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Queen's University

Department of Global Development Studies

Thesis-Based stream

Some students enrolled in the MA program wish to undertake more prolonged research that will lead to a full Master's thesis. Students can therefore apply to move from the course-based stream into the thesis-based stream at the beginning of the winter term.

Thesis-based stream details

Students take five half-courses.

These include the core courses DEVS 801 (Political Economy of Development), DEVS 802 (Cultural Politics of Development), DEVS 850 (Professional Seminar in Global Development Studies), and two further courses from inside or outside the department. 

During their first year, students design a research program that will lead to a Master’s Thesis. The thesis is a work of 75-100 pages long and makes an original contribution to the field of global development studies.

Completion normally takes 18-24 months.

Why do a thesis?

The thesis option gives students the time necessary to pursue a deeper program of research, often involving fieldwork or other primary data collection. The student  completes five half-courses, rather than six in the course-based program. This is to allow the student time to develop a concentrated program of research that will result in an original thesis that uses primary data. The thesis will be between 75-100 pages and will be defended before a committee of three examiners. Notably, this option provides research experience that better prepares students for doctoral studies or other forms of research-based work.

How do I apply?

Students applying to the Global Development Studies MA Program who think they might be interested in an eventual switch to the two-year research stream are encouraged to contact potential supervisors at the time of their application to discuss research interests and availability. They should discuss a focused thesis topic, funding options, and data collection processes early and consistently during the fall term with their potential supervisor, in order to submit a strong thesis stream application. They should also take the initiative to apply for external scholarships, including the SSHRC Master's Scholarship in early December and the Ontario Graduate Scholarship in January.

The deadline for applications to switch into the thesis-based stream is January 15.  Please submit the following to the Graduate Assistant by this date:

  • a detailed research proposal (up to 5 pages, including a budget for field work if intended);
  • a letter of support from your supervisor stating any funding commitments.

Criteria for acceptance

Successful applicants will be chosen on the basis of:

  • Academic merit: a minimum average of A-  from the Fall courses is required to be considered.
  • Strong supervisory link: you must have a suitable supervisor with good expertise in your prospective research area who is keen to support and supervise your work.
  • Coherent proposal: you need to demonstrate a strong and coherent proposal for a thesis.

Funding for the second year

Please be aware that, if accepted into the thesis-based stream, the department will do its best to find additional sources of funding such as TA-ships and RA-ships through faculty members' research grants.  Unfortunately, the Department cannot guarantee that such funds will be available.

Kingston, Ontario, Canada. K7L 3N6. 613.533.2000