Graduate Thesis/Practicum Guidelines & Info

  1. General
  2. Research Ethics Board Approval
  3. Thesis/Practicum Specifications
  4. Manuscripts Within a Thesis (Sandwich Thesis)
  5. Copyright Ownership
  6. Withholding Publication of a Thesis
  7. Submission of Final Copy of Thesis/Practicum
  8. Thesis/Practicum Submission Checklist
  9. Distribution of Thesis/Practicum to the Libraries
  10. Academic Dishonesty/Plagiarism
  11. Length of Time for Completion of Thesis/Practicum
  12. Glossary
  13. Sample Title Page (pdf)
  14. Sample Table of Contents (pdf)


The University of Manitoba (U of M) requires that all theses and practica reasonably conform to the specifications provided in this document. Departures from these norms may render a thesis or practicum unacceptable for either the Libraries of the U of M or Library and Archives Canada. Theses/practica must be submitted as one (1) digital version e-thesis at the MSpace website

A thesis is a formal comprehensive, written dissertation describing original research on a chosen subject. This work may include, but not be restricted to:

  • Investigation aimed at a discovery and/or interpretation of facts;
  • Challenge and/or possible revisions of accepted theories or laws; and
  • The ordering and synthesizing of existing findings to support a conclusion which could open up new research directions.

An essential feature of PhD study is the candidate’s demonstration of competence to complete a research project and present the findings. The thesis must constitute a distinct contribution to knowledge in the major field of study and the material must be of sufficient merit to be, in the judgment of the examiners, acceptable for publication.

The practicum differs from the thesis in its emphasis on the application of theory; however, it is similar in scope, span, and rigor. The weight of work required for the practicum is equal to that required for the Master’s thesis. In general, the practicum takes the form of an exercise in the practical application of knowledge and skills. It usually involves the careful definition of a problem, the application of appropriate knowledge and skills to the problem, and a report of the results in a manner suitable for evaluation by an examining committee.

Theses/practica will vary depending upon the discipline/department. Each student must familiarize themselves with FGS and departmental regulations regarding the thesis/practicum.

Research Ethics Board Approval

The approval from a U of M Research Ethics Board (REB) may be required prior to the student proceeding with the information gathering procedures for the thesis or practicum. The original letter of the approval from the REB should be kept by the student. For further information on ethics refer to:

Thesis/Practicum Specifications

i) Prefatory Pages

a) Title Page

The title must be a meaningful description of the content of the research. The author’s name should be in full, identical to the name under which they are registered and be consistent on all other documents. The title page should contain the following information: the title of the thesis or practicum, the name of the University, the degree for which the thesis or practicum is submitted, the name of the unit, the full name of the author, and the copyright notation ©. This universal copyright symbol must be included on the title page.  View sample

b) Abstract

The abstract is expected to provide a concise account of the thesis or practicum. Abstract maximum length is 350 words for a Master’s and 350 words for a Ph.D. An abstract should contain a statement of the problem, methods, results and conclusions.

c) Acknowledgements

The content of this single page is left to the discretion of the author. The page may make reference to the student’s advisor and advisory committee members and other people who have provided invaluable assistance to the student throughout their thesis/practicum development. Financial assistance received to conduct the research should be included here.

d) Dedication

A page pertaining to dedication is allowed.

e) Table of Contents

The Table of Contents must list and provide page references for all elements of the thesis and practicum. The numbering and format must be identical to the way the material appears in the text. Page numbers should be right justified.

f) List of Tables

The list of tables immediately follows the Table of Contents and should follow the same format. This list includes the number of each table, their title, and their page number.

g) List of Figures

The list of figures immediately follows the List of Tables and should follow the same format as the Table of Contents. The list includes the number of each figure, their title, and their page number.

ii) Thesis Format

a) Style Manuals

Select a standard style manual that has been recommended by your department. Manuals recommended by the Faculty of Graduate Studies include but are not limited to:
  • American Psychological Association, Publication Manual of the American Psychological Association;
  • Kate L. Turabian, A Manual for Writers of Term Papers, Theses and Dissertations;
  • The Modern Language Association of America, MLA Handbook for Writers of Research Papers;
  • University of Chicago Press, The Chicago Manual of Style;
Always use the latest edition available. If there is a conflict between the instructions in this booklet and the style manual chosen, the former should be followed.

b) Spelling

American, Canadian or British spelling is acceptable, but one style must be used consistently throughout the document.

c) Format

Double space all text material; footnotes and long quotations may be single spaced. The entire thesis or practicum must be in the same text font, style, and size. Font size should be no less than 12 pt Times Roman. Full justification of the text is not required.

Characters not available with standard software, such as mathematical equations or complex tabular matter may be neatly executed by hand with black India ink and scanned into document.

d) Margins

It is imperative that the specified margins be observed throughout the thesis or practicum. Leave at least a one inch (1.0”) margin from the top, bottom, left, and right hand edges of the page. These margins apply to all material, including appendices, diagrams, maps, photographs, charts, tables, and others.

e) Page Numbers

Each page in the thesis and practicum must be numbered consecutively. Illustrative pages must also be numbered. Roman numerals should be used for the prefatory pages. The remaining pages of the thesis/practicum, beginning with the introduction (Chapter One) should be numbered consecutively in Arabic numerals.

iii) Footnotes, References and Appendices

Follow the instructions in the style manual recommended by your unit. No matter which style manual you use, it is important to be consistent in the format selected.

iv) Figures, Illustrations, Photographs and Design Drawings

a) Illustrative Material

All illustrative material should be consistent throughout the thesis or practicum. All figures, illustrations, photographs and drawings must be numbered consecutively in Arabic numerals and be accompanied with a title. The material should appear as soon after as it is mentioned in the text. All original materials should be of high quality, with sharp and clear images.

b) Layout of Tables and Figures

Each table and figure has a number and title. The number and title appear at the top of the table or figure. They must conform to the margin requirements of the thesis or practicum. If the table or figure is oversized, it is recommended that they be reduced in size in such a way that they remain clearly legible. The title of the table or figure should be as short as possible and indicate the major focus of the material within the table or figure.

v) Additional Materials

a) Consent and Access to Information Forms

Sample copies of consent forms that were used to obtain consent from participants to take part in the information gathering procedures for the thesis or practicum must be included in an Appendix. Any personal information must be omitted from the submitted form.
In some cases, approval from an agency or institution or corporation may have been required before the information gathering procedures could proceed. The original approval form for access should be retained by the student with a copy provided to FGS upon completion of the thesis/practicum.

b) Use of Copyrighted Material

If the thesis or practicum includes copyrighted material from other sources, permission may be needed from the copyright holder(s). Visit the Copyright Office website at for copyright guidance on when permission is needed or send your question to

If copyright permission is needed, you may use a sample copyright permission letter which is available from the Copyright Office website. Some copyright holders prefer to use their own permission forms or licences. All of these are acceptable ways to obtain permission.

Obtaining copyright permission, when it is needed, may take a considerable amount of time. This must be taken into consideration when meeting a thesis submission deadline.

If copyright permission was obtained, include a “Used with permission” statement under the image or text in the thesis. The permission email or licence provided by the copyright holder should be retained by the student indefinitely.

In some cases, the copyright holder cannot be located or the cost of obtaining permission is prohibitive to using the text or image. In these situations the text or image may have to be omitted from the thesis/practicum. Subsequently, information on where the reader can locate the image or text (such as the URL, title of book/journal, volume and issue number, page number, publisher, and date of publication), should be included in the thesis. A description of the purpose or significance of the text or image should also be provided.

Manuscript / Grouped Manuscript Style (Sandwich Thesis)

A thesis/practicum may comprise a paper, or collection of papers, which are, or are about to be, published. The number of papers that comprise this style of these will be determined between the student and the advisory committee. The formatting of the thesis/practicum must be consistent throughout the thesis/practicum and the thesis/practicum cannot merely consist of several papers or articles bound within the one document.

Publication, or acceptance for publication, of research results prior to the presentation of the thesis/practicum does not supersede the evaluation of the work by the examination committee (i.e. does not guarantee that the thesis/practicum will be found acceptable). Examiners may specify revisions regardless of the publication status.

The thesis/practicum must follow the same prefatory information (1.1), spelling, formatting margin requirements, page numbering (1.2b-d), footnotes and appendices (1.3), figures, illustrations photographs and drawings (1.4) and any additional material (1.5) as those outlined above.

There must be an introductory chapter to the entire thesis/practicum which includes its own bibliography. The collection of papers or articles must contribute toward the overall theme that represents the thesis/practicum work and must be smoothly integrated into the flow of the thesis/practicum to produce a unified document. This may require changes or additions to, and re-writing of, any work which has been previously published.

The thesis/practicum must contain connecting text between the different chapters providing logical links to allow the integration of the information. These connecting sections are mandatory. Not including these sections may compromise the ability of the examiners to evaluate the thesis/practicum and accordingly there may be subsequent potential consequences.

The thesis/practicum must contain a concluding chapter that includes a discussion on how the thesis/practicum, with its findings, provides a distinct contribution to knowledge in the research area.

In the case of multi-authored papers, the nature and extent of the student/candidate’s contribution, and those of the other authors, must be explicitly specified in a section entitled "Contributions of Authors" in the “Preface” of the thesis/practicum. The advisor/co-advisor, by signing the thesis/practicum submission form, attests to the accuracy of these statements and will be asked to reaffirm at the oral defence in the case of a doctoral thesis/practicum.

Copyright Ownership

Canada’s Copyright Law states, “The author and first owner of any paper, dissertation, or other work prepared in school courses and degree programs is the author of the work, i.e., the student preparing the paper, dissertation, etc” (Canadian Copyright Law, 3rd ed. Lesley Ellen Harris, McGraw-Hill Ryerson Limited, 2001, p. 88).

“Written documents, whether prepared for internal or external purposes whether in draft or final form, whether in print or in digital form, are protected by copyright. In fact, each draft of a document may be separately protected by copyright. This includes papers and dissertations, and other school assignments assigned by students as part of the course or degree work” (Canadian Copyright Law, 3rd ed., Lesley Ellen Harris, McGraw-Hill Ryerson Limited, 2001, p. 59).

Students at the U of M have sole copyright ownership over their document that is submitted as a requirement of an academic program. However, the document submitted by the student to the U of M becomes the property of the University.

Withholding Publication of a Thesis

In 1970 the Board of Governors and Senate approved a policy on accepting research grants from outside agencies. This policy defined the right of agencies to defer release of information and thus ensure freedom of publication for research findings of University personnel. Occasionally, the University may also wish to restrict the release of a thesis/practicum pending patent application. This policy statement parallels the previous one in that it defines the right of the University to defer the release of a thesis/practicum and thus ensures freedom of publication for the research findings of a graduate student.

This situation may arise in two circumstances which are defined below and both of which are governed by the same set of regulations.

1) When a research project is known to contain patentable items as defined in the research contract, it is the responsibility of the advisor to provide the student with written information on the restrictions of publication prior to the start of the thesis/practicum research.

If the student agrees to carry out the research, then the regulations given below will apply.

2) Where a patentable item is found during the course of research, then the advisor and the student may make application for patent rights through the University Patent Committee. The Dean of FGS will receive the approved thesis as required by the Faculty regulations. On written joint request of the advisor and the student, the Dean of FGS will keep the thesis for a period of up to one year.

Submission of Final Copy of the Thesis and Practicum

The Academic Schedule in the Graduate Calendar provides dates by which theses/practica must be submitted to FGS in order to be eligible for graduation for a specific graduation period.

Following the approval of the thesis/practicum by the examining committee and the completion of any revisions required by that committee, the thesis, and where applicable, the practicum, must be submitted to the Faculty of Graduate Studies as follows:

Students are encouraged to review the e-thesis submission requirements prior to creating a digital version. Electronic multimedia files or accompanying files that are part of an e-thesis should be posted to MSpace as separate files.

The digital copy of the thesis/practicum is required for the University Library and remains the property of the University of Manitoba.

The advantages of electronic submission include:

  • Immediate and full publication on the web.
  • World wide distribution searchable via Google, Google Scholar and Library and Archives Canada.
  • Financial savings on binding and copying.
  • Inclusion of multimedia files, clickable URLs.

The digital version must conform to the specifications outlined in this guide.

The electronic version must be submitted in Portable Document Format (PDF), the conversion of which can be done at one of the Libraries' labs on campus. Students can request the Libraries to do the conversion at no charge.

Once the thesis/practicum has been converted to PDF, students can submit the file to MSpace (For information about Electronic Theses, contact, ph: 204.510.8063).

To submit an Electronic Thesis or Dissertation (ETD) or learn more about ETDs visit the MSpace website

Thesis/Practicum Submission Checklist

  • One (1) Electronic copy - Submit according to the instructions outlined on the MSpace website
  • Ensure there are no missing pages.
  • Submit the original Thesis/Practicum Final Report Form - this is signed by the student's committee once they have successfully defended and/or completed their thesis/practicum revisions.
  • Submit a copy of the Ethics Approval Letter received from the REB and any other pertinent access approval forms (if applicable).
  • Ensure that the spelling of the title and author of the thesis/practicum is identical on the Final Report Form, the Thesis Release Form and the Title Page of the thesis/practicum (e.g.: all pages must read "John M. Smith" for the author's name).

Distribution of Thesis and Practicum to the Libraries

Library and Archives Canada

  The official electronic version of the thesis which is submitted to MSPace will be harvested by Library and Archives Canada:
  • The thesis or practicum will be made available by Library and Archives Canada on its Theses Canada Portal;
  • The bibliographic record will be listed in Canadiana, Canada's national bibliography, published by Library and Archives Canada;
  • The thesis or practicum will become part of the Library and Archives Canada collection of more than hundreds of thousands of theses/practica;
  • Access to theses/practica submitted electronically will be provided through the Libraries’ catalogue or directly through MSpace, and will be open to the world. MSpace theses will also be searchable via Library and Archives Canada, Google and Google Scholar.
Library and Archives Canada guidelines and copyright information is available on its website.

Academic Dishonesty/Plagiarism

Plagiarism or any other form of cheating in academic work is subject to serious academic penalty including suspension or expulsion from the faculty or university. To plagiarize is to take ideas or words of another person and pass them off as one’s own. Plagiarism applies to any written work, in traditional or electronic format, as well as orally or verbally presented work. It is not necessary to state the source of well-known or easily verifiable facts, but students are expected to appropriately acknowledge the sources of ideas and expressions they use in their written work, whether quoted directly or paraphrased. This applies to images, diagrams, or statistical tables, as well as to written material, and materials or information from Internet sources.

To provide adequate and correct documentation is not only an indication of academic honesty but is also a courtesy which enables the reader to consult these sources with ease. Failure to provide appropriate citations constitutes plagiarism. When in doubt about any practice, ask your advisor or professor and refer to the Student Advocacy website.

The Student Advocacy Office, 519 University Centre, 204.474.7423, is a resource available to students dealing with Academic Integrity matters.

Length of Time for Completion of Thesis/Practicum

The normal length of time for completion of the program of study, including the course work and thesis or practicum is two (2) years for a Master's degree and four (4) years for a Ph.D. degree. Maximum time limits can be found the Faculty of Graduate Studies Academic Guide.

The duration of time from initiation of the thesis or practicum proposal to the oral examination will vary. A thesis or practicum is typically completed within one year. Students should consult with their Advisor or Graduate Chair regarding time to completion. Below are two examples of the milestones that are normally encountered in research-based graduate programs.

i) Milestones for Completion of a Master’s degree - (order may vary between departments/programs)

  • Appointment of an Advisor
  • Coursework
  • Selection of Advisory committee
  • Complete coursework
  • Preparation of thesis/practicum proposal
  • Proposal defense/presentation and approval
  • Obtain letters of approval as needed from Research Ethics Board and other committees from various outside agencies if access approval is required.
  • Conduct of study/project
  • Completion of thesis/practicum
  • Distribution of thesis/practicum to examiners
  • Oral examination within one month of distribution
  • Further revisions (if applicable)
  • Revisions approved by Advisor
  • Submission of the final thesis/practicum to MSpace (FGS)

ii) Milestones for Completion of PhD - (order may vary between departments/programs)

  • Appointment of Advisor
  • Coursework
  • Formation of Advisory Committee
  • Completion of Coursework
  • Development of thesis proposal
  • Thesis proposal defense
  • Thesis proposal approved
  • Research Ethics Board approval and other approvals for access from outside agencies as needed
  • Candidacy examination (no later than one year prior to expected graduation)
  • Conduct thesis research
  • Preparation and completion of thesis
  • Review by advisor/advisory committee to ensure preparedness for examination
  • Formation of examining committee including external examiner
  • Submission of thesis to FGS for internal and external distribution
  • Upon approval of thesis by Examining committee, Oral Examination scheduled
  • Oral Examination and public defense of thesis
  • Further revisions (if applicable)
  • Revisions approved by the Advisor or examining committee
  • Submission of the final thesis to MSpace (FGS)

Brief Glossary of Terms

Academic dishonesty: Cheating and plagiarism are forms of academic dishonesty; see definition ‘plagiarism/cheating’. Refer to page 13 of this document.

Advisor: Most Master’s and PhD students must have an advisor to advise the student on a program of study, direct research, and supervise thesis, practicum or comprehensive examination work. In some departments/faculties, this advisor is called a Program Advisor. In some cases, the advisor may become the Chair of the Advisory or Examining committee(s).

Advisory committee: Most Master’s and all PhD students must have an advisory committee. The purpose of the committee is to approve the student’s program of study and thesis/practicum proposal and to exercise general supervision over the student’s work. In some units, the advisory committee may become the ‘examining’ committee.

Candidacy examination: A requirement of the PhD program. A formal method of evaluation at a time specified by the Advisory committee.

Comprehensive examination: In some Master’s programs, a student may select the comprehensive examination route rather than the thesis or practicum requirement in which the student must demonstrate their mastery of the relevant literature in which they will be examined. Sometimes the term “comprehensive examination” is used synonymously with “candidacy examination,” although the purpose of each exam differs greatly.

Conflict of Interest: A close personal relationship between an evaluator and a student or applicant or between evaluators, that gives rise to the perception of, or potential, for bias.

Examining committee: The purpose of the examining committee is to evaluate the student’s thesis/practicum and oral examination.