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MRP Regulations

Revised May 2016


The Major Research Paper should be a sustained exploration of a theoretical or empirical question. Unlike a Master’s Thesis, a Major Research Paper need not involve original research. That is, a Major Research Paper may take the form of a critical review of the literature in a field, the exploration or synthesis of various points of view in a subject area, or a pilot study for a larger project. Alternatively, the Major Research Paper may be a research project that is narrower in scope, less sophisticated in methodology, or less complete in data gathering than would be required for a thesis.

Normally, the Major Research Paper should be between 40 and 60 double-spaced pages in length. Students are encouraged to develop further a paper already written for a course. Students may design a Directed Reading or Directed Research Course on the topic of the paper for the purpose of beginning the necessary work. The standard of evaluation is that of an article in a refereed academic journal.


The paper must be printed to a professional standard and must conform to normal scholarly standards with respect to citations, bibliography, etc. The paper must be submitted with a title page that contains the following information: student’s name, title of the paper, date submitted, name of supervisor, and must include this sentence: “The Major Research Paper is submitted in partial fulfillment of the requirements for the MA degree in the Joint Graduate Program in Communication and Culture, a partnership of Ryerson University and York University.” [See PDF fileYSGS guidelines, opens in new window]


The student is responsible for approaching potential supervisors, who must be a member of the Program. Normally the second reader should be a member of the Comcult faculty of the other University in the joint program, ie. Committee is formed of one from York and one from Ryerson University. Faculty Advisors and the Program Directors will assist students to identify potential supervisors, after the student has made significant effort to obtain one on their own.


Length: 4-6 pages plus a timeline and bibliography


  1. Title: state briefly and directly the subject of the research
  2. Introduction: brief description of the project and its rationale
  3. Objectives:
    1. research problem, question or hypothesis
    2. theoretical perspective
    3. expected contribution to the field (the originality of the work must be demonstrated)
  4. Relationship to existing literature or professional practice
  5. Identify and briefly discuss the methods, sources, literature(s) and material to be employed and
    research or professional stream to which you wish to contribute.
  6. (Optional if supplemented by research component) overview of research methodology and research
    ethics concerns


A.   Proposed time line for completion of the work
B.   Select Bibliography

a. theoretical works relevant to chosen methodology
b. works bearing on the substance of the topic.


MA full-time students should submit a formal proposal approved by the MRP faculty supervisor to the appropriate program office by September 30th in 4th term. MA part-time students must submit a formal proposal before the end of the fifth term or 6 months prior to estimated month of completion. The proposal may be modified with the permission of the supervisor after it has been filed in the program.

Program Type Deadline
MA Full-time students:
Approved MRP proposal submission  
September 30th
MA Part-time students:
Approