Master's Project or Master's Thesis

Please read the information below to determine the options for the program completion that pertain to your program of studies.

For students in the PhD program, you will complete a Dissertation. Below is a list of PhD graduates and the titles of their dissertations.

The last day in each term to defend a project, thesis, or dissertation is provided below:

Summer term Fall term Spring term
last business day in July last business day in November last business day in March

Responsibilities of the Student and the Supervising Committee

For more information on what you can expect from your Academic Supervisor and the supervising committee, please consult the Graduate Calendar - Graduate Examinations. An updated version of The School's graduate Supervision handbook, with sections pertinent to Master's and PhD programs, will be accessible soon. 

In addition, some faculty members have developed their own set of guidelines regarding what students should expect from them as supervisors and what they expect of students working with them.

Administrative Matters

It is the student's responsibility to be aware of all administrative deadlines. Contact your graduate secretary regarding School of Public Administration defence deadlines and procedures.

Policies and procedures for completing a thesis are outlined by the Faculty of Graduate Studies under Student Resources.

Please note that the School will require an electronic (PDF format) copy of your final thesis. Please submit this copy to the graduate secretary.

Students in the Master of Arts in Community Development (MACD) program may choose to complete either a group Master's Project (CD 596) or an individual Master's Project (CD 598) to conclude their program.

Group Master's Project
The MACD Group Master's Project (CD 596) requires students to work in small groups. This project is a substantial analysis of a management, policy or program problem for a client in the community development sector. This major project is prepared, throughout the program, in consultation with the client and an academic supervisor from regular faculty from the university and qualified practitioners and must be both practical and academically rigorous.

Individual Master's Project
The MACD Individual Master's Project (CD 598) is a substantial analysis of a management, policy or program problem for a client in the community development sector. This major project is prepared in consultation with the client and an academic supervisor from regular faculty from the university and qualified practitioners and must be both practical and academically rigorous.

Master's Project Guide
The purpose of this guide is to provide a resource document for MACD students. It may be consulted at any time by individuals who are either considering applying for the Master's Program or are current students. The guide can be used as a companion document to your work in the MACD program and will assist you with the conceptualization of a research project, development of the project’s research design, execution of the research, and the production of a written report to be presented at the defence. View the MACD Master's Project Guide (under construction, please review project on the CourseSpaces website.)

Master's Project Resources

Responsibilities of the Student and the Supervising Committee
For more information on what you can expect from your Academic Supervisor and the supervising committee, please consult the Faculty of Graduate Studies website or the Graduate Calendar.

Administrative Matters

It is the student's responsibility to be aware of all administrative deadlines.  Contact your graduate secretary regarding School of Public Administration defence deadlines and procedures. 

Policies and procedures for completing a major project are outlined by the Faculty of Graduate Studies.

Please note that the School will require an electronic (PDF format) copy of your final thesis. Please submit this copy to the graduate secretary.

To book a room for your oral defence, please contact the Graduate Administrative Assistant at .

Students in the Master of Arts in Dispute Resolution (MADR) program may choose to complete either a Master's Project (DR 598) or a Master's Thesis (DR 599) to conclude their program. Completing a Master's Thesis requires the prior approval of the Director.

Master's Project (4.5 units): DR 598

The MADR Master's Project (DR 598) requires students to complete a major project for a client in consultation with an academic supervisor and Graduate Advisor. The project is expected to be a substantial analysis of a conflict situation or process, policy issue, or other relevant topic approved by the Graduate Advisor. The Project must provide evidence of independent research by the student and otherwise meet the regulations of the Faculty of Graduate Studies. It will have a practical application and is generally prepared in consultation with a client, as well as the supervisor. A written report will be prepared and submitted to an oral examination committee.

Before starting the project, students must complete MADR core courses (DR 501, 502, 503, 505, 589, 506, 512, 515, 520 (or 511)) and any electives relevant to the DR 598 project. Students choosing this option will complete a program of 19.5 units.

Master's Project Resources

Master's Thesis (6.0 units): DR 599

Advanced approval of the School of Public Administration Director required.

