA Students 12

B. Additional Meetings & Reports for MA Students 12

3. Doctoral Program required meetings & reports 12

A. FGS Annual Progress Reports for PhD Students 12

B. Additional Meetings & Reports for PhD Students 13

4. Extension to Graduate Program 13

IV. Master’s Program: Guidelines & Policies

CHART: Recommended Timeline for Completion of MA 14

⁠1. Master’s Course work 14

A. Course Work Requirements 14

B. Timing of the Course Work 15

C. Choosing Courses 15

D. Reading Courses 15

E. Successful Completion of the Course Work Component 16

F. Appeal Process for Course Work 16

2. Master’s Schedule for Completion 16

3. Master’s Thesis Preparation 16

A. Quality of MA Thesis Draft 16

B. MA Thesis Length 16

C. Supervisor & MA Thesis Drafts 17

D. MA Thesis Editing 17

4. MAster’s Thesis Defense 17

A. Scheduling the Master’s Thesis Oral Defense 17

B. Right of Student to Submit and Defend Master’s Thesis 18

C. Discussion of Master’s Thesis prior to the exam forbidden 18

D. Master’s Thesis Oral Examination Committee 18

V. Doctoral Program: Candidacy Regulations

1. Course work 20

A. Course Work Requirements 20

B. Timing of the Course Work 20

C. Choosing Courses 20

D. Reading Courses 20

E. Successful Completion of the Course Work Component 22

F. Appeal Process for Course Work 22

2. Field of Study (FOS) Written examinations 22

A. FoS Written Examinations Requirements 22

B. Timing of the FoS Written Examinations 22

C. Format & Structure of the FoS Written Exam & Student Answers 23

D. Setting the Questions for the FoS Written Examinations 23

E. Student Preparation for FoS Written Examinations 23

F. FoS Exam Committee & Evaluation of the FoS Written Exam 23

G. Successful Completion of the FoS Written Exam Component 24

H. Failure & the Appeal Process for the FoS Written Examinations 24

3. Field of Study (FOS) Oral examination 25

A. FoS Oral Examination Requirements 25

B. Timing of the FoS Oral Examination 25

C. Format & Structure of the FoS Oral Examination 25

D. Setting the Questions for the FoS Oral Examination 25

E. FoS Exam Committee & Evaluation of the FoS Oral Examination 25

F. Successful Completion of the FoS Oral Examination Component 26

G. Failure & the Appeal Process for the FoS Oral Examination 26

4. Thesis Proposal Submission & Meeting 26

A. Thesis Proposal & Meeting Requirements 26

B. Timing of Thesis Proposal & Meeting 26

C. Guidance for the Preparation of the Thesis Proposal 26

D. Format & Content of the Thesis Proposal 27

E. Evaluation of the Thesis Proposal 27

F. Successful Completion of Thesis Proposal & Meeting Component 27

G. Failure to Approve & Appeal Process for Proposal & Meeting 28

5. Language Requirement (if applicable) 28

A. Purpose of the Language Requirement 28

B. Timing of the Language Requirement 28

C. Successful Completion of the Language Requirement 29

6. Field of Study Oral Examination ProcedureS 29

A. The FoS Examination Committee & its Neutral Chair 29

B. Oral Examination Process 29

C. Outcomes 30

D. Passing the Oral Examination 30

E. Failing the Oral Examination 30

F. Re-take of Examination 31

G. Appeals 31

VI. Doctoral Program: Doctoral Dissertation Guidelines & Policies

1. Doctoral Dissertation Preparation 32

A. Quality of Dissertation Draft 32

B. dissertation Length 32

C. Supervisory Committee & Dissertation Drafts 32

D. Dissertation Editing 32

2. Doctoral Dissertation Defense 32

A. Scheduling the Doctoral Dissertation Oral Defense 33

B. Right of Student to Submit and Defend Dissertation 33

C. Discussion of dissertation prior to the exam forbidden 33

D. Dissertation Oral Examination Committee 33

VII. Thesis Oral Examination Guidelines & Policies
 for all Graduate Students

1. Departmental Neutral chairs policy 35

2. Thesis Oral Examination is Open 35

3. Written Thesis Assessments 35

4. Length of Oral Examination 35

5. Oral Examination Procedures 35

A. Student’s opening remarks 36

B. Rounds of Questions to the Candidate 36

C. Official Examiners’ Discussion 36

6. Examining Committee Recommendations 36

VIII. Thesis Research guidelines for all graduate students

1. Ethics Approval 37

2. Travel Risk Policy 37

Preface

This Graduate Program Handbook governs all graduate students registered in the Department of Political Science graduate program, unless otherwise stated. In case of disagreement between Faculty of Graduate Studies (FGS) rules and this Graduate Program Handbook, the FGS rules will be followed.

Substantive modifications to the Graduate Program Handbook’s rules and policies will come into effect September 1 the following academic year. Corrections will come into effect immediately.

I. Admissions Guidelines & Policies

The Faculty of Graduate Studies (FGS) sets a minimum criteria for application for graduate studies (see the Faculty of Graduate Studies Calendar under “Admissions”). Each program can set its own, higher, standards. The Department of Political Science has done so.

1. Minimum Program Requirements For Consideration For Admission

A. Minimum GPA

For the MA Program: a minimum grade point average of 3.4 on a four-point scale over the last two years (or approximately ten full-course equivalents) in the undergraduate program.

For the PhD Program: A minimum grade point average of 3.7 on a four-point scale over completed graduate courses and the last two years (or approximately ten full-course equivalents) at the undergraduate level.

B. Background in Political Science

Normally applicants must have an immediately prior degree in Political Science. However, students with a prior degrees in a related discipline—such as Canadian Studies, International Relations, Philosophy, Sociology, History, Economics, Public Policy and Administration—may be considered for admission.

Student’s with an immediately prior degree far removed from Political Science, will not be eligible for consideration for admission.

C. Proof of Proficiency in the English Language

An applicant to the Department of Political Science whose primary language is not English may fulfill the English language proficiency requirement through one of the following tests:

TOEFL with a minimum score of 105 on the internet based test or 600 on the paper based test.

IELTS with a minimum score of 7.5.

MELAB with a minimum score of 86.

PTE with a minimum score of 75.

The test must be completed within the last two years.

D. Adequate Supervision

Applicants will only be considered for admission to our graduate program if the Department can provide adequate supervisory support throughout their program. Adequate supervisory support means:

The agreement of a Supervisor who works in the student’s proposed area of thesis research as well as her or his availability relative to the Department’s supervisory load limits.

The possibility of forming a Supervisory Committee (where applicable) from faculty members whose research strengths can support the student’s research program.

Applicants who lack adequate supervisory support will not be considered for admission to our graduate program.

2. Application Documents Required

A. Documents required for all applicants

The Department of Political Science requires the following documents from all applicants (MA and PhD) to our graduate program:

Proof of agreement to supervise from one or more faculty members in the student’s proposed area of thesis research. Admission will not be granted without proof that adequate supervision is available during the applicant’s studies.

The non-refundable, FGS application fee.

Two letters of reference.

Two official sets of transcripts, in sealed, endorsed institutional envelopes, sent directly by institutions from all post-secondary institutions attended. Transcripts issued in a language other than English must be accompanied by an exact certified English translation.

