MA Thesis Guidelines

Thesis Proposal

No later than the end of the first semester following completion of course requirements, students completing the Master's program under the "Thesis" option must prepare a written thesis proposal in consultation with the Supervisor and present it for approval by the Supervisory Committee, and by the Graduate Studies Committee of the Department of French.  The thesis proposal shall consist of:

  1. an appropriate critical bibliography
  2. a brief narrative summary of the research topic/problem
  3. a description of the methodology and theoretical framework to be applied
  4. a statement showing the originality of the thesis
  5. an outline and proposed timetable for the research work to be undertaken

Writing your Thesis

Faculty members and graduate students are reminded that, in addition to the formal requirements contained in the University Calendar (Graduate General Regulations 1.6) , the Graduate Student Admission Handbook, produced by the Dean of Graduate Studies and update annually, provides information on university expectations for graduate supervision.

After acceptance of the Thesis Proposal by the Graduate Studies Committee, all members of the Supervisory Committee should maintain contact either electronically or through meetings with the student on a regular basis so that advice can be given, concerns discussed, solutions reached in common accord.

It is the duty of the Supervisor to arrange these encounters and to make sure that the final plan and the methodology for the thesis are agreed upon by all involved in the supervision.

Before writing the first draft of your thesis, project or extended essay, consult the SFU Library's guide to preparing and submitting your thesis (

Examining Committee

When the student reaches the final stages of the thesis, during the last semester, usually devoted to final corrections, meetings continue to take place with all members of the Supervisory Committee on a regular basis. 

Once your thesis is substantially complete (See the Thesis Assistance website for information), your supervisory committee will work with the graduate program chair to determine the date, time and location of your defence.

The Faculty of Arts states that the external examiner must be from outside the student’s home department.

External examiners should be selected in a collaborative manner by the student, supervisor and chair of the graduate program committee. The goal is to find an external examiner who is expert, available, and not in conflict of interest. The University provides no funds to cover the expenses of external examiners for a master’s thesis.

4 Weeks before Thesis Defence

At least four weeks before your defence date, the Approval of Examining Committee for a Master’s Student (PDF Form) form must be completed and submitted to French department graduate secretary.

At this time, the graduate secretary will list your defence date in the Graduate Studies defences calendar and post your Thesis Defence information on the TVs around campus.

Applying to Graduate

2 Weeks before Thesis Defence

At least two weeks before your defence date, unbound copies of your thesis must be distributed to your committee members, plus an additional copy to your department for inspection by interested faculty and fellow students.

Day of Defence

You should not need to bring anything but your thesis and presentation notes but you may wish to work with your graduate secretary or program assistant to ensure that the following will be available:

  • Copies of your thesis abstract for the audience at your defence. Some information about yourself may also be included with your abstract, such as previous credentials, list of publications, list of awards.
  • Normally, several copies of the approval page of the thesis and the Recommendation for the Award of Degree form are brought to the defence in anticipation of a successful conclusion.
  • Appropriate audio-visual equipment, if required to support your presentation.
  • Arrangements for conference calls or videoconferencing, if required.
  • Water and cups for the candidate and examining committee.

MA with Extended Essays Guidelines

Students are required to complete two extended essays totaling 6 units with a letter grading.

  • Each extended essay must be 25 pages each, including bibliography.
  • The essays must be submitted no later than one month following the end of students’ coursework.
  • Essays will be evaluated by course instructors.
  • A minimum grade of B is required for each essay.