The Thesis is modeled on a short scholarly monograph of approximately 100-120 pages (excluding bibliography), with multiple chapters. Thesis students may, with the permission of the Program, explore non-traditional modes of presentation such as scholarly editions or digital technology or performance. The Thesis may be completed in one year (three semesters), but two year is more common and funding is available for a second year.
Sample Thesis Topics
- “A City is Not a Place of Origins”: Mapping Black Queer Identity in the Work of Dionne Brand and James Baldwin
- Autobiographical Graphics: reading the queer “I” in women’s life writing
- The Composite Frankenstein: the Man, the Monster, the Myth
- “Poetry is a Speaking Picture, Painting a Silent Poetry”: the Intersection of Art and Literature in the Works of P. K. Page
- The Tramp, the Fan, and the Working Man: Bruce Springsteen, the Road, and American Publics
- Reading and Writing Are Dangerous: Exploring the Creative Process in the Works of Stephen King
- Reading Paintings: Visual Culture and Bernard Shaw’s Pygmalion
- Harry Potter and the Philosophers Stone: Shifting Centres, Margins, and Publics
Developing a Proposal
Throughout their first two terms, students will develop their thesis project proposal with their supervisor; the thesis agreement provides a guideline; the student and supervisor can work out their own agreement.
Initial Thesis Proposal
The student and supervisor will meet as soon as possible to discuss the student’s project. Over the course of first term they will work towards developing a brief initial proposal of about one page plus a draft bibliography for submission to the Supervisory Committee and they will fill out and sign a Thesis Agreement. These will both be completed by early in second term.
Application for Ethical Review
When appropriate, generally when the research involves interviews, the student and supervisor must fill out an Application for Ethical Review form for submission to the Office of Graduate Studies at least 8 weeks before the beginning of the research in question. Guidelines and forms are available on the Research Ethics page of the University website.
Final Thesis Proposal
By the end of March students will have developed their final proposal and may make a public presentation of it at the Research and Professional Development Seminar in early April. This proposal then will be signed off on by
- The student
- The supervisor
- The Research and Ethics Committee, when appropriate
The thesis proposal should follow the program guidelines
Thesis Submission and Defence
After the supervisor, second reader, and student have worked through as many drafts as are required the completed thesis will be submitted to the Program Director. This should be submitted by no later than June 1 of the student’s second year if they expect to graduate by the end of their second year. Students who don’t meet the deadline for completion in two years (the exact date is in the Trent Calendar for the year in question) are required to register and pay one full term’s fees.
Once the supervisory committee has confirmed that the thesis may proceed to examination, the Program Director establishes a committee to participate in the examination and defence, consisting of a Chair, the supervisor, at least one member of the supervisory committee and at least one other member, internal or external to the University who is not a member of the supervisory committee; and determines the date, place and time of the defence.
A “Pre-Oral Defence” form is supplied on which the internal/external examiner should verify whether they recommend that the oral examination should proceed. The form must be returned to the Graduate Program Director at least one week before the scheduled date of the oral. A negative response may result in cancellation of the defence and return of the thesis to the student.
Five recommendations are open to the Examining Committee:
(i) the thesis is approved as it stands, or
(ii) the thesis is approved provided certain minor revisions are made, or
(iii) the thesis is approved provided certain major revisions are made, or
(iv) the thesis is not approved as it stands but may be resubmitted, and re-examined by some or all of the Examining Committee (this may or may not involve another oral defence), or
(v) the thesis is not approved.
Once the thesis is approved along with any revisions, students need to submit the thesis to Graduate Studies. It is the responsibility of students to familiarize themselves with the Principles Governing Submission and Examination of Theses/Dissertations as outlined in the Trent Calendar and to ensure that they have completed all the requirements for the degree. This includes the submission of the thesis to the Graduate Studies Officer for final approval and its binding and/or microfilming, once it has been approved