Degree Completion Options

Students have 4 years from the start of the program to complete the degree. For example, the 2015 cohort group has until Summer of 2019 to finish.

There are three options for completing the degree:

  1. MA Project. You take six courses, then write/create a project that is examined by a committee of three professors at an MA defence
  2. Extended Essays. You take six courses, then expand two essays that were written for course work and defend them before a committee of three professors at an MA Defence
  3. Coursework. You take eight courses, the last of which is the Graduating Seminar

All three options result in the MALS Degree: Master of Arts in Liberal Studies. The total tuition cost is the same, because the MA Project and Extended Essays are considered full-time courses and fees are levied accordingly.

If you’re interested in the Extended Essay or Project option, you should meet with Gary McCarron, the Graduate Chair, to discuss your research interest, which is followed up by submitting a proposal. The Graduate Chair submits your proposal to the GLS Steering Committee for deliberation and approval. The Steering Committee usually meets in September, December and April; proposals must be received at least two weeks prior to the Steering Committee meeting. Contact the office for the exact meeting date. Once the proposal is approved, supervisory committees and timelines are set up for completion of the work.

Proposal Expectations

Students need to find a senior supervisor to work with in developing their proposal. A proposal should not be attempted (or submitted to our office) without the support of a student’s senor supervisor. The senior supervisor continues to work with the student through the completion and defence of their essays/project. The senior supervisor must be a full-time or retired SFU faculty member. The selection of your senior supervisor is a very important decision.

The proposal needs to include the topic to be studied, its significance, the methodology to be employed, a tentative outline of its contents, a select bibliography, and a time line for completion.  Proposals are usually between 3 and 5 pages in length.

If your essays/project involves any human subjects, students must apply and receive approval from the university research ethics committee (the senior supervisor is listed as the co-applicant).

Grades and Deferrals

The minimum grade point average that must be maintained by a graduate student is 3.0.

If, for some reason, you are unable to complete your course work in time, it is sometimes possible to negotiate a deferred grade. This matter is between you and your instructor; however, Grad Studies has decreed that all deferred grades must be resolved by the end of the first month of the following semester, otherwise the deferred grade automatically becomes an F. For example, if your grade for LS 800 in fall 2016 is deferred, you have until the end of January 2017 to complete the course work and have a final grade assigned.