A Master's Thesis (DR 599) is a substantial contribution to the knowledge in the field of Dispute Resolution. The thesis demonstrates a student's mastery of a substantive body of scholarly or practice literature as well as using appropriate and academically defensible methodologies to analyze research questions, test hypotheses or contribute new theoretical knowledge. The thesis is defended in an oral examination. The Master's Thesis requires original research on a topic chosen in consultation with the student's academic supervisor and the Graduate Advisor, and otherwise meet the regulations of the Faculty of Graduate Studies and the department. Before starting the thesis, students must complete MADR core courses (DR 501, 502, 503, 505, 506, 512, 515, 520 (or 511)) and any electives relevant to the DR 599 Thesis. All course requirements must be completed before proceeding to the oral examination.

Students undertaking the DR 599 thesis option will complete a program of 21 units.

Master's Thesis Resources

Thesis Option Admissibility

A student may elect to proceed with the preparation of a Master's thesis proposal provided the student meets the following requirements at the time of election:

  • The student has completed all DR core courses;
  • The student has a GPA of no less than 7.5 in the DR program;
  • The student has no grade below a B+ at the time of election;
  • The student has superior writing ability as evidenced by receiving a grade of A or better on a major writing assignment completed as part of the DR core courses.
  • Depending on their methodological background, students should consider taking an additional methods course should the subject matter of their 599 thesis make that desirable. The methods course:
    • can be taken as an elective or in addition to your regular and elective courses
    • should be selected in coordination with the student's thesis supervisor
    • should complement the student's area of study
    • should be substantially different from either PADR 502A or PADR 502B
  • The student's proposed thesis topic area is one that is supported by a member of the SPA faculty and is in their field of expertise, and that faculty member has agreed to become the student's (thesis option) Academic Supervisor. The student and faculty member have also identified one additional School of Public Administration faculty member who is a member of the Faculty of Graduate Studies, is appropriate for the supervision of the student's research, and is willing to undertake that supervision.
  • The student agrees to prepare a thesis proposal. The thesis proposal should be 2000 to 3000 words in length, and contain the following:
    • title page;
    • table of contents;
    • "election to proceed" form (available by clicking on the link above);
    • statement of problem, question or hypothesis;
    • background/context;
    • literature and research resources material review (completed to level which supports legitimacy of proposal);
    • research methodology (includes literature to be examined, data to be gathered and how, and assessment of need for ethics review);
    • tasks to be completed, plan and time frame for completion; and,
    • bibliography.
Students admitted to the Master of Public Administration On Campus program in or before 2018 may complete a Master's Project (ADMN 598) or, if eligible, a Master's Thesis (ADMN 599) to conclude the program. Completing a Master's Thesis requires approval of the Director and admissibility as described below. However, students admitted for Fall 2019 must complete a Master's Thesis and do not have the option of doing a project.

Master's Project (4.5 units): ADMN 598

The Master's Project (ADMN 598) is a substantial analysis of a management, policy or program problem for a client in the non-profit or public sector. The Master's Project is prepared in consultation with a client and an academic supervisor in the School of Public Administration and must be both practical and academically rigorous. The Master's Project is defended in an oral examination.

Students have the choice of working individually or with a partner. Team-based reports must be designed and written so that each team member's contributions are clearly indicated.

Master's Project Resources

Upcoming Defense Deadlines

Last day for Master's Project Oral defence in Spring: final business day in March.
Last day for Master's Project Oral defence in Summer: final business day in July.
Last day for Master's Project Oral defence in Fall: final business day in November.

Master's Thesis (6.0 units): ADMN 599

Advanced approval of the School of Public Administration Director required.

A Master's Thesis (ADMN 599) is a substantial contribution to the knowledge in the field of Public Administration. The thesis demonstrates a student's mastery of a substantive body of scholarly or practice literature as well as using appropriate and academically defensible methodologies to analyze research questions, test hypotheses or contribute new theoretical knowledge. The thesis is defended in an oral examination. Completing a thesis rather than a Master's Project will increase the number of units assigned to an MPA program from 19.5 to 21.

Individual students will work with an academic supervisor in the School.

Master's Thesis Resources
Thesis Option Admissibility

A student may elect to proceed with the preparation of a Master's thesis proposal provided the student meets the following requirements at the time of election:

  • The student has completed all MPA core courses;
  • The student has a GPA of no less than 7.5 in the MPA program;
  • The student has obtained grades of no less than A- in ADMN 502A and ADMN 502B;
  • The student has no grade below a B+ at the time of election;
  • The student has superior writing ability as evidenced by receiving a grade of A or better on a major writing assignment completed as part of the MPA core courses.
  • Depending on their methodological background, students should consider taking an additional methods course should the subject matter of their 599 thesis make that desirable. The methods course:
    • can be taken as an elective or in addition to your regular and elective courses
    • should be selected in coordination with the student's thesis supervisor
    • should complement the student's area of study
    • should be substantially different from both ADMN 502A and ADMN 502B
  • The student's proposed thesis topic area is one that is supported by a member of the SPA faculty and is in their field of expertise, and that faculty member has agreed to become the student's (thesis option) Academic Supervisor. The student and faculty member have also identified one additional School of Public Administration faculty member who is a member of the Faculty of Graduate Studies, is appropriate for the supervision of the student's research, and is willing to undertake that supervision.
  • The student agrees to prepare a thesis proposal. The thesis proposal should be 2000 to 3000 words in length, and contain the following:
    • title page;
    • table of contents;
    • "election to proceed" form (available by clicking on the link above);
    • statement of problem, question or hypothesis;
    • background/context;
    • literature and research resources material review (completed to level which supports legitimacy of proposal);
    • research methodology (includes literature to be examined, data to be gathered and how, and assessment of need for ethics review);
    • tasks to be completed, plan and time frame for completion; and,
    • bibliography.

Students admitted to the Master of Public Administration Online program prior to and including Fall 2018 (September 2018 start) may opt to complete a Master’s Project or Master’s Thesis as described below, but are not obligated to complete either. Please refer to the message that was sent to active MPA Online students (available here). If you are currently registered for the report and plan to complete this work, continue as before. If you are currently registered for the project or thesis and elect to be governed by the new program, please contact Judy Selina (), as she will assist you with the next steps in the process.

Students admitted for Fall 2019 will not complete a Master's Project or Master's Thesis to complete their program.

Please note that students admitted to the MPA On Campus program are not governed by this program change; see the information available at https://www.uvic.ca/hsd/publicadmin/graduate/current-students/policies/index.php

Master's Project (4.5 units): ADMN 598

The Master's Project (ADMN 598) is a substantial analysis of a management, policy or program problem for a client in the non-profit or public sector. The Master's Project is prepared in consultation with a client and an academic supervisor in the School of Public Administration and must be both practical and academically rigorous. The Master's Project is defended in an oral examination.

Students have the choice of working individually or with a partner. Team-based reports must be designed and written so that each team member's contributions are clearly indicated.

Master's Project Resources

Upcoming Defense Deadlines

Last day for Master's Project Oral defence in Spring: final business day in March.
Last day for Master's Project Oral defence in Summer: final business day in July.
Last day for Master's Project Oral defence in Fall: final business day in November.

Master's Thesis (6.0 units): ADMN 599

Advanced approval of the School of Public Administration Director required.

A Master's Thesis (ADMN 599) is a substantial contribution to the knowledge in the field of Public Administration. The thesis demonstrates a student's mastery of a substantive body of scholarly or practice literature as well as using appropriate and academically defensible methodologies to analyze research questions, test hypotheses or contribute new theoretical knowledge. The thesis is defended in an oral examination. Completing a thesis rather than a Master's Project will increase the number of units assigned to an MPA program from 19.5 to 21.

Individual students will work with an academic supervisor in the School.

Master's Thesis Resources
Thesis Option Admissibility

A student may elect to proceed with the preparation of a Master's thesis proposal provided the student meets the following requirements at the time of election:

  • The student has completed all MPA core courses;
  • The student has a GPA of no less than 7.5 in the MPA program;
  • The student has obtained grades of no less than A- in ADMN 502A and ADMN 502B;
  • The student has no grade below a B+ at the time of election;
  • The student has superior writing ability as evidenced by receiving a grade of A or better on a major writing assignment completed as part of the MPA core courses.
  • Depending on their methodological background, students should consider taking an additional methods course should the subject matter of their 599 thesis make that desirable. The methods course:
    • can be taken as an elective or in addition to your regular and elective courses
    • should be selected in coordination with the student's thesis supervisor
    • should complement the student's area of study
    • should be substantially different from both ADMN 502A and ADMN 502B
  • The student's proposed thesis topic area is one that is supported by a member of the SPA faculty and is in their field of expertise, and that faculty member has agreed to become the student's (thesis option) Academic Supervisor. The student and faculty member have also identified one additional School of Public Administration faculty member who is a member of the Faculty of Graduate Studies, is appropriate for the supervision of the student's research, and is willing to undertake that supervision.
  • The student agrees to prepare a thesis proposal. The thesis proposal should be 2000 to 3000 words in length, and contain the following:
    • title page;
    • table of contents;
    • "election to proceed" form (available by clicking on the link above);
    • statement of problem, question or hypothesis;
    • background/context;
    • literature and research resources material review (completed to level which supports legitimacy of proposal);
    • research methodology (includes literature to be examined, data to be gathered and how, and assessment of need for ethics review);
    • tasks to be completed, plan and time frame for completion; and,
    • bibliography.

Boyd, Brendan
"Learning to Address Climate Change: Collaboration, Policy Transfer, and Choosing Instruments in Canadian Provinces"
Supervisor: E. Lindquist, 2016

Breen, Coralie
"Beyond Petroleum: Strategic Workforce Planning and Climate Change Policies"
Supervisor: E. Lindquist, 2015

Williams, Julie
"Environmental Leadership: Policy Implications for Provincial Governments in Canada"
Supervisor: C. Althaus, 2015

Dolan, Norman
"Settling Differences: New Approaches to Conflict Resolution in High-Security Organizations"
Supervisor: E. Lindquist, 2014

Rousseau, Jane
"Empowered or Tokenized? The Experiences of Aboriginal Human Service Workers and Organizational Responses Within a Historically Oppressive Child Welfare System"
Supervisor: E. Lindquist, 2014

Longo, Justin
"Towards Policy Analysis 2.0"
Supervisor: R. Dobell, 2013

Rachwalski, Maurice
"Public Sector capacity to Plan and Deliver public/Private Infrastructure Partnerships: A Case Study of British Columbia’s Health Care Sector"
Supervisor: J. Langford, 2013

McIntosh, Gordon
"Defining situational leadership for the local government chief administrative officer"
Supervisor: E. Lindquist, 2010

Walinga, Jennifer
"The Power of Focus: Unlocking Creative Insight and Overcoming Performance Barriers"
Supervisor: B. Cunningham, 2007

Harrison, Yvonne D.
"Motivated to Adopt: Understanding the Digital Effectiveness Divide (DED) in Volunteerism"
Supervisor: J. MacGregor, 2005

Chen, Guangyu
"Greg Evaluation of the British Columbia Photo Radar Program"
Supervisor: R. Warburton, 2003

Corbett, John Christopher
"The value sieve: a decision system for complex environments" (Interdisciplinary PhD)
Supervisor: J. Cutt, 2003

Cran, Gregory
"The......"
Supervisor: E. Lindquist, 2003

Penney, Christine
"Getting clear on the concept: accountability in the Canadian health system"
Supervisor: J. Cutt, 2002

Mitchell, Darcy Anne
"Sustainable by design: how to build better institutions for fisheries management in British Columbia"
Supervisor: R. Bish, R. Dobell, 1997

Brown, Leslie Allison
"Administrative work in aboriginal governments"
Supervisor: F. Cassidy, 1996

Muller-Clemm, Werner Johannes
"Halting the 'Revolving Door' of serious mental illness: evaluating an assertive case management program" (Interdisciplinary PhD)
Supervisor: J. McDavid, 1996

Anholt, Dennis Munroe
"Friends of the government: an administrative history of the British Columbia government agents" (Interdisciplinary PhD)
Supervisor: J. Cutt, 1992

Lam, Newman Ming Ki
"Learning in the real world environment: a classification model based on sensitivity to within-dimension and between-category variation of feature frequencies"
Supervisor: J. MacGregor, 1991

Kennedy, Bruce Richard
"Intra-cohort redistribution using longitudinal microsimulation: the impact of potential changes to Canada's public pension system"
Supervisor: R. Dobell, 1989