Masters by Thesis

The Master of Arts in Sociology by Coursework and Thesis may be obtained by full-or part-time study. The student is required to complete 15 credit hours, normally consisting of five graduate courses (core and electives), the compulsory Thesis and a departmental presentation of the thesis. The full-time M.A. with thesis is normally completed in about two years. See the academic calendar for details of entry requirements.

In this MA by thesis program, students will:
• increase their skills and knowledge in social theory and the methods of social research;
• develop their capacity to conceptualize, plan, and complete a research program;
• develop and manage a project requiring major data collection and analysis
• enhance their ability to think and respond to social issues critically and analytically;
• improve their writing proficiency; and
• acquire skills vital to their professional development


Core Courses: Four required
3 credit hours each, normally competed during the first two semesters of full-time study.
SOCI 6040: Advanced Quantitative Methods
SOCI 6041: Advanced Qualitative Methods
SOCI 6150: Social Theory
SOCI 6880: Graduate Seminar

Elective Courses: One 6000-level course
3 credit hours, normally taken in the second semester. Additional electives are decided on a case-by-case basis on admission.


Normally, the first year is devoted to the completion of the required courses, definition of the thesis research topic, proposal preparation and ethics review. The second year is devoted to the research and writing of the thesis, and presentation of the thesis at a Department seminar.

Fall Semester
SOCI 6040: Advanced Quantitative Methods: Compulsory for all incoming graduate students of Sociology. Designed to enhance students’ understanding of the theory and practice of quantitative social research, with a focus on the practical experience of conducting quantitative research and the use of relevant quantitative data analysis software.

SOCI 6150: Social Theory: Compulsory for all incoming graduate students of Sociology. Provides advanced instruction in selected topics in Social Theory.

SOCI 6880: Sociology Graduate Seminar: Compulsory for all incoming graduate students of Sociology. Focuses on the development of professional skills required of all graduate students. These include research, writing, and presentation skills; instruction around publishing and knowledge mobilization; responding to faculty and other scholarly research; and “surviving” grad school.

Winter Semester
SOCI 6041: Advanced Qualitative Methods: Provides advanced instruction in the variety of methodological approaches that characterize qualitative social research. Focuses on developing students’ understanding of the various stages of conducting qualitative research, including developing a research design, sampling, data collection and data analysis, and how to apply these principles to their own areas of interest.

Electives: Courses in the student’s area of interest and/or focus for the Master’s Research Paper. Possibilities include graduate courses offered in the Winter Semester in the Department of Sociology or in another department, or a reading course with the student’s supervisor.

Spring Semester
The student develops a thesis proposal and ethics review, directed by their Supervisor(s).


The Master’s Thesis is normally completed in the second year of study.

Thesis Proposal
A thorough and coherent dissertation proposal must be completed following the completion of courses. It should be about 15-20 pages in length, excluding appendices and bibliography.

There are two different formats for dissertation production, traditional and manuscript format, the choice of which is decided on a case-by-case basis (see format below). The student’s Supervisor/Co-supervisors and supervisory committee must approve of the format at the time of the student’s proposal defence. The candidate is responsible for securing this agreement with their supervisor and committee. The supervisory committee must deem the proposal acceptable prior to submission of the Ethical Review.

Ethical Review
Memorial University is governed by the Ethics of Research Involving Human Participants policy and follows the Tri-Council Policy Statement on Ethical Conduct for Research Involving Humans 2 (TCPS2). This means that all primary research with human subjects undertaken at he MA and PhD level requires approval form the Interdisciplinary Committee on Ethics in Human Research. See ICEHR for ethical review. Once the Supervisor/Co-supervisors and ICEHR have approved of the research, the student may begin to collect data.

Thesis Format
The student has the option of producing a traditional or manuscript format thesis. In general, the MA Thesis by traditional format normally should be 125-175 pages in length, excluding reference list/bibliography and based on double spacing and 12pt text. A consistent APA reference system must be used throughout the thesis. The cover page should be formatted as required by the School of Graduate Studies (SGS). The manuscript format is a collection of scholarly papers for which the student is normally required to be the sole or principal author, and which forms a cohesive, unitary whole, documenting a single program of research. It should contain an introductory chapter that sets up the project, and a concluding chapter that unites the material presented in the chapters in a cohesive way. The Supervisor/ Co-supervisors and supervisory committee must agree with undertaking this format. See SGS Guidelines for Formatting Thesis.

Thesis Research and Writing
The student embarks on data collection, analysis and writing of their thesis in consultation with their Supervisor/Co-supervisors.

Departmental Presentation

The student is required to present their Thesis at a departmental seminar, to take place prior to examination. At minimum, the Supervisor/Co-Supervisors, Graduate Officer (or delegate) and the student shall attend the seminar. The student presents his or her work in a 20-30 minute formal, professional talk responds clearly and thoughtfully to questions. Changes arising from the presentation should be incorporated into the final version of the Thesis, or written justification provided to the Supervisor/Co-Supervisors why such changes have not been made. The student should submit the final revised version of the Thesis to the Supervisor/Co-Supervisors and their committee for approval. If approved, the Supervisor/Co-Supervisors will then initiate the examination process.

Examination of Thesis

Once the Supervisor/Co-supervisors deems the thesis ready for examination, they must consult with the Head about recommended Examiners, complete and sign, a Supervisory Approval Form. The Supervisor/Co-supervisors submits this form to the main Sociology office for forwarding to the School of Graduate Studies.

Two academic members in good standing, normally one external to Memorial University and one internal to Memorial University (including Grenfell), are selected to be Thesis Examiners by the Graduate Officer and Head, based on the recommendation of the Supervisor/Co-supervisors. Normally, either the Head or Graduate Officer contacts potential examiners to ensure availability. An Appointment of Examiners Form is sent to SGS, who approves the Examiners chosen.

The student submits hard copy and/or electronic versions of the Thesis to the Sociology main office for distribution to SGS and Examiners. The Examiners have 4 - 6 weeks to examine and return comments to the student and Supervisor/Co-supervisors.

Finally, the student, in consultation with the Supervisor/Co-supervisors, makes the corrections or revisions required by the Examiners. The Supervisor/Co-supervisors must approve the final version to be submitted to SGS for the degree.

Final Thesis Submission to Department

The student submits the final Thesis electronically, plus one hard copy, to the Head of Sociology for approval. The Head submits the Thesis, plus one copy, and the Recommendation for the Award of a Graduate Degree Form to SGS: SGS clears the successful candidate academically for convocation and automatically issues a letter to the candidate. See the attached PDF for timeline and all forms required to complete graduation.

Memorial University requires submission of the final project as an ethesis. Students must upload the final version of their Thesis along with their metadata and any supplementary files through a secure form on See SGS Guidelines for Formatting Thesis and ethesis template.

A clean, corrected, finished hard bound copy of the final Thesis MUST be deposited in the Department Office before the student can graduate.


Department of Sociology

230 Elizabeth Ave

St. John's, NL A1B 3X9 CANADA

Tel: (709) 864-2530

Fax: (709) 864-2552