All degree certificates (if awarding of degree is not on transcript), in sealed, endorsed institutional envelopes, sent directly by institutions from all post-secondary institutions attended. Degree certificates issued in a language other than English must be accompanied by an exact certified English translation.

A sample of the applicant’s academic work.

Proof of Proficiency in the English language from applicants whose primary language is not English. The test must be completed within the last 2 years.

B. MA-Specific Application Documents

The Department of Political Science requires the following additional documents from all applicants to our MA program:

A research proposal of no more than one page which outlines the objectives of the research, the context, methodology, and the contribution to the advancement of knowledge.

C. PhD-Specific Application Documents

The Department of Political Science requires the following additional documents from all applicants to our PhD program:

A research proposal of no more than two pages (excluding bibliography) which describes the research question, context, objectives, methodology and contribution to the advancement of knowledge, and the applicant’s special interests in the proposed area of research. If possible, the proposal should show how the applicant’s proposed courses and potential supervisor will support her or his objectives.

II. Funding & Resource Guidelines & Policies For All Graduate Students

1. Departmental Funding Guidelines For Graduate Students

These funding guidelines are intended for information purposes only. Students should refer to their official Letter of Admission for (a) the Department’s funding commitments that apply to them; and, (b) the rules that govern their particular funding package.

A. Length of Guaranteed Departmental Funding

MA Students are normally guaranteed Departmental funding in the first two years of their program.

PhD Students are normally guaranteed Departmental funding in the first four years of their program.

B. Satisfaction of Department’s Guaranteed Funding to Students

Normally, all the following count towards the satisfaction of the Department’s guaranteed funding to a student:

Payment from all scholarships or fellowships. Note: the Department will ensure that a student will be better off financially by accepting an award than she or he would be by relying on Departmental support alone.

Payment from all Graduate Assistant (Teaching) positions (“an appointment to assist with the instructional responsibilities of departments”, i.e., a teaching assistantship).

Payment from all Graduate Assistant (Non-Teaching) (“an appointment made out of funds normally held by the Department Head or equivalent to assist departments and/or academic staff with research responsibilities).

Payment from all Graduate Assistant (Research) position (“an appointment made out of funds held by a Researcher to assist with his/her research responsibilities” i.e., a research assistant).

Payment from all Sessional Instructor positions held at the University of Calgary

If the student is offered any of the above by the Department, but declines it, then any payment which the student would have received from the declined position(s) will count towards the satisfaction of the Department’s guaranteed funding to the student.

For returning students: awards which begin in the Spring semester will be counted in their overall funding package for the next year.

C. Maintenance of Guaranteed Funding

The guaranteed funding indicated in a student’s official letter of admission is contingent on adequate progress through her or his graduate program. Adequate progress means the satisfaction of all of the following:

Maintain “adequate progress” in her or his program as defined by the Faculty of Graduate Studies Graduate Calendar (see “Academic Standing”)

a rating of “satisfactory” or better in her or his Annual Progress Report by the Graduate Program Director.

For MA students: a minimum average 3.4 GPA across all courses taken as part of the degree program.

For PhD students: a minimum average 3.7 GPA across all courses taken as part of the degree program.

D. Requirements to Seek Funding for Canadian Citizens & Permanent Residents

All eligible MA and PhD students must apply for Social Science and Humanities Research Council (SSHRC) funding as well as the University’s Graduate Awards Competition (GAC). Failure to apply may result in a decrease in or cancellation of Departmental funding.

SSHRC fellowships and GAC awards or bursaries count towards the student’s overall Departmental funding package. However, if the student is successful in either of these competitions the Department will ensure that the student’s funding for that year will be increased above the minimum guaranteed in her or his letter of admission. 

E. Requirements to Seek Funding for International Students

All eligible MA and PhD students must apply each year for any external awards funded through their home governments. Failure to apply may result in a decrease in or cancellation of Departmental funding.

All eligible MA and PhD students must apply each year for the University’s Graduate Awards Competition (GAC). Failure to apply may result in a decrease in or cancellation of departmental funding.

2. Departmental Payment Guidelines For Graduate Students

A. Tuition Fees & Fee Reductions

Tuition fees and all fees related to maintaining registration in the program are the responsibility of the student are not subtracted from or included in the student’s funding package.

Tuition fee costs are given on the Faculty of Graduate Studies’ fees page (http://www.grad.ucalgary.ca/fees).

For PhD students: tuition fees (both international and domestic) are substantially reduced by the Faculty of Graduate Studies in the semester immediately following completion of all candidacy requirements.

For MA students: tuition fees (both international and domestic) are substantially reduced by the Faculty of Graduate Studies after the first year in the program. 

International students may be eligible to receive a partial return of the international portion of their tuition fees. For fee information refer to:   http://www.grad.ucalgary.ca/current/tuition

The Graduate Student Fee Payment Plan is available for students receiving funding and allows students to pay their fees in instalments over a specified period of time. Please see the Registrar’s fees page (http://www.ucalgary.ca/registrar/fees/graduatepayment).

B. Payment schedule

Students will not receive their first payment until the 25th month of the first month they are receiving funding or awards.

GAT payments will be dispersed in 8 equal instalments beginning the 25th of the first month and thereafter on the 10th and 25th until the 10th of the month after students complete their GAT positions. Payment will always be 10 days in arrears.

Scholarship/award payments are dispersed in 4 equal instalments on the 25th of each actual month. 

C. Funding During Spring/Summer Semester

Funding is normally dispersed only in the Fall and Winter semesters but graduate students will also owe fees for Spring/Summer semester whether students are taking courses or not. Students should take these Spring/Summer fees into account when budgeting.

Remember: Awards which begin in the Spring semester (for returning students) will be counted in the student’s overall funding package for the next year; however, students will be paid according to the schedule set out in the terms of the award.

D. Graduate Student Payment Plan

For more information on the Graduate Student Payment Plan, please see the Registrar’s Fees & Finance web page: http://www.ucalgary.ca/registrar/fees/graduatepayment

Students may be eligible to pay their fees on a deferral basis rather than by the fee deadline each semester.

Keep in mind that any deferral of fees should match the time period students know they will be receiving funding.

The Graduate Program Administrator must sign all completed Graduate Student Payment Plan Applications before students submit them to the Faculty of Graduate Studies.

E. Fee Payment

Fee payment options can be found on the Registrar’s Fees & Finances website (http://www.ucalgary.ca/registrar/payment). The payment options do not include credit cards.

F. Direct Deposit

If students have not done so already or if any banking information has changed students must submit direct deposit information through the on-line Student Center. All University of Calgary payments are made by direct deposit into the student’s banking account.

G. Income Tax

Please note that GA(T) positions are subject to income tax regulations, and that while the University will deduct some income tax at source, students are ultimately responsible for meeting their full income tax obligation.

3. Graduate Program Travel Grants Policy

A. Purpose & Policy

The Graduate Program wishes to encourage students to engage in professional and career development activities associated with their degree such as conference attendance and field research.

The Graduate Program’s travel grants policy is comprised of the following requirements and procedures:

Students must have exhausted other sources of travel assistance (see 3.C. below) before they are eligible to apply to the Graduate Program for a travel grant.

Students may apply only once an academic year for a Graduate Program travel grant.

