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PhD Thesis Proposal

The PhD Thesis Proposal is normally submitted no later than the end of the semester following the completion of comprehensive examinations.

In preparing the thesis proposal, it is the student’s responsibility to seek out a Department faculty member willing to supervise the thesis. The preferred supervisor usually consents, but this is not automatic, since previous commitments to other graduate theses in progress, for example, may make it impossible for the person selected to undertake additional supervision. If this happens, the Graduate Administrator will assist in the selection of an appropriate supervisor. Additionally, the student, in consultation with the supervisor, will choose two other thesis committee members. Each student is responsible for securing ethics approval; the GRIP program is intended to address ethics issues.

Students who have applied for a PhD SSHRC fellowship: In most cases, PhD students who have applied for a PhD SSHRC fellowship, or a similar fellowship from another granting agency, where their application has been vetted and approved by the Department, should only submit a thesis proposal with the following information:

a) The title page should contain your name, the date of submission, the title of the thesis, the degree sought (PhD), the name and signature of the intended supervisor and the names of committee members.

b) The SSHRC proposal.

c) Schedule of work completed, planned work, and timetable for submission.

d) A list of chapters, along with some indication of their contents.

e) A selected bibliography.

f) Questionnaires and other research instruments (attach copies in Appendix).


Students who have not applied for a PhD SSHRC fellowship. The following information should be included:

a) The title page should contain your name, the date of submission, the title of the thesis, the degree sought (PhD), the name and signature of the intended supervisor and the names of committee members.

b) A full description of the topic under investigation together with an outline of the argument of the thesis.

c) Theoretical approaches and research methods to be employed.

d) Significance in relation to existing research and literature (cf g below).

e) Schedule of work completed, planned work, and timetable for submission.

f) A list of chapters, along with some indication of their contents.

g) A selected bibliography.

h) Questionnaires and other research instruments (attach copies in Appendix).


Model copies of PhD thesis proposals may be consulted in the Department office.

Minor changes of emphasis and location are, of course, to be expected as research progresses. Consult your thesis supervisor about any important changes in the direction of your thesis research.

Please note: a major change in your topic, or in the location of fieldwork or other research, will necessitate that the entire approval procedure be repeated. This cannot take place during the summer due to faculty absences. An example of a major change would be for a study to be undertaken in another province than that for which the proposal had originally been approved.

The thesis proposal is subject to the approval of both the Department of Folklore and the School of Graduate Studies and consequently is discussed at a meeting of department faculty members. Following that meeting, comments for improvement are relayed to the student by the proposed thesis supervisor. In order to be considered, a thesis proposal must be submitted for circulation to the Department at least one week before a scheduled departmental meeting.

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