The Master of Arts (Child and Youth Study) degree program consists of a minimum of 5.0 credit units of course work, including the following required and elective courses:

Required Courses (4.0 Units)
GCYS 6011 – Developmental Issues for child and Youth  0.5 Unit
GCYS 6012 – Social Contexts of Child and Youth Care  0.5 Unit
GCYS 6013 – Intervention and Evaluation for Children and Youth  0.5 Unit
GCYS 6014 – Admin and Leadership in Child and Youth Care  0.5 Unit
Graduate level Statistics 0.5 Unit
Graduate level Research Methods  0.5 Unit

Graduate level Electives  1.0 Unit

Thesis 1.0 Unit




GEPY 6608 or equivalent statistics course.  In order to register for GEPY 6608 you must contact the course Professor and ask for permission.  This course is normally only offered in the Fall semester.  Do not delay registration as this course fills quickly.


Please choose a research methods from the following list or as approved by the Child and Youth Study Graduate Committee:

  • GEDU 6100 — 0.5 unit
  • GEDU 6107 — 0.5 unit
  • GFSG 6606 — 0.5 unit

You may have to email the course professor directly for permission to register.


1.0 Unit of Elective courses are required.  Electives may be selected from GCYS courses otherwise not required including GCYS Directed Study or Special Topics courses, and courses from other departments at the Mount or other universities. Students are encouraged to make their elective selection in consultation with their academic advisor or thesis supervisor. Students wishing to take coursework at another university must comply with Mount Saint Vincent University regulations regarding transfer of credit and obtain the necessary Letter of Permission (LOP).

Example:  GCYS 6021 Sociology of Childhood & Adolescence is considered an elective and is normally offered in the winter semester.


Normally you would begin your thesis work upon completing of your required courses, or when required courses are nearly complete.  The Graduate Thesis is an independent pursuit with the student working under the supervision and guidance of a Graduate Thesis Supervisor.  The following steps provide an outline when beginning this endeavor.  Your thesis is worth 1.0 unit.

THESIS - STEP 1 - Select and Define a Graduate Thesis topic

Select and Define a Graduate Thesis topic

Begin by brainstorming topics that interest you and relate to your overall education experiences and goals. At this point, you are only trying to identify the specific phenomenon, or broad research questions, that you might like to address in your thesis. More precise research questions will only arise after you have conducted your literature review and are normally developed with the assistance of your Thesis Supervisor.

Talking to professors, other students, and professionals in your fields of interest is another way to generate these broad ideas and research questions.  Reading other scholars’ research can also assist you, by providing you with a study which you might replicate or by suggesting areas that need future research.  Try to keep in mind your time frame and your available resources, in order to allow you to choose a topic that is manageable.

THESIS - STEP 2 - Select a Graduate Thesis Supervisor

Select a Graduate Thesis Supervisor and assemble a committee

This is a very important step that will have major implications on your work.  The only requirement for a Graduate Thesis Supervisor is that they must have a Masters or PhD degree.  It is not required that you choose a faculty supervisor only from amongst those who have taught you in a class, nor from amongst those who teach in your Department or program, nor even from those teaching at The Mount.  Investigate professors (and/or other professionals) to find someone whose research interests best match your own.  Then email them introducing yourself (if needed).  Provide an overview of your Thesis topic and ask if they are available to take on new students for Master’s Thesis supervision.  Some may not be available due to current student commitments or leaves of absence.  If they are available, arrange to meet in person to discuss your research.  Once you have secured your Graduate Thesis Supervisor, they will assist you with choosing another committee member(s).

The Appointment of Thesis Supervisor Approval Form will then need to be completed by the student and supervisor and submitted to the Graduate Program Coordinator – VIA email in care of our Department Administrative Assistant. The Coordinator in combination with the Dean will approve the Supervisor appointment.

MEET OUR FACULTY and find out about their research interests.

THESIS - STEP 3 - Registration in Thesis course (GCYS 6130)

Registration in Thesis course (GCYS 6130)

Registration is processed by the CYS Department Administrative Assistant after you have secured a Graduate Thesis Advisor who will, in collaboration with you, complete and submit the Thesis Supervisor Form. These forms can be found on the MSVU website at THESIS REQUIREMENT AND FORMS

Registration in the Graduate Thesis course lasts one year (three academic semesters).  If you have not completed the Thesis (obtained final approval from thesis committee) by the end of the three semesters, you must register and pay the fee for a Thesis continuation on a per-semester basis until completion.  If you require a leave of absence or extension fill out the appropriate forms.  Otherwise you will be registered, and normal course fees will apply.

THESIS - STEP 4 - Ethics

Ethics and Research Information 

All Mount Saint Vincent University faculty, students, and staff conducting research with human subjects, must submit an ethics protocol (application) to the University Research Ethic Board (UREB) for approval before the commencement of research. Students must also complete the Tri-Council Research Ethics On-line Tutorial before they begin their research which provides researchers with background and awareness needed to ensure research meets the TCPS and University ethical standards.  The Mandatory CORE Tutorial can be found at TCPS 2: CORE.  Students are advised to begin the ethics clearance process after their Proposal Defence.

