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Queen's University

Masters Degree Requirements

MA Coursework


M.A. Pattern I

4 full-term courses

+ CUST-802

+ 20,000 - 25,000 word thesis OR a major project


M.A. Pattern II

6 full-term courses

+ CUST-802

+ 10,000-12,000 word research essay OR a minor project

The nature and length of the major and minor project activities, reports, and analytic components will be negotiated by the student in consultation with the supervisory committee.

The program offers 3 core courses: one on Cultural Studies Theory, one on Critical Methodology and one on Cultural Studies Historiography. Students are required to complete at least two of the three. All other courses will be electives, drawn from the list of available courses. Also, in order to graduate from the program, students must attend 8 sessions of the bi-weekly program seminar series (CUST 802 Professional Development) This must be completed in the first year of the program.

MA Project Option

This option will allow students to create a cultural product (work of art, performance, film, play, text) or to become involved in community-based cultural work as a means of partially fulfilling the requirements for an MA.

Students taking the project option will be required to provide an analytic theoretical commentary based on the work, its conditions of production, and its implications for academic scholarship.

Because the project option of our program requires involvement with community organizations, we will be drawing upon the many associations our faculty have both in the Kingston area and beyond.

MA Thesis/Project Proposal

By the end of first year, each student, in consultation with the student's program advisor, must choose a thesis/project supervisor and submit an M.A. proposal, including an annotated bibliography of works relevant to the chosen area(s) of study and, for the project option, a clear description of how the student will meet the requirements for that option (e.g. producing a 10 minute documentary plus a 6500 word analytic paper). Students in the project option whose work will involve community collaborators must show that they have appropriate participants, and justify their choice of participants given the theoretical and methodological contexts of their work. Students in all options will be required to show the relation of their work to the program's objectives, available faculty expertise, and to the relevant academic literature.

In consultation with the supervisor, the student will select a second reader for the thesis or research essay. In the case of the project options, care must be taken to ensure that the supervisory committee will have the necessary expertise to judge both components of the project (product/participation and analytic components).

The proposal will be presented in a meeting with the supervisor and second reader. Students are required to complete and have their proposal approved within 2 years of starting the program. The student's oral examining committee will be comprised of the student's thesis supervisor, the second reader, the Coordinator (or delegate) and an examiner from another department or program at Queen's University.

MA Thesis/Project Evaluation Procedures

General procedures concerning the Master's thesis required of all candidates for the M.A. are defined by the School of Graduate Studies.

Students in the research essay option will have their paper marked Pass/Fail by the supervisor and one other faculty member. They must receive a Pass grade from both readers in order to meet the degree requirements.

For the major and minor project options, students' work will be evaluated on the basis of the merits of the project as a cultural product (e.g. it must be a good film), as well as on the merits of the analytic component. Students will be expected to show that they are capable of using the critical skills developed in the program course work, and of being reflexive about their own work. There must be clear signs of the successful integration of the analytic and production/participatory components of the project. Where appropriate, assessments from community collaborators will be considered in the evaluation process.

Expected Progress Through the MA Program

  1. End of Term 1
    • Complete first half of course work
    • Choose a supervisor and begin work on proposal
  2. End of Year 1
    • Finish course work
    • Establish full committee membership
    • Prepare, present, and defend the thesis proposal
  3. Middle of Year 2
    • Carry out research / production
    • Write analytic component and defend the thesis / project
  4. End of Year 2

Kingston, Ontario, Canada. K7L 3N6. 613.533.2000