The Master of Arts (MA(Thesis)) prepares candidates for employment in education, regional and national government agencies, the private sector, and industry. The MA(Thesis) enables candidates to engage in a significant piece of independent research, providing specialist knowledge in their topic area and transferable analytical, research and writing skills. The degree is also an entry qualification for the Doctor of Philosophy (PhD).
The MA(Thesis) normally requires at least one year of full-time, or equivalent part-time, study and entails completion of a thesis. The normal admission requirement is a Bachelor of Arts with Honours (BA(Hons)) degree in one of at least 24 subjects, but admission on the basis of alternative qualifications and experience is possible. Some thesis candidates may be required to pass approved postgraduate papers before embarking on the thesis research, but will be advised of that before enrolment.
The thesis is a major piece of supervised research of up to 40,000 words.
The primary aim of the MA(Thesis) is to develop in a candidate skills needed to identify a significant topic, design and implement an extended piece of research, and present the findings in a form acceptable to an expert readership.
Regulations for the Degree of Master of Arts (Thesis) (MA(Thesis))
Admission to the Programme
- Admission to the programme shall be subject to the approval of the Pro-Vice-Chancellor (Humanities).
- Applicants seeking admission to a programme of study comprising of papers and a thesis (240 points combined) must either
- be a graduate with an average grade of at least B+ for the appropriate 300-level papers, or
- have alternative qualifications or experience acceptable to the Pro-Vice-Chancellor (Humanities).
- Applicants seeking admission to the programme of study comprising the 120-point thesis only on the basis of completing the degree of Bachelor of Arts with Honours or the Postgraduate Diploma in Arts Subjects or equivalent must:
- have undertaken a programme of study that provides adequate preparation for the thesis, and
- have achieved a grade of at least a B+ for the research report, thesis preparation, dissertation requirement, or relevant preparatory papers of the qualification concerned.
- In considering an applicant's qualifications, regard will be had to the detail of the course of study followed to gain the qualification, as well as the applicant's performance in the programme. Applicants must normally have achieved an average grade of at least B+ in the papers at the highest level in the programme.
Structure of the Programme
- The degree can be undertaken as a 240-point programme of study comprising papers and a thesis for students with a bachelor's degree or as a 120-point thesis-only programme for students with appropriate postgraduate level study (see Section 1(c)).
- The degree may be awarded in any of the subjects listed in the MA(Thesis) Schedule. With the approval of the Pro-Vice-Chancellor (Humanities) the degree may be awarded in a subject not listed in the MA(Thesis) Schedule.
- The student's course of study shall be approved by the Dean, Head of School, Programme or Department. In the case of the 240-point programme, the Dean, Head of School, Programme or Department will confirm that the combination of papers will provide adequate preparation for the thesis component.
- A candidate shall, before commencing the investigation to be described in the thesis, secure the approval of the Dean, Head of the School, or Head of Programme or Department concerned for the topic, the supervisory team, and the proposed course of the investigation.
- A candidate may not present a thesis which has previously been accepted for another degree.
- A candidate taking the degree by papers and thesis must pass both the papers and the thesis components.
- For a thesis, the research should be of a kind that a diligent and competent student should complete within one year of full-time study.
Duration of the Programme
A candidate achieving the degree by papers and a thesis shall normally follow a programme for the equivalent of not less than two years of full-time study and not more than three years of full-time study, and a candidate achieving the degree by thesis alone shall normally follow a programme of study for the equivalent of not less than one year of full-time study and not more than two years of full-time study. Exceptions shall be permitted only with the approval of the Pro-Vice-Chancellor (Humanities).
Withdrawal from the Programme
- A candidate undertaking both papers and thesis whose paper results are not satisfactory, as defined by the department or subject area concerned, or who does not achieve a grade of at least B+ for the dissertation requirement of the programme, shall be permitted to proceed to the thesis only with the approval of the Pro-Vice-Chancellor (Humanities).
- Where a thesis candidate withdraws from the programme after completing the prescribed papers the Pro-Vice-Chancellor (Humanities) may recommend the award of the Postgraduate Diploma in Arts Subjects or determine which papers shall be credited towards the diploma.
Examination of the Thesis
- The Dean or Head of Department concerned (or nominee) shall appoint a Convener of Examiners who shall oversee the thesis examination.
- The thesis, research dissertation, or studio project shall be assessed by at least two examiners, at least one of whom shall be external to the University.
- The candidate's supervisor shall not be an examiner but may make a report on the work of the candidate to the Convener of Examiners.
- Each examiner shall supply a written report on the thesis and recommend a mark and grade on the basis of the thesis as submitted, and an overall result selected from the options as specified in clause (d) below.
- The examiners may recommend that a thesis, research dissertation, or studio project exegesis:
- be accepted without requiring amendments;
- be accepted subject to minor corrections being made at the discretion, and to the satisfaction, of the Convener of Examiners;
- does not meet the criteria for the award of the degree, but may be revised and resubmitted for examination;
- does not meet the criteria for the award of the degree, and should be rejected without right of resubmission.
- Amendments (regulation 5(e)(ii)) and revisions (regulation 5(e)(iii)) shall be completed by a specified date to be determined by the Convener of Examiners.
- A candidate shall be permitted to revise and resubmit a thesis for examination once only.
- If a revised and resubmitted thesis is finally accepted, the result shall be either 'Pass' or 'Fail' (i.e. ungraded) and without eligibility for the award of the degree with distinction or credit.
- Where examiners cannot agree on a result, the Convener of Examiners, Dean, Head of School or Head of Programme concerned should so report to the Pro-Vice-Chancellor (Humanities) or nominee who shall arrive at a decision after consulting a referee who should normally be external to the University.
Level of Award of the Degree
The degree may be awarded with distinction or with credit.
The Pro-Vice-Chancellor (Humanities) may in exceptional circumstances approve a course of study which does not comply with these regulations.Note: The due date for applications for first enrolment in the programme is 10 December. Late applications will be considered.