More information regarding the Research Ethics Review Process and the Application Process for Research Ethics clearance can be found here:   RESEARCH AT THE MOUNT

CLICK HERE for UREB Forms and Applications

THESIS - STEP 5 - Developing your Thesis Proposal

Developing your Thesis Proposal

The Thesis proposal is a document which describes your research question and how your project is situated in the context of previous scholarship in the field.  It should be developed in collaboration with your Thesis Supervisor and usually contains the following:

  • Introduction
  • Literature Review
  • Significance of (or need for) the Study
  • Research Questions
  • Methodology
    • Research Approach
    • Instruments
    • Method of Data Collection (sampling)
    • Method of Data Analysis
    • Theoretical Framework or Approach
  • Budget (if applicable)
  • Conclusion
  • References
  • Appendices (if applicable)

After completing the proposal, it must be submitted to your Graduate Thesis Supervisor for final review.  Once you have made any necessary revisions suggested by your Supervisor, other committee member(s) read and make suggestions and comments, for final revisions.  This should be done well in advance, at least two weeks prior, of your proposal defense date in order to leave time for necessary modifications.

THESIS - Step 6 - Presenting the Thesis Proposal

Presenting the Thesis Proposal

Defending your proposal usually follows a standard protocol where students prepare a twenty-minute oral presentation for the Thesis committee members and the public, which summarizes their Thesis proposal.  The Thesis Supervisor usually chairs this meeting and with other committee member(s) will initially ask questions and make suggestions about your next steps. The audience will then be given an opportunity for discussion.  When preparing for the proposal defense ensure you are ready by leaving lots of time for several revisions and by practicing out loud with audio-visual materials.

Following the Thesis proposal presentation, the Supervisor will submit the Thesis Proposal Presentation Report Form to the Dean of Graduate Studies, and copy the Graduate Program Co-Ordinator and you, the student.  If minor revisions are needed, the Thesis Supervisor is responsible for ensuring required revisions are completed and for approving the proposal prior to submitting the Thesis Proposal Presentation Report.  Students have only one opportunity to submit a proposal for presentation.

Please note: If the proposed research requires ethics clearance, a copy of the certificate of ethics clearance from the UREB must be submitted before research can begin.

THESIS - STEP 7 - Preparing your Graduate Thesis

Preparing your Graduate Thesis

The Graduate Thesis should be a contribution to knowledge in your specialized area and must show familiarity with methods of research and critical enquiry.  Each academic department sets its’ own regulations required for your Graduate Thesis which are available from departments and on departmental websites. This process will be guided by your Thesis Supervisor and other committee members and may include conducting qualitative and/or quantitative research, data analysis, and writing.

THESIS - STEP 8 - Defending your Graduate Thesis

Defending your Graduate Thesis

All Theses will be subject to an oral defense. Your Thesis Supervisor will submit the Notification of Thesis Defence Form to the Dean of Graduate Studies at least two weeks before the date of intended oral defence.  If ethical clearance is required for the research, a copy of the Certificate of Ethics Clearance from the UREB must be attached to this form.  The Dean will then advise you of the Chair for the Thesis defense within five days.  At the Defense students are required to make an oral presentation, approximately 20-30 minutes, to the Thesis committee and the public.  The Committee will be given priority to question the student and then the Chair will open the floor for a reasonable amount of time for questions and discussion.  The Committee will by majority vote, reach one of the following decisions:  approve the Thesis, approve the Thesis with minor revisions, require that the Thesis be revised and re-submitted for examination, or fail the Thesis with no opportunity for re-submission.

Students intending to graduate at an upcoming convocation must successfully complete their thesis defence and have their grade submitted by the last day to register for a course in the Fall or Summer semesters. Students should refer to the Academic Course Add/Drop Dates published in the Graduate Calendar and available online for the current academic dates. Click here for IMPORTANT DATES.

THESIS - STEP 9 - Final Graduate Thesis approval and submitting your Graduate Thesis

Final Graduate Thesis approval and submitting final copies of your Graduate Thesis

Your completed Graduate Thesis must be approved by the Graduate Thesis Supervisory committee and the completed thesis approval forms are sent to the Dean of Graduate Studies, who grants final approval. The Thesis Supervisor will complete the Thesis Release Form to submit a grade of “P” and forward it to the Dean of Graduate Studies.  Students must submit an electronic version of their thesis to the Library. SUBMIT YOUR THESIS HERE Individual programs/departments will determine the number of copies (electronic, hard copy and/or bound) that the student must submit to the department and the date by which they must be submitted. Important Deadlines: Students intending to graduate at an upcoming convocation must successfully complete their thesis defence and have their grade submitted by the last day to register for a course in the Fall or Summer semesters. Students should refer to the Academic Course Add/Drop Dates published in the Graduate Calendar and available online for the current academic dates.

Congratulations, Your Thesis Defense process is now complete!