Progress through the MA

Progress Through the MA

Advisors, Supervisors and Supervisory Committee

The Graduate Program Committee generally identifies Academic Advisors at the application stage. With the Graduate Coordinator, Academic Advisors collaborate with students during their first year of the MA on the following: course selection; funding and award applications; deciding on a supervisor and, in some cases, supervisory committee member; beginning stages of MA thesis proposal.

The Supervisory Committee is made up of a Supervisor and one member of the GNDS faculty (the latter is often referred to as the ‘Second Reader’ or ‘Committee Member’).

See link to SGS on supervision

Gender Studies Faculty:

Gender Studies Cross-Appointed Faculty:

Supervisors should be confirmed by the end of the first year of study, after coursework is completed and prior to submitting the thesis proposal (August). All regular faculty members of Gender Studies are eligible to supervise students. In special cases, cross-appointed faculty may be approached regarding supervision—in this case a member of core Gender Studies faculty must sit on the Supervisory Committee. Co-supervision is only optional in exceptional cases (i.e. in consultation with the Graduate Coordinator it is decided that the research and thesis can only be completed successfully with two supervisors).

An additional Supervisory Committee Member from Gender Studies or a cognate department will be confirmed prior to or in July of the MA candidates’ first year and is decided in consultation with each Supervisor. This supervisory committee member is often identified as the ‘Second Reader.’

Supervisors and Supervisory Committee members should normally be members of the School of Graduate Studies.

Master's Student Handbook - pdf here

Course Work

Full time students take 2 (3.0) Gender Studies required courses and 2 (3.0) elective courses in their first year. See below for required and elective course details.  Link to Courses:


The second year will be dedicated to researching, writing and defending theses. Completed MA theses will be 75-100 pages, inclusive of all endnotes and bibliography, and must comply with the regulations of the School of Graduate Studies at Queen’s University. Usually, a thesis is organized into a brief introduction, three chapters of about 20-22 pages, and a conclusion.

Recommended Pace
Year One: Course Work (September - April)

  • Students must take the equivalent of four 3.0 courses

  • Students are required to take GNDS 801 and GNDS 802

  • Students can choose their additional two 3.0 elective courses from cognate departments (Development Studies, Politics, Cultural Studies, Sociology, History, Religious Studies, Geography, etc.)

  • Students have the option to approach a faculty member from GNDS and do directed reading courses

  • IMPORTANT: if you are doing research with human subjects (interviews, questionnaires) you are required to take a non-credit course on human research participant protection (CHRPP). The course is mandatory for all incoming graduate students who will engage in research involving human subjects. This is a web-based tutorial providing familiarity with and practical application of Canada’s national standard of ethics for research (as outlined in the Tri-Council Policy Statement).

Year One: Supervisory Decisions and Writing Thesis Proposal (April - September)
  • In consultation with the Graduate Coordinator, students are expected to finalize their supervisor and supervisory committee member/second reader and begin preparing their proposal

  • The Supervisory Committee is made up of: Supervisor and one member of the GNDS faculty (second reader)

  • It is recommended that students meet with their supervisor and/or supervisory committee to discuss their proposal and research project

  • MA thesis proposals are roughly 6-8 pages (double spaced) and must include a bibliography of at least 15 sources (in addition to the 6-8 page proposal)

  • The proposal will include the central research question framing the MA thesis, the goals and objectives of the MA project, the key debates surrounding the research question, an overview of the analytical text/object/subject, chapter outlines, and a work schedule

  • Students doing research with human subjects must prepare their research ethics application.
Year Two: Submitting Proposal (September)
  • The final draft of their proposal, for submission to the supervisor and supervisory committee should be no later than the first week in September

  • IMPORTANT: you must attach a copy of your approved GREB application to your proposal if you are doing research with human subjects

  • The supervisor and supervisory committee meet with the student to discuss the proposal. At this meeting proposals will be: approved; approved with revisions; revised and resubmitted

  • Revised and resubmitted proposals must be completed this no later than 7 days after of the proposal meeting

  • All final drafts of proposals, and MA thesis proposal form will be submitted to the Gender Studies Graduate Office no later than the first week in October
Year Two: Graduate Student Symposium (November)
  • All students in the MA Gender Studies program will be required to do a 10 minute presentation on their approved thesis proposal and future research at a symposium, organized by the Graduate Coordinator. The symposium is normally held the first Friday of November—although time, date, and location will be announced in early September
Year Two: Thesis, Thesis Examining Committee and Thesis Defense (September - September)
  • Students prepare, submit, and present proposal

  • Students research and write their thesis

  • When the student and the supervisor feel that the thesis is ready for examination, a thesis examining committee will be struck. The committee consists of a member from outside the Graduate Program in Gender Studies, usually from a cognate department, the Graduate Coordinator or a delegate (as chair), the supervisor, and supervisory committee member (already selected in year one)

  • Students submit their completed thesis at least 4 weeks prior to the desired defense date

  • The committee reads the thesis and if they believe it is ready to be defended, an oral examination/defense is held

  • Defense dates will stagger, depending on students’ progress, from April-September of Year Two

  • Defense and defense dates are organized vis-à-vis the Graduate Assistant and the School of Graduate Studies

  • At the defense, the student is informed immediately of the result of the oral examination. According to the School of Graduate Studies, a thesis is assessed in one of the following categories on the basis of the written thesis and the oral defense:
    The student should consult the regulations of the School of Graduate Studies for the exact meaning of these words and the implications for possible additional work after the thesis defense

  • After the completion of revisions, four unbounded copies of the thesis must be submitted to the School of Graduate Studies for binding and distribution to the student, the supervisor, the department, and Queen’s University archives.