University of Manitoba - Faculty of Arts - Political Studies - Thesis Stream
Thesis Stream

The thesis stream of the MA in Political Studies consists of coursework, a thesis and an oral examination.

Course Work

Students in the thesis stream of the MA program must complete a minimum of 12 credit hours at the 7000 level in Political Studies. In some cases and with written permission of the Department's Graduate Committee, students may substitute 3 credit hours of course work at the 7000 level in a related discipline. Six of these credit hours should be in field in which the candidate is planning to write the thesis. Students may be required to take more than the minimum 12 credit hours in Political Studies courses.

Thesis Advisor, Advisory and Examining Committee

During the second term of course work, the student should submit in writing to the Department's MA Chair, the name of a Departmental faculty member who has agreed to serve as his/her thesis advisor. In consultation with the thesis advisor, and normally following the approval of the thesis proposal, the student's faculty advisor will submit in writing the names of the individuals who will for the Thesis Advisory Committee. The Thesis Advisory Committee must consist of:

1. Your advisor
2. Internal Examiner - a faculty member from Political Studies

3. Your External Examiner - an academic from a different University of Manitoba department.

** Note: one member of the committee must have a 'primary' appointment within the Department of Political Studies and must be members of the Faculty of Graduate Studies.

Thesis Proposal

All thesis proposals must be approved by the Thesis Advisory Committee well in advance of the submission of the completed thesis. In most cases, the proposal should be approved in the months immediately following the completion of course work. Later submissions may be accepted by the Thesis Advisory Committee upon application from the student, including a written explanation from the advisor. 

All proposals must center on a central research question. Posing a 'why' question, if possible, is far superior to posing a 'how' question. Please note that thesis proposal can only be successfully written after doing a considerable amount of research for your thesis. This will not be wasted and part of the proposal can often end up being parts of your thesis. The candidate and advisor, as part of the proposal, should submit the following to the Thesis Advisory Committee:
1. Title of proposed thesis project (note, proposals are generally between 2,000 and 3,000 words in length)
2. Contextualization for your question which signifies its importance: why should anyone care about it?
3. The question your thesis attempts to answer (note, it should emerge naturally, as it were, from your contextualization)
4. The existing literature which attempts to answer it, or comes closest to answering it and the gap it leaves, which your thesis is designed to fill (wholly or partially)
5. The hypothesis: what you expect to find and why.
6. Description of the methodology/resources to be employed. In instances where the methodology calls for human participants (e.g. interviews or survey), plans for obtaining ethical review should be included (see point below);
7. The primary sources: these may include data, news stories, documents, etc.
8. Chapter outline with brief descriptions of the content of each chapter, preferably the argument of each chapter
9. Bibliography of relevant literature and secondary sources
If your research involves human subjects, you MUST speak with your advisor about the process for securing research ethics approval. For more information about research ethics, please visit:
The Thesis Advisory Committee will respond in writing to the MA Chair following its review of the proposal. The committee can grant acceptance, conditional acceptance (which may or may not require that the proposal be re-submitted to the committee) or reject the proposal as written. The MA Chair will synthesize comments from the Thesis Advisory Committee and submit the report, along with the final determination, to the advisor. 
For more details on how to propose, develop and write a thesis proposal, please see the tips on the right column.


The student is expected to have a sound grasp of the subject matter of the thesis and a genuine familiarity with the major literature relevant to the project. The thesis must similarly demonstrate a mastery of that material from a unique perspective. The student must also be able to analyse the conceptual aspects of the research, to synthesize the contributing evidence and to make intelligent, critical inferences from the results.