Guidelines for Honours Thesis

NUTR 4499 – Honours Thesis (One unit)

The honours thesis course offers students an opportunity to conduct a research project as part of their undergraduate program.  In the first semester, the student will thoroughly plan the honours project under the supervision of a departmental faculty member, write a thesis proposal, present it via an open oral presentation and complete an ethics application form. In the second semester, the student will carry out the planned project, write the thesis, and present the thesis at a public thesis defense.  The student must carry the project to its final conclusion in order to be awarded credit for the course work.  The faculty supervisor will assign a final grade to be submitted to the Registrar based on the student’s performance in all aspects of conducting the thesis.

sample of a thesis course outline can be observed to better help both student and faculty understand the expectations.

As per the Undergraduate Academic Calendar, students wishing to obtain an honours degree must make a formal application through the department chairperson normally by May 1 of the year prior to enrolment in the thesis course, using the standardized application form.  The Chair, in consultation with department faculty members, makes the decision to accept the applicant into the Honours Program or not. Students should anticipate a formal acceptance letter (via email) by the end of May.

As per the Academic Calendar, minimum requirements for acceptance into the honours degree are a GPA of 3.0 in the last 10 academic units, with no grade less than C in any of these units. Full requirements, as per the Academic Calendar, may be viewed on the second page of the application form.

Thesis Timetable

Fall Semester

During the proposal stage, the student will: 

  • Meet regularly (weekly/bi-weekly) with the thesis supervisor to report on the work completed and/or to discuss problems encountered.

  • Develop a thesis proposal which will include:
                    – Statement of the research problem
                    – Literature review
                    – Theoretical framework
                    – Description of the methodology
                    – Plan for analysis
                    – Discussion of ethical considerations and safeguards
                    – Budget (if applicable)
                    – Give an oral presentation defending the thesis proposal. 
                    – (If necessary) complete an Application for Ethics Approval

Normally, the proposal and oral defense must be completed and approved by the thesis supervisor by December 15th of the year enrolled, exceptions will be considered on an individual basis.  Students may be asked to withdraw if deadlines are not met.

Please be aware that if work in the first semester is deemed unacceptable and/or the student fails to meet the established deadlines, the student will be required to withdraw from the course.

Students who conduct research with human participants, or use secondary data collected from human participants, must have their research approved by the Departmental Ethics Committee and by the MSVU Research Ethics Board Chair before proceeding with any contacting of potential participants and/or data collection/analysis.

The student will complete the MSVU Application for Ethics Approval and provide two hard copies to the Chair of the Departmental Ethics Committee for review by the department committee.

Once approved at the departmental level, the Departmental Ethics Committee Chair writes a cover letter stating its approval.

Students are then to submit two copies of their ethics application, accompanied by the Departmental Ethics Committee Chair’s approval letter, to the Research Ethics Coordinator prior to the Christmas Break.

Winter Semester
The student will carry out the research, analyze the results, write and defend the thesis during the winter semester.

Regular (weekly/bi-weekly) meetings with the supervisor are also recommended at this stage.  The findings which will arise from the analysis, discussion of the findings, and a discussion of implications for practice will be added to the proposal document to constitute a complete thesis.

A typical thesis will include:

  • Abstract
  • Introduction
  • Literature Review
  • Problem Statement/Research Goals & Objectives
  • Theoretical Framework
  • Methods/Research Design
  • Results
  • Discussion
  • Implications for dietetic practice/policy/future research
  • Conclusion

The correct use of language is one of the criteria included in the evaluation of all written work.

Referencing for the thesis should be completed using the following format:

  • International Committee of Medical Journal Editors – Uniform requirements for manuscripts submitted to biomedical journals (
  • This is the format found in the Canadian Journal of Dietetic Practice and Research; and this requirement is consistent with what is required of MScAHN theses.

Students are reminded that the University regulations on plagiarism and cheating will be strictly enforced.  These regulations are posted on the departmental bulletin boards and information may be also obtained from your supervisor and the University website.

Normally, the thesis must be successfully defended and all revisions must be complete by April 15th to be eligible for Spring Convocation.