Please note that you need to be registered in the term in which you complete your degree. Many students defend their Theses or have their Professional Papers examined near the end of term. For this reason, please make sure you know what is the last day for applying for a degree that term and work backwards from there to when you need to apply to schedule your capstone event (as these things are called at SFU). Normally this would be around the 11th week of classes. Should you need not make the deadline, you need to register for the following term and, if you complete your degree in the first few weeks, get a partial refund of your fees. This partial refund is not available to students who exceed their maximum time for their degree.
If you have run out of time to complete your degree, you may be re-admitted for one term to complete your degree, within one year of your last term at SFU.
Non-Thesis MA: Examination and Presentation of Professional Paper
To complete a Non-Thesis MA, a student must complete his or her Professional Paper, have it examined by an Examining Committee, and present it in a public forum.
The normal procedure:
When the Professional Paper revisions are near their final stages, the student approaches the Supervisor about planning and scheduling the Paper’s presentation. At least four weeks prior to the scheduled presentation, the form Scheduling of Master's Degree Completion must be filed with the office of the DGS. If you are completing your degree at the end of a semester, please check with the Departmental Secretary about the deadline for filing the Recommendation for the Award of Degree form which cannot be filed prior to the presentation.
The Graduate Chair, in conjunction with the student's Senior Supervisor, forms an Examining Committee consisting of the Senior Supervisor and at least one other examiner who is qualified in the relevant field. This examiner would generally be a member of the SFU philosophy department, but may be from another department at SFU or another university.
Normally, the Professional Paper is made available to the Examining Committee at least two weeks prior to the presentation. A copy of the paper is also made available in the main philosophy office to anyone interested and an abstract is sent out with the advertisement.
At the presentation, the student is allowed about 40 minutes to give the paper, and then an open discussion follows, beginning with questions from the Examining Committee. Following the presentation and discussion, the Examining Committee meets in camera to evaluate the Professional Paper. The categories of evaluation are: Pass with distinction, Pass, or Fail. The Committee may require revisions to be made to the paper. Should the paper fail, the student has a second, and final, chance to submit and present a Professional Paper in order to complete the degree.
Thesis or Specialized MA
Defence: at least four weeks prior to the scheduled defence, the form Approval of Examining Committee for a Master's Student must be filed with the office of the DGS. If you are completing your degree at the end of a semester, please check with the Departmental Secretary about the deadline for submitting a thesis to the library. You should allow time between the defence and that deadline for revisions, formatting, etc.
The Examining Committee consists of the Supervisory Committee plus an External Examiner. Normally, it is the Senior Supervisor's responsibility to seek out and secure the cooperation of a suitable person. The External Examiner cannot be a member of the SFU Philosophy Department, but may be a member of a different department at SFU or a qualified person from outside the University.
Normally, the Thesis is made available to the Examining Committee at least four weeks prior to the Examination.
The MA Thesis Defence is a public event, chaired by the Graduate Chair or appointee and attended by the Examining Committee. The candidate presents a prepared presentation of approximately 20 minutes' length, outlining the contents of the thesis being defended. Two rounds of questions from members of the Examining Committee are followed by a public discussion.
Following the Examination, the Examining Committee meets in camera to evaluate the Thesis and the student's performance using the categories as those set out in 1.10.2, Classification of the Thesis: The Thesis may pass without revision or Pass with revisions to be approved by the Senior Supervisor. It may also not pass as is, but the decision is deferred until a new substantially revised version is submitted and, at the discretion of the Examining Committee, re-examined. Should the Thesis fail, the student is asked to withdraw from the program.