MAIS Program Requirements

The MA degree of the University of Prince Edward Island requires the demonstration of a reasonable mastery of a concentrated field of study. The latter is attested by the achieving of satisfactory standings in the minimum number of graduate courses required by the respective Faculty, the completion of a research project, and the writing of a thesis based upon the research.

Graduate students will register in the interdisciplinary MA program in Island Studies, under the Dean of Arts. Each student’s program of study will be designed in consultation with the Program Administrator and student’s Supervisor.

There will be considerable interaction and co-operation among the departments to provide courses and research facilities to meet the needs of individual students and their research projects.

In addition to the “General Regulations for Graduate Programs,” described above, the following regulations apply specifically to the Master’s degree:

Residency Requirements

Normally, at least two semesters of full-time study in residence at the University must be devoted to the Master’s program if the student is admitted as a regular student. Upon completion of the residency requirement, the student is then eligible to become a candidate for the MA degree. Normally, the thesis must be formally submitted or the program be otherwise complete within 48 months of the completion of the residency requirement. Departure from these normal requirements requires approval from the Graduate Studies Committee.


The proportion of weight attached to the research and thesis may vary, even within a department. Accordingly, the number of courses and/or general examinations may correspondingly vary. In no case, however, will the minimum requirements be less than those outlined in the following two paragraphs. For graduate credit, the courses selected must be acceptable to the Department and the Graduate Studies Committee. The candidate must maintain an average grade of at least a “B” standing (see Grades in General Regulations section) in the substantive courses outlined below in order to maintain registration in the program.

In the Faculty of Arts, students are required to take a minimum of three courses at the graduate level totalling a minimum of 9 credit hours. Students may take only two Directed Studies courses for credit. Students lacking an Honours degree or background in one or more areas may, at the discretion of the Supervisory Committee, be required to take the appropriate undergraduate level course(s).

For the MA in Island Studies, six courses in addition to the thesis are required owing to the interdisciplinary nature of the program.  

Additional Courses 

In addition to these prescribed studies, the candidate may undertake to achieve satisfactory standings in courses supportive of the special discipline. These courses may be at either the undergraduate or the graduate level. The standings obtained in them will not affect the average grade of the prescribed studies.

When a student is required to register in a seminar or colloquium course in more than one semester, the record will show a grade or a designation of “In Progress” for semesters prior to completion of the course and “Pass” or “Fail” for the final semester. With the consent of the Supervisory Committee, and of the instructor and the Department Chair concerned (or the Dean of Arts in the case of the MA in Island Studies), a student may register for, and audit, all or part of a course. It is understood that the student will attend lectures as prescribed, but will not write any examination or receive any grade. Such a course may be recorded as an additional course, identified by AUD.

Thesis Requirements


Normally, the equivalent of at least two full-time semesters must be devoted to research in fulfilment of the thesis requirement. Summers during which research work is actively conducted may be counted as research semester equivalents, even though courses would not normally be offered at that time. In order to avoid undue prolongation of the time required to complete the degree, the research topic should be identified early and approved by the Supervisory Committee. Research involving the use of animals must follow the Guidelines of the Canadian Council on Animal Care. Research involving human participants must adhere to the Tri-Council policy on research ethics and be approved by the University’s Research Ethics Board.


Each candidate for the degree of Master of Arts is required to submit a thesis based upon the research conducted under supervision as described above. The thesis must demonstrate the candidate’s capacity for original and independent work, and should include a critical evaluation of work which has previously been done in the field of his or her research. The thesis should emphasize any new conclusions which may be drawn from the candidate’s own research.

General specifications as to paper, format, order, and binding are available from the Office of the Program Administrator.


The thesis may be handed in at any time of the year, but candidates must bear in mind the desirability of having the final examination as much in advance of the deadline date for thesis submission as possible. Candidates are advised to inform themselves of the deadlines schedule, a copy of which may be obtained in the Office of the Program Administrator. It is desirable that each candidate initiate discussion about examination dates with the Supervisor early in the final semester.

The candidate should keep in close touch with the Supervisor and the Supervisory Committee throughout the preparation of the thesis. The final draft of the thesis, after it has been reviewed by all members of the Supervisory Committee, is sent when ready for examination to the members of the Master’s Examination Committee (see below).

Following the Master’s Examination, the candidate, if successful, arranges for the preparation of the thesis in final form, and for its submission to the Program Administrator (see below). The thesis in final form must include any minor corrections or revisions indicated during the Examination. Approval of the thesis takes the form of a Certificate of Approval, signed by the Examination Committee.

The Master’s Examination 

The final oral examination, devoted chiefly to the defence of the thesis, is a departmental examination identified as the Master’s Examination and carried out by the Master’s Examination Committee.

In the Faculty of Arts, the Master’s Examination Committee normally consists of three members of the Supervisory Committee, including the Supervisor of the candidate’s research, who will chair the Master’s Examination Committee on behalf of the Dean of Arts.  The Examination Committee also includes an External Examiner from another university or research organization who has expertise in the student’s field of research and is recommended for approval by the Supervisor or Supervisory Committee to the Coordinator and Dean.

The Department Chair (or the Dean of Arts, in the case of the MA in Island Studies) selects the Examination Committee at the request of the Supervisor and is responsible for notifying the Program Administrator of its composition. The Examination is normally open to the public; however, members of the audience may question the candidate only upon invitation of the Chair of the Committee. The Examination is passed and the thesis approved in principle if there is no more than one negative vote, an abstention being regarded as a negative vote. The report, from the Department Chair (or the Dean of Arts, in the case of the MA in Island Studies) to the Program Administrator, records the result as “unsatisfactory,” or “satisfactory”. If the result is “unsatisfactory,” the candidate may be given the opportunity by the Master’s Examination Committee of a second attempt. A second “unsatisfactory” result will terminate candidacy at this university.

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