Dissertation - General Information



These guidelines are intended to help students and their supervisors in the production of an honours thesis. FOLLOWING THE INSTRUCTIONS IN THIS GUIDE IS STRONGLY RECOMMENDED. They are in part adapted from the School of Graduate Studies Thesis Guide (1983). Supervisors should note that honors theses are not meant to be equivalent to graduate dissertations.


Candidates for the Honors B.Sc. degree in Earth Sciences are required to submit a thesis (dissertation) embodying the results of their independent field and laboratory studies. The research is to be carried out under the direction of a faculty member (supervisor). The purpose of writing a thesis is to provide the student with an opportunity to organize and analyze data and ideas, to communicate these clearly, and to make the research done by the student accessible to others. Occasionally, general B.Sc. degree students may be permitted to register for EASC 499A/B, or students may fall below honors standing during the duration of the work. In these cases, all rules and regulations set out below apply, with the exception that only one final, corrected, bound copy of the dissertation need be presented before graduation. This copy will be housed in the department thesis collection.


Students are responsible for making the initial investigation on a possible topic and supervisor for an honors thesis, ideally during the third year of their program. If the student has a particular project in mind, an appropriate faculty member may be contacted for comments on suitability for thesis work and discussion of whether the project is of interest and acceptable (anyone uncertain of an appropriate faculty member should contact the deputy head (academic) for advice). Alternatively, the student may wish to work with a particular faculty member, or have only an general idea of the kind of field in which to concentrate. In this case possible projects should be discussed with a relevant faculty member.

Occasionally faculty may not be able or willing to supervise a student, due to other teaching or research commitments or because of insufficient research funding; in this case, the student should ask about possible alternative supervisors. Because of their greater experience in evaluating possible projects and commitment in terms of time and money, the final design of thesis projects and decision on whether to supervise them it is up to the faculty members involved.


The onus is on the supervisor to define/select a topic that requires no more work than is appropriate for two course credits over two semesters (ca. 10 hours/week for two semesters). The intent of laboratory work is to teach technique(s) for at most a few types of analysis (i.e., not the full spectrum available at MUN). The volume of analytical work should be sufficiently small that all data will be collectable in the first semester of the dissertation without overtaxing our analytical facilities.


The department will provide a maximum of $400 for field and/or analytical costs associated with the dissertation. Supervisors and students can obtain access to this funding by submitting a travel claim to the head for field expenses (receipts required), or by arrangement with the supervisor and laboratory manager for analytical work. Any additional expenses must be borne either by the student or by the supervisor. (NOTE: The cost of printing the thesis is not covered by the $400. It is the resposibility of the student.)


Selection of topic and supervision

Approved candidates should consider a possible thesis topic and select a supervisor, before registering for EASC 499A. The supervisor, in consultation with the candidate, will notify the deputy head (academic), or delegate, of the program of study and the subject of research. The supervisor should, as soon as possible, arrange for a "second reader" who will help monitor progress and grade the dissertation.


Any student whose application for honours has been accepted by the head of the department, or delegate, and maintain their academic standing, will be permitted to register for EASC 499A. Students intending to complete a general degree must obtain approval from the head of the department, or delegate, before being allowed to complete a dissertation (which will not be called an honors dissertation); general degree students can only use EASC 499A and EASC 499B as additional elective credits, not in place of 3000- or 4000-level Earth Sciences courses required for the degree. If EASC 499B is not completed satisfactorily, then credit will not be given for EASC 499A alone. Candidates registered for EASC 499A should meet with their supervisor in the first week of term to discuss the thesis and to ensure all appropriate courses are taken. Registration for EASC 499B will require that both the supervisor and second reader complete a declaration to the head, or delegate, that the dissertation can be completed without difficulty in the semester of registration.