Graduate Program travel grants will be distributed at the same time at the end of the financial year (generally early April) and are for travel completed in the 12 months prior to the award date (i.e., in the period covering the previous April up to March of the current year).

The availability of travel grants each year is dependent on the availability of funds. When funds are available the following formula will be used:

Maximum Travel Grant Per Student = (student’s year-in-program) x (travel grant unit)

The maximum “year-in-program” is 6 for a PhD student and 2 for a MA student.

The “travel grant unit” value will vary from year to year depending on funds and number of applications, but previously it has been $125.

B. Graduate Program Travel Grant Application Form & Instructions

Students who are eligible to apply for a Graduate Program travel grant will complete the Faculty of Graduate Studies Graduate Travel Award Application (available by following the links at: https://grad.ucalgary.ca/awards/opportunities/university_awards) and submit it to the Graduate Program Administrator, Judi Powell, along with copies of the original receipts.

The deadline for applications is April 1 or the first business day thereafter.

C. Other Sources of Travel Assistance or grants

Apart from Graduate Program funding, the following travel grants are available at the University. To maximize their chances of finding suitable funding, students should familiarize themselves with the rules and timelines associated with the following grants:

The Faculty of Graduate Studies (FGS) Travel Award for Canadians and Permanent Residents. (See: https://grad.ucalgary.ca/awards/opportunities/university_awards and then look for “Faculty of Graduate Studies Travel Awards”)

The University Research Grant Competition (URGC) Services Graduate Conference Travel Award (for international students on a student visa). (See: http://www.ucalgary.ca/research/researchers/forms-and-resources/forms and then look under the heading “Internal Grants”)

The University Research Grant Competition (URGC) Thesis/Dissertation Research Grant. (See: http://www.ucalgary.ca/research/researchers/forms-and-resources/forms and then look under the heading “Internal Grants”)

The Graduate Students’ Association (GSA) Professional Development Grants. (See http://gsa.ucalgary.ca/grants).

Conditional on its yearly budget, and separate from the Graduate Program, the Department of Political Science may be able to provide some modest support for student travel. Please contact the Head of Department via the Department Manager, Ella Wensel at ewensel@ucalgary.ca, to enquire as to the status of funding. Students can apply both the Graduate program and the Department at the same time.

4. Departmental Graduate Student Office Space Policy

MA students will be guaranteed shared office space for up to three years.

PhD students will be guaranteed shared office space for up to six years.

Requests for office space beyond the guaranteed period will be considered based on availability and on a case-by-case basis.

Registered students who no longer make regular use of their office space may be assigned a shared desk.

Graduate students who hold a GA(T), GA(NT), or a Sessional Instructor position in the Department are guaranteed shared office space.

A $20.00 deposit will be required from incoming graduate students before they receive a room, mailbox and computer lab key. This money will be returned to students once they turn in all of their keys at the end of their program. The deposit will not be returned until the office space is checked to ensure all belongings are taken with the student.

III. Supervision, Progress Reports, & Extension Policies For All Graduate Students

1. Departmental Supervisory Policy

Supervision is an integral and critical aspect of the graduate program in the Department of Political Science.

A. Eligibility for Supervisory Privileges

To have status to supervise graduate students (MA or PhD), the faculty member must meet Faculty of Graduate Studies (FGS) criteria for Supervisory Privileges and have been approved by FGS.

In addition, within the Department of Political Science, to be eligible to supervise doctoral students, the faculty member must:

have successfully supervised (not just co-supervised) one graduate student to completion at the University of Calgary or elsewhere.

have an active research program.

hold a doctoral degree (or equivalent).

know the relevant policies and procedures for graduate students registered in a graduate program.

B. Supervisory Limits

Faculty members must give priority to supervision within the Department of Political Science and are limited to supervising six graduate students (MA or PhD) at any one time.

In exceptional circumstances, the Graduate Program Director (GPD), on the advice of the Graduate Committee, may authorize exceptions to these rules.

C. Appointment of Interim Supervisor

Upon entering the graduate program, all students are assigned an Interim Supervisor, usually the faculty member they have contacted while in the application process.

A graduate student must have an Interim Supervisor within the first month of the program.

D. Appointment of Permanent Supervisor

The selection of an eligible Permanent Supervisor is made by mutual agreement between the student, the faculty member, and the GPD. A Permanent Supervisor should normally be appointed by the end of April of the first year of registration.

At the time of appointment, the Permanent Supervisor should be currently active in research in an area related to the student’s interest.

E. Appointment of Co-Supervisor

Once a student has a Permanent Supervisor, a Co-Supervisor may also be appointed by mutual agreement between the student, Supervisor, and the GPD. A Co-Supervisor means an individual who is named as Co-Supervisor and serves as a second Supervisor of a Graduate Student.

F. Forms for the Appointment of Supervisors

Appointment of an Interim Supervisor and/or Permanent Supervisor will be completed by submitting an Appointment of Supervisor form.

G. Appointment of Supervisory Committee (For PhD Students Only)

PhD students must have a Supervisory Committee. A Supervisory Committee normally consists of:

the Supervisor

the Co-Supervisor (if one is appointed; co-supervisors are not required)

two additional members who are normally experts in the proposed area of thesis research.

The Supervisory Committee should be appointed as quickly as possible after the appointment of the Permanent Supervisor.

Please note: MA students do not have a Supervisory Committee, only a Supervisor.

2. Master’s Program Required Meetings & Reports

A. FGS Annual Progress Reports for MA Students

Prior to completing the “Graduate Student Annual Progress Report” (APR), the Supervisor and MA student will meet to discuss: (i) how the student has performed in relation to their Schedule of Completion deadlines; (ii) any obstacles that have slowed progress to date; and, (iii) ensure that a workable plan for on-time completion is in place.

All MA students without a thesis defence date must include a new or revised Master’s Schedule of Completion for discussion and inclusion in the APR (see See Graduate Program Handbook, sec. IV.2).

The Supervisor or student may invite the Graduate Program Director to attend the meeting or provide input on points (i) to (iii) above.

In completing the APR, students and Supervisors should each comment on points (i) to (iii) above.

B. Additional Meetings & Reports for MA Students

Students and Supervisors may wish to have additional meetings and/or establish a regular meeting schedule to ensure the timely completion of the degree. 

For more information and additional ideas, please see the Faculty of Graduate Studies “Best Practices for Graduate Students” and “Best Practices for Supervisors” guides, including the FGS “Supervisor-Student Checklist” which is completed when the Permanent Supervisor is appointed. 

3. Doctoral Program required meetings & reports

A. FGS Annual Progress Reports for PhD Students

Prior to completing the “Graduate Student Annual Progress Report” (APR), the Supervisor and doctoral student will meet to discuss: (i) how the student has performed in relation to their completion schedule deadlines — e.g., the progress and quality of the dissertation chapters; (ii) any obstacles that have slowed progress to date; and, (iii) ensure that a workable plan for on-time completion is in place.

The Supervisor or student may invite the Supervisory Committee and/or Graduate Program Director to attend the meeting or provide input on points (i) to (iii) above.

In completing the official FGS “Graduate Student Annual Progress Report,” students and Supervisors should each comment on points (i) to (iii) above.

B. Additional Meetings & Reports for PhD Students

Students and Supervisors may wish to have additional meetings and/or establish a regular meeting schedule to ensure the timely completion of the degree. 

For more information and additional ideas, please see the Faculty of Graduate Studies “Graduate Student Best Practices” guide, including the FGS “Supervisor-Student Checklist” which is completed when the Permanent Supervisor is appointed.

4. Extension to Graduate Program

See the Faculty of Graduate Studies Calendar under “Time Limits” for information and the procedures for requesting an extension to the program deadlines.

The Graduate Program Director will support a student’s application for an extension if there is a reasonable prospect of degree completion within the requested time frame.

Please note: the student is responsible for initiating the process and ensuring the appropriate forms are completed; the Graduate Program Director is responsible only for providing a recommendation that an extension be granted or denied; and, FGS is responsible for granting or denying the extension.

IV. Master’s Program: Guidelines & Policies

All masters students in the Political Science Graduate Program must successfully complete the following components:

1. Required Course Work

2. Master’s Thesis Proposal & Schedule of Completion

3. Master’s Thesis

4. Master’s Thesis Oral Defense

Recommended Timeline for Completion of Master’s Degree Components:

   PHASE   

COMPONENT

 COMPONENT START 

 COMPONENT COMPLETION 

# MONTHS
 FROM PROGRAM START 

1 Course Work Year I:  September Year I:  April or August 8 or 12 months
2 Master's Thesis Schedule of
Completion
Year I:  May Year I:  June 9 or 10 months
3 Master's Thesis Year I:  July Year II: April 20 months
4 Master's Thesis Oral Defense Year II: May Year II: May 21 months

The Department of Political Science strongly recommends that MA students complete all all degree requirements, including submitting final revisions to the thesis, within 24 months. The Faculty of Graduate Studies permits 4 years.

All students will be appointed an Interim Supervisor when their program begins. A Permanent Supervisor must be appointed no later than the second annual registration. There is no Supervisory Committee for the MA Thesis.

1. Master’s Course work

A. Course Work Requirements

MA students in the Department of Political Science must complete a minimum of 15 units (2.5 Full-Course Equivalents). However, the following conditions apply:

At least 9 units (1.5 full-course equivalents) must be taken in the Political Science Department at the University of Calgary.

At least 6 units (1.0 FCE), and no more than 9 units (1.5 FCE), will be in the student’s Primary Field (i.e. Canadian Politics, Comparative Politics, International Relations, or Political Thought).

A maximum of 6 units (1.0 FCE) may be a reading course.

Students must demonstrate a basic knowledge of research methods equivalent to POLI 691. If students are required to take POLI 691, it will be included in these 15 units (2.5 full-course equivalents). Students who have an equivalent of POLI 691 will still be required to take 15 units (2.5 full-course equivalents).

B. Timing of the Course Work

Normally, students will complete all of their 15 units (2.5 FCE) of course work over the Fall and Winter semesters of their first year.

C. Choosing Courses

Students normally take courses that prepare them for conducting research for their Master’s thesis. Students should consult with their Supervisor when selecting courses.

D. Reading Courses

Students may take a maximum of 6 units (1.0 full-course equivalents) as reading courses. Each reading course must be approved by the Department Head. The Head’s approval of reading courses will be guided by the following understandings:

Reading courses should aim to develop a broad understanding of the student’s Primary Field, Secondary Field (if applicable), and/or the discipline of Political Science as a whole.

Minimum enrolment levels in existing course offerings ought to be maintained and therefore students should select their courses from within the existing offerings. Doing so will allow students to take courses in a seminar setting with their peers and faculty to deliver courses on- rather than off-load.

Reading course requests will be more favourably considered if they come from faculty members who have not taught/are not currently teaching the student or who have not had a chance to teach graduate courses.

E. Successful Completion of the Course Work Component

Please see the Faculty of Graduate Studies Calendar under “Academic Standing” for the FGS requirements concerning “adequate progress” and the conditions that lead to “poor academic standing” in the course work component.

F. Appeal Process for Course Work

The University recognizes that there are instances when a student may wish to challenge University decisions about grades or academic policy. When a dispute arises, every effort should be made to resolve the issues informally rather than resort to a formal appeal. If, however, a formal appeal is necessary, the student should follow the Appeals Procedures in the most recent Faculty of Graduate Studies Calendar. 

2. Master’s Schedule for Completion

All MA students without a thesis defence date will develop or revise their Schedule for Completion. In whatever manner the Supervisor and student think best, the Schedule for Completion briefly sets out how students will complete their thesis research and writing within Program recommended timelines.

The Schedule of Completion will be discussed and included in the Annual Progress Report (APR).

See Graduate Program Handbook, sec. III.2, for information on Required Meetings & Reports. 

3. Master’s Thesis Preparation

Please see the Faculty of Graduate Studies (FGS) requirements for Thesis formatting, templates, and copyright information (https://grad.ucalgary.ca/current/thesis). The Departmental policies supplement the FGS regulations and requirements and are, in every case, subordinate to them.

A. Quality of MA Thesis Draft 

MA students should aim to achieve the best possible dissertation in light of the “Quality of Thesis” requirements as outlined in the FGS Graduate Calendar.

B. MA Thesis Length

The Department strongly recommends that a Master’s thesis should not exceed 100 pages (not including bibliography). Copies of completed theses are available. Please inquire with the Graduate Program Administrator or at the University of Calgary Library.

C. Supervisor & MA Thesis Drafts

The Supervisor will be given the opportunity to read and comment on draft work of the Master’s thesis as each chapter is produced.

D. MA Thesis Editing

Ultimately, the thesis must be the student’s own work. Editing should take place as part of a learning process, a collaboration between the student and his or her supervisor and other academics in the University. Working with a student to teach him or her how to edit the thesis is part of a learning experience; having a thesis professionally edited is not acceptable. However, permission for professional editing may be granted by the GPD in consultation with the Supervisor, when circumstances warrant.

4. MAster’s Thesis Defense

Please see the Faculty of Graduate Studies (FGS) regulations regarding thesis examinations and requirements (https://grad.ucalgary.ca/current/managing-my-program/examinations). The Departmental policies and guidelines below supplement the FGS regulations and are, in every case, subordinate to them.

A. Scheduling the Master’s Thesis Oral Defense

Once the thesis has been completed, the Master’s Thesis Oral Examinations committee will examine the thesis. The Supervisor is responsible for scheduling the examination once she or he has determined that the entire thesis meets the minimum standard. Under no circumstances are students permitted to make arrangements for an examination.

Please note the following time requirements:

At least four weeks prior to the date of the examination, the original Notice of Thesis Oral Examination form will be prepared by the Graduate Program Administrator and must be received in the Faculty of Graduate Studies office.

At least three weeks prior to the exam, the thesis must be submitted directly by the student to the members of the examination committee for final examination. The thesis must be in all respects a final, complete copy and not a draft.

Please note: It is the student’s responsibility to ensure the thesis arrives in the hands of the examiners as intended. Normally the thesis will be sent electronically to the members of the examination committee as a pdf file. If a member of the examination committee requests a printed copy also, the student must allow time for it to be sent by mail our courier but the pdf version should be considered the official copy.

B. Right of Student to Submit and Defend Master’s Thesis

A student who has successfully completed all Faculty of Graduate Studies and program requirements has the right to submit and defend a thesis even if doing so may be contrary to the advice of the Supervisor.

C. Discussion of Master’s Thesis prior to the exam forbidden

The exam begins when the thesis is distributed. The examiners must not discuss the thesis or their evaluation of it with each other (or anyone else) prior to the oral examination.

D. Master’s Thesis Oral Examination Committee

It is the responsibility of the Supervisor to contact the examiners and determine their willingness and availability to serve on the examining committee. The Graduate Program Administrator will prepare the necessary documentation.

The Master’s Thesis Oral Examination Committee must consists of:

the Supervisor.

the Co-Supervisor (if one has been appointed).

an additional member of academic staff.

an Internal Examiner (who may be internal to the home program) or External Examiner.

Both the Internal External Examiner (or External Examiner in the exceptional case where one is used) normally must satisfy the FGS criteria for examiners (see the FGS Graduate Calendar “Internal & External Examiners”):

have well-established research reputation.

have expertise in the area of the student’s research.

have experience in evaluating theses at the graduate level.

have experience in supervising to completion at the graduate level.

not be a close personal friend of the Supervisor.

not have collaborated with Supervisor in past five years.

not be closely related to, or have worked with the candidate.

In addition, any external examiner (if one is used) normally:

must not have been a Supervisor in the student’s graduate program in the past three years.

must not have served as external examiner in student’s program in the past two years.

See FGS’s External Examiner Checklist (http://grad.ucalgary.ca/current/managing-my-program/examinations under “Examination Guidelines”)

V. Doctoral Program: Candidacy Regulations 

Sections 1 – 6 below are reproduced from the Department of Political Science official candidacy regulations which can be found here on graduate pages of the Department of Political website.

Departmental Statement of Purpose for Candidacy Regulations

The purpose of the candidacy requirements is to ensure that doctoral students have the necessary background to develop and sustain a high quality teaching and research program in the discipline of Political Science. For successful completion of the candidacy requirements a student must demonstrate: (i) familiarity with the most important literature, methodologies/approaches, and arguments in her or his Primary Field and Secondary Field; (ii) ability to read critically; and, (iii) ability to express arguments in written and oral form.

All doctoral students in the Political Science Graduate Program must successfully complete the following components:

1. Required Course Work

2. Field of Study (FoS) Written Examinations

3. Field of Study (FoS) Oral Examination

4. Thesis Proposal and Meeting

5. Language Requirement (If Applicable)

Recommended Candidacy Component Timing:

Phase

Component

COMPONENT START

COMPONENT COMPLETION

# MONTHS FROM PROGRAM START

1

Course Work

Year I: September

Year I: April or August

8 or 12 months

2

FoS Written Examinations

Year II: Fall or Winter

Year II: Fall or Winter

15 or 19 months

3

FoS Oral Examination

Year II: Fall or Winter

Year II: Fall or Winter

16 or 20 months

4

Thesis Proposal and Meeting

Year II: Fall or Winter

Year II: Winter or Spring

20 or 24 months

5

Optional Language Requirement

Year I

Year II: Winter or Spring

20 or 24 months

The Department of Political Science strongly recommends that doctoral students complete all candidacy requirements in 20 months and all degree requirements within five years. The Faculty of Graduate Studies permits 28 months and six years, respectively.

All students will be appointed an Interim Supervisor when their program begins. A Permanent Supervisor must be appointed no later than the second annual registration. The Supervisory Committee should be appointed within three months of the appointment of Permanent Supervisor.

1. Course work

A. Course Work Requirements

Doctoral students in the Department of Political Science must complete a minimum of 18 units (3.0 Full-Course Equivalents). However, the following conditions apply:

At least 12 units (2.0 FCE) must be taken in the Department of Political Science at the University of Calgary.

At least 6 units (1.0 FCE) must be taken in the student’s chosen Primary Field and at least 6 units (1.0 FCE) must be taken in the student’s chosen Secondary Field. A student’s Primary and Secondary Fields will consist of any two of Canadian Politics, Comparative Politics, International Relations, or Political Thought.

A maximum of 6 units (1.0 FCE) may be reading courses.

PhD students must demonstrate (normally through previous course work) a basic knowledge of research methods equivalent to POLI 691. Students who cannot do so must take POLI 691. POLI 691 will not be considered part of the 18 units (3.0 FCE) course requirements.

B. Timing of the Course Work

Normally, students will complete all of their 18 units (3.0 FCE) of course work over the Fall and Winter semesters of their first year.

C. Choosing Courses

Students normally take courses leading toward their Field of Study (FOS) written examinations in their Primary and Secondary Fields. Students should consult with their Supervisor and look at the relevant Field reading lists when selecting courses.

D. Reading Courses

Students may take a maximum of 6 units (1.0 full-course equivalents) as reading courses. Each reading course must be approved by the Department Head. The Head’s approval of reading courses will be guided by the following understandings:

Reading courses should aim to develop a broad understanding of the student’s Primary Field, Secondary Field (if applicable), and/or the discipline of Political Science as a whole.

Minimum enrolment levels in existing course offerings ought to be maintained and therefore students should select their courses from within the existing offerings. Doing so will allow students to take courses in a seminar setting with their peers and faculty to deliver courses on- rather than off-load.

Reading course requests will be more favourably considered if they come from faculty members who have not taught/are not currently teaching the student or who have not had a chance to teach graduate courses.

E. Successful Completion of the Course Work Component

Please see the Faculty of Graduate Studies Calendar under “Academic Standing” for the FGS requirements concerning “adequate progress” and the conditions that lead to “poor academic standing” in the course work component.

F. Appeal Process for Course Work

The University recognizes that there are instances when a student may wish to challenge University decisions about grades or academic policy. When a dispute arises, every effort should be made to resolve the issues informally rather than resort to a formal appeal. If, however, a formal appeal is necessary, the student should follow the Appeals Procedures in the most recent Faculty of Graduate Studies Calendar. 

2. Field of Study (FOS) Written examinations

A. FoS Written Examinations Requirements

Political Science doctoral students must successfully complete two FoS written examinations: (i) one written FoS examination in their chosen Primary Field; and, (ii) a second written FoS examination in their chosen Secondary Field.

B. Timing of the FoS Written Examinations

At the end of Winter Semester, the Department of Political Science will announce two FoS written examination periods, of approximately one-week in length each, for the following academic year. Normally, one examination period will occur in the Fall semester, and one in the Winter semester.

Doctoral students will take both their Primary Field FoS written examination and their Secondary Field FoS written examination in the same one-week examination period. Normally the Primary Field examination will be written at the beginning of the examination period and the Secondary Field examination will be written at the end. 

Although two examination periods will be available each year, students are advised to take their FoS written examinations in the first available examination period.

C. Format & Structure of the FoS Written Examinations & Student Answers

Each FoS written examination will be a three hours long, closed-book, on-site examination written in the Department of Political Science. Each examination may be written on a computer whose internet connection is off.

Normally, the publicly posted and annually reviewed Field reading lists provide both the structure for the FoS written examinations as well as the broad areas within each Field to be tested through questions (see “Setting the Questions” below). If needed, Supervisors may draw up individualized reading lists to better respond to a student’s research interests. Normally, each Field reading list specifies three sections, with the student answering one question per section.

D. Setting the Questions for the FoS Written Examinations

Normally, students will be able to choose from a number of questions within each designated section of a FoS written examination. Generally, examination questions are broad and open-ended to allow students to demonstrate their breadth of core knowledge in their chosen Fields.

The Supervisor will set the FoS written examinations, but will solicit input on questions from the FoS examination committee members (see below) and the relevant Field caucuses. (Field caucuses are made up of faculty members who research and/or teach in one of the following designated Fields: Canadian Politics, Comparative Politics, International Relations, or Political Thought.) The examination committee and Field caucus members must have access to any individualized reading lists and individualized examination structure.

At least one week before the written examination period, a draft of the questions must be approved by the FoS examination committee, with a copy to the Graduate Program Director. In the event of a dispute, the Graduate Program Director will make the final ruling on examination questions.

E. Student Preparation for FoS Written Examinations

As soon as possible after the completion of the course work requirements, if not earlier, the student should meet with her or his Supervisor and Supervisory Committee to discuss the Field reading lists and FoS written examination structure. Students are responsible for adequately preparing for the FoS written examinations, but should regularly consult with their Supervisors and Supervisory Committees to develop strategies for preparation, mock questions, and so on.

F. FoS Examination Committee & Evaluation of the FoS Written Examinations

The FoS examination committee will consist of the Supervisory Committee plus two additional Departmental members. When possible, two of the examination committee members will have taught the student in her or his Secondary Field at the graduate level.

Within one week of receiving the student’s completed Primary Field and Secondary Field FoS written examinations, each member of the examination committee will evaluate the written examinations, judging whether each is of sufficient quality to pass on to the FoS oral examination. (For the FoS oral examination, see 3. below.)

Overall, each written examination must demonstrate a critical analysis of the questions or topics posed, as well as informed, insightful, and well-reasoned responses that incorporate knowledge of the relevant Field.

If a written examination is judged, overall, to be of sufficient quality, the committee member will give that examination a “pass”. If a written examination, overall, is determined by the committee member to be a “fail”, he or she will provide a brief account of that examination’s shortcomings and suggest what remedial actions are needed. Each committee member will submit to the Graduate Program Director her or his assessment of each of the two examinations (i.e., “pass” or “fail” plus remedial actions recommended) within one week of receiving the completed FoS written examinations.

A FoS written examination is a “pass” if the majority of the FoS examination committee have judged the examination to be a “pass”. In case of a tied vote, or if the majority have judged the exam to be a “fail,” the written examination will be a “fail”.

The Graduate Program Director will inform the student and examining committee members of the results for both written examinations within one business day of receiving the examination committee member’s assessment.

G. Successful Completion of the FoS Written Examinations Component

Both Primary Field and Secondary Field FoS written examinations must be a “pass” for the FoS written examinations component to be successfully completed.

H. Failure & the Appeal Process for the FoS Written Examinations

If one FoS written examination is a “fail”, a re-take examination in that Field will be permitted. If both FoS written examinations are a “fail”, then re-take examinations in both Fields will be permitted. Normally, all re-take examinations will be written within six months and, if necessary, outside of a regularly scheduled examination period.

Doctoral students in the Department of Political Science may make two attempts to successfully complete the FoS written examinations requirement, after which they will be required to withdraw from the program.

In the case of failed outcomes, students have the right to appeal. Students must appeal directly to the Faculty of Graduate Studies. Please see the Faculty of Graduate Studies Calendar, “Faculty of Graduate Studies Appeal Process”.

3. Field of Study (FOS) Oral examination

A. FoS Oral Examination Requirements

Political Science doctoral students must successfully complete a single oral FoS examination which treats both their Primary and Secondary Fields.

For the Department of Political Science’s oral examination procedures, please see 6. below.

B. Timing of the FoS Oral Examination

Normally, the FoS oral examination will occur within four weeks of completion of the FoS written examinations.

C. Format & Structure of the FoS Oral Examination

The FoS oral examination will consist of rounds of questions by members of the FoS examination committee.

The oral examination should not exceed two hours, not including the deliberation time of the FoS examination committee.

Students are allowed to take notes while a question is being asked. However they are not permitted to bring other materials into the examination except for hard-copies of their FoS written examination questions, their written answers, and the Field reading lists.

D. Setting the Questions for the FoS Oral Examination

The questions asked of the student during the FoS oral examination will come from the members of the FoS examination committee and will not be circulated to the student. However, the student’s FoS written examination answers will be circulated among the examiners and may serve as a basis for questioning at the oral.

E. FoS Examination Committee & Evaluation of the FoS Oral Examination

The examination committee used in the FoS written examinations will also conduct the FoS oral examination.

Each member of the examination committee will have the opportunity to question the student and will evaluate the student’s oral responses only.

Overall, answers must demonstrate a critical analysis of the questions or topics posed, as well as informed, insightful, and well-reasoned responses that incorporate knowledge of the relevant Field.

At the end of the examination, the student is asked to withdraw from the room. Before any discussion of the student’s performance, each examiner must identify which recommendation (pass/fail) he/she favours. This provides the committee with a frame of opinion on which to base a discussion of the student’s performance.

The FoS oral examination is a closed exam.

F. Successful Completion of the FoS Oral Examination Component

Successful completion of the FoS oral examination component is achieved when the final vote of the FoS examination committee is for a “pass”. Should the outcome of the final vote include one negative vote, the student will pass.

G. Failure & the Appeal Process for the FoS Oral Examination

Should the outcome be two or more negative votes, the FoS examination committee’s recommendation to the Graduate Program Director will be “fail”.

Doctoral students in the Department of Political Science may make two attempts to successfully complete the FoS oral examination requirement, after which they will be required to withdraw from the program.

In the case of failed outcomes, students have the right to appeal. Students must appeal directly to the Faculty of Graduate Studies. Please see the Faculty of Graduate Studies Calendar, “Faculty of Graduate Studies Appeal Process”.

4. Thesis Proposal Submission & Meeting

A. Thesis Proposal & Meeting Requirements

Doctoral students must complete a written Thesis Proposal, which is approved by their Supervisory Committee in a Thesis Proposal Meeting.

B. Timing of Thesis Proposal & Meeting

Normally, students will begin their Thesis Proposal immediately after the successful conclusion of the FoS oral examination and complete their Thesis Proposal within four months. Following completion, the Thesis Proposal it will be evaluated in the Thesis Proposal Meeting.

C. Guidance for the Preparation of the Thesis Proposal

The student should work closely with the Supervisory Committee when developing the Thesis Proposal. The Supervisor is the primary advisor.

D. Format & Content of the Thesis Proposal

The Thesis Proposal sets out the student’s proposed research, locates it in the context of the relevant academic literature, explains its potential contribution to that literature, and outlines in detail the proposed methodology that will be used in the research. In addition, the Thesis Proposal must include a realistic completion schedule outlining the relevant phases of the research and writing of the doctoral dissertation. This schedule should include a timeline of when draft chapters are to be distributed to the Supervisor and Supervisory Committee.

Normally, the Thesis Proposal will be no longer than 5000 words, excluding citations, bibliography, and the dissertation completion schedule.

E. Evaluation of the Thesis Proposal

When ready, the written Thesis Proposal will be assessed in a Meeting of the student and Supervisory Committee. The primary purpose of the Thesis Proposal Meeting is to provide students with an opportunity to present and discuss their research plan.

In this meeting, every member of the Supervisory Committee will have a chance to question the student on the Thesis Proposal and to provide constructive feedback.

The Thesis Proposal Meeting should last no more than two hours, not including deliberation. The Thesis Proposal Meeting is open.

F. Successful Completion of Thesis Proposal & Meeting Component

Approval of the Thesis Proposal component is achieved when the Supervisory Committee judges the Thesis Proposal to demonstrate that the project in its details can be carried out by the student in a reasonable time and with the likelihood that the project could meet or exceed the Faculty of Graduate Studies’ requirements for doctoral thesis quality (see Faculty of Graduate Studies Calendar, “Quality of Thesis”).

When evaluating the Thesis Proposal, the options available to the Supervisory Committee are “Approved without revisions”, “Approved with minor revisions”, “Approved pending major revisions”, and “Not Approved”.

A second Thesis Proposal Meeting is required only in the case of a Thesis Proposal, which is “Not Approved”.

If minor revisions are required (normally, revision which can be completed within two weeks), the Thesis Proposal can be approved at the conclusion of the meeting. If major revisions are required (normally, revisions which can be completed within four weeks), the Supervisory Committee members will withhold their approval until an acceptable version of the Thesis Proposal is delivered.

Approved Thesis Proposals (with all necessary revisions made and schedules for completion attached) will be submitted to the Graduate Program Director.

G. Failure to Approve & the Appeal Process for the Thesis Proposal & Meeting

If a Thesis Proposal is “Not Approved”, the student will be requested to remedy the problematic areas identified in writing by the Supervisory Committee and resubmit the Thesis Proposal.

As per FGS requirements, the Thesis Proposal must be revised and resubmitted within two to six months of receiving notification of the fail and a second Thesis Proposal Meeting held.

Doctoral students in the Department of Political Science may make two attempts to successfully complete the Thesis Proposal component, after both attempts they will be required to withdraw from the program.

In the case of failed outcomes, students have the right to appeal. Students must appeal directly to the Faculty of Graduate Studies. Please see the Faculty of Graduate Studies Calendar, “Faculty of Graduate Studies Appeal Process”.

5. Language Requirement (if applicable)

A. Purpose of the Language Requirement

The Department of Political Science does not require Doctoral students to undertake other-than-English language training as part of the candidacy requirements. However, the Department does permit a Supervisor, where the dissertation topic warrants or Field expectations apply, to require a working knowledge of a language other-than-English as a requirement of candidacy for her or his student.

A Supervisor requiring the addition of the language requirement, must file a letter with the Graduate Program Director, signed by both Supervisor and student, specifying: (i) the language, (ii) the reason for its inclusion as a candidacy requirement, and (iii) the criteria for successful completion of this requirement (such as: the achievement of a particular Government of Canada Second Language Evaluation score for French or a Common European Framework of Reference for Languages (CEFR) level; certification through a recognized language or cultural institute (e.g., the Goethe Institut); university language courses; and the like)

B. Timing of the Language Requirement

Students who have an other-than-English language requirement must complete this requirement within the FGS-specified 28 months to complete all candidacy requirements. Normally, the student should complete this requirement at the same time as the Thesis Proposal is completed.

C. Successful Completion of the Language Requirement

The student must meet the agreed-upon criteria for successful completion specified in the letter specifying the additional language requirement (see “Optional Language Requirement” above).

6. Field Of Study Oral Examination Procedures

A. The FoS Examination Committee & its Neutral Chair

The FoS examination committee will consist of the Supervisory Committee plus two additional Departmental members. When possible, two of the examination committee members will have taught the student in her or his Secondary Field at the graduate level.

The Graduate Program Director shall ensure that no conflict of interest exists between the student or the Supervisor and the additional members of the examination committee. See Graduate Studies Conflict of Interest Policy: http://grad.ucalgary.ca/current/policies-forms/conflict-interest.

A Postdoctoral fellow whose supervisor is on the supervisory committee may not serve on the examination committee.

The Supervisor is a voting member.

A member of the academic staff appointed by the Graduate Program Director chairs the examination. The Neutral Chair is not a member of the examining committee and is non-voting.

B. Oral Examination Process

The examination should not exceed two hours. This does not include the deliberation time of the Committee. 

No one other than a member of the examination committee is allowed to question the student. All examiners should be given an opportunity to question the student during the early part of the examination, e.g., by rounds of questioning.

Questions to the student should be clear and succinct. The student should be given reasonable time to answer. If the student has understood the question and cannot answer, the examiner should pass to another question and not attempt to extract an answer by prolonged interrogation, or by leading the student. The Neutral Chair should guard against any tendency of examiners to interact with each other instead of concentrating on the examination of the student.

The Neutral Chair must stop the examination if one of the examiners needs to leave the room and will reconvene the examination when all examiners are present.

At the end of the examination, the student is asked to withdraw from the room. Before any discussion of the student’s performance, each examiner must identify which recommendation (pass/fail) he/she favours. This provides the committee with a frame of opinion on which to base a discussion of the student’s performance. 

C. Outcomes

Each examiner must record a recommendation of pass or fail on the official Report of Candidacy Oral Examination form-B. 

D. Passing the Oral Examination 

Every effort should be made to reach a unanimous recommendation. Should the outcome of the final vote include one negative vote, the candidate will pass. 

E. Failing the Oral Examination 

Should the outcome include two or more negative votes, the committee’s recommendation to the Graduate Program Director will be “fail”. In the case of a fail, 

The Neutral Chair must inform the student of the committee’s recommendation immediately following the vote of the examination committee. The Neutral Chair will record the final recommendation of pass or fail on the Report of Candidacy Oral Examination form-B, which must be submitted to the Graduate Program Director within one working day of the completion of the examination. 

The examiners write brief memos to the Graduate Program Director explaining the reasons for his/her vote and submit within five working days from the date of the examination.

The Graduate Program Director may uphold the ‘fail’ in the case of a clear fail or refer to FGS for decision in the case of an unclear fail. If the GPD upholds the “fail”, after consultation with the Supervisor, the Graduate Program Director then summarizes the essential points from the memos to the student, copied to the Supervisor.

The Graduate Program must send the notice of a failed candidacy component to the student within ten working days from the date of the examination. 

F. Re-take of Examination

Only one re-take will be permitted. The re-take must take place no sooner than two months and no later than six months from the date of the first examination. Normally, the composition of the committee will remain the same. 

In reporting the results of the second examination, the committee will be limited to recommending either a pass (i.e., no more than one negative vote), or fail. 

A recommendation of “fail” requires that, within five working days: 

each examiner must submit a confidential written report to the Graduate Program Director, copied to the Supervisor, detailing the reasons for his/her vote.

The Neutral Chair must also submit a written report of the examination procedures to the Graduate Program Director. 

G. Appeals

In the case of failed outcomes, students have the right to appeal. Students must appeal directly to the Faculty of Graduate Studies. Please see the Faculty of Graduate Studies Calendar, “Faculty of Graduate Studies Appeal Process”.

VI. Doctoral Program: Doctoral Dissertation Guidelines & Policies

1. Doctoral Dissertation Preparation

Please see the Faculty of Graduate Studies (FGS) requirements for Thesis formatting, templates, and copyright information (https://grad.ucalgary.ca/current/thesis). The Departmental policies supplement the FGS regulations and requirements and are, in every case, subordinate to them.

A. Quality of Dissertation Draft 

PhD students should aim to achieve the best possible dissertation in light of the “Quality of Thesis” requirements as outlined in the FGS Graduate Calendar.

B. dissertation Length

The Department strongly recommends that a doctoral dissertation should not exceed 250–300 pages (not including bibliography). Copies of completed dissertations are available. Please inquire with the Graduate Program Administrator or at the University of Calgary Library.

C. Supervisory Committee & Dissertation Drafts

Supervisory Committee members will be given the opportunity to read and comment on draft work of doctoral dissertations as each chapter is produced.

D. Dissertation Editing

Ultimately, the thesis must be the student’s own work. Editing should take place as part of a learning process, a collaboration between the student and his or her supervisor and other academics in the University. Working with a student to teach him or her how to edit the thesis is part of a learning experience; having a thesis professionally edited is not acceptable. However, permission for professional editing may be granted by the GPD in consultation with the Supervisor, when circumstances warrant.

2. Doctoral Dissertation Defense

Please see the Faculty of Graduate Studies (FGS) regulations regarding thesis examinations and requirements (https://grad.ucalgary.ca/current/managing-my-program/examinations). The Departmental policies and guidelines below supplement the FGS regulations and are, in every case, subordinate to them.

A. Scheduling the Doctoral Dissertation Oral Defense

All members of the Supervisory Committee must have reviewed the student’s draft dissertation document before an examination can be scheduled.

Please note the following time requirements:

At least six weeks are required for the approval of the external examiner by the Faculty of Graduate Studies.

At least four weeks prior to the date of the examination, the original Notice of Doctoral Thesis Oral Examination form will be prepared by the Graduate Program Administrator and must be received in the Faculty of Graduate Studies office.

At least three weeks prior to the exam, the dissertation must be submitted directly by the student to the members of the examination committee for final examination. The dissertation must be in all respects a final, complete copy and not a draft. 

Please note: It is the student’s responsibility to ensure the dissertation arrives in the hands of the examiners as intended. Normally the thesis will be sent electronically to the members of the examination committee as a pdf file. If a member of the examination committee requests a printed copy also, the student must allow time for it to be sent by mail our courier but the pdf version should be considered the official copy.

B. Right of Student to Submit and Defend Dissertation

A student who has successfully completed all Faculty of Graduate Studies and program requirements has the right to submit and defend a dissertation even if doing so may be contrary to the advice of the Supervisor.

C. Discussion of dissertation prior to the exam forbidden

The exam begins when the dissertation is distributed. The examiners must not discuss the dissertation or their evaluation of it with each other (or anyone else) prior to the oral examination.

D. Dissertation Oral Examination Committee

It is the responsibility of the Supervisor to contact the examiners and determine their willingness and availability to serve on the examining committee. The Graduate Program Administrator will prepare the necessary documentation.

The dissertation oral examination committee, at minimum, must consists of:

the Supervisor

the Co-Supervisor (if one has been appointed)

the Supervisory Committee

an Internal Examiner who may be internal to the home program.

an External Examiner.

Both the Internal External Examiner and the External Examiner normally must satisfy the FGS criteria for examiners (see the FGS Graduate Calendar “Internal & External Examiners”):

have well-established research reputation.

have expertise in the area of the student’s research.

have experience in evaluating theses at the graduate level.

have experience in supervising to completion at the graduate level.

not be a close personal friend of the Supervisor.

not have collaborated with Supervisor in past five years.

not be closely related to, or have worked with the candidate.

In addition, the external examiner normally:

must not have been a supervisor in the candidate’s graduate program in the past three years.

must not have served as external examiner in candidate’s program in the past two years.

See FGS’s External Examiner Checklist (http://grad.ucalgary.ca/current/managing-my-program/examinations under “Examination Guidelines”)

VII. Thesis Oral Examination Guidelines & Policies for all Graduate Students

The following guidelines and procedures are common to both MA and PhD thesis examinations.

1. Departmental Neutral chairs policy

The Graduate Program Director or his or her designate will serve as the Department’s Neutral Chair. Normally, the Neutral Chair will be a member of the Political Science Department’s Graduate Committee and will normally not be in the same field as the examinee.

2. Thesis Oral Examination is Open

The exam is normally an open exam but only the Examination Committee members can question the candidate.

3. Written Thesis Assessments

The oral examination begins when the thesis is distributed. The examiners should not discuss the thesis or their evaluation of it with each other (or anyone else) prior to the oral examination.

Before the oral examination, each examiner is required to prepare an assessment of the thesis, on the official Examiner’s Report on Thesis form. These assessments are to be submitted to the Neutral Chair before the oral examination begins.

The assessments are confidential until the final decision is made. After the examination the Examiners’ Reports are available to the student, upon request. The examiners’ deliberations are private and confidential.

4. Length of Oral Examination

Ordinarily, the oral examination should not exceed two hours. This does not include deliberation time of the Examination Committee.

5. Oral Examination Procedures

The following oral examination procedures should be followed.

A. Student’s Opening Remarks

It is a common (although not mandatory) practice for the student to present opening remarks (up to 15 minutes) which introduce the research and highlight its significance.

B. Rounds of Questions to the Candidate

No one other than a member of the Examination Committee is allowed to question the candidate. All examiners must be given an opportunity to question the candidate early in the examination, e.g., by rounds of questioning. 

Questions to the candidate should be relevant to the subject matter of the thesis, clear and succinctly phrased.

C. Official Examiners’ Discussion

At the end of the thesis oral examination, everyone except the committee and the neutral chair, is required to withdraw from the room. Before discussion, each examiner identifies, by secret ballot, whether she or he favours recommending a pass with no revision, a pass with minor revisions, a pass with major revisions, or fail on the thesis and pass or a fail on the oral defence.

Following a count of the straw vote the Neutral Chair will facilitate a post-examination discussion.

6. Examining Committee Recommendations

In addition to FGS required documentation, at the conclusion of the discussion, the Department requires that each examiner indicate and initial her or his recommendation for the thesis and oral on the Departmental Report of Doctoral Thesis Examination form.

Recommendation to the Dean of Graduate Studies must be unanimous. If it is not unanimous, the Dean of Graduate Studies will decide the outcome of the thesis and the oral examination.

For the recommendations available, please see the FGS Graduate Calendar under “Recommendations at the Conclusion of an Examination”.

VIII. Thesis Research guidelines for all graduate students

1. Ethics Approval

All research involving human participants, animals or biohazards must first be reviewed and approved by the appropriate certification committee before research can begin. Failure to obtain appropriate approvals prior to conducting research may result in an outcome of “fail” on the thesis examination. For more information and the relevant forms, please see Research Ethics Information for Graduate Students (http://grad.ucalgary.ca/current/managing-my-program/academic-integrity).

2. Travel Risk Policy

Students whose research requires travel outside Canada must register with Risk Management (http://www.ucalgary.ca/riskmgmt/).

If the destination is rated high or extreme risk by the University of Calgary, the traveller will be required to apply for permission to travel. For more information, contact Insurance and Risk Management (riskmgmt@ucalgary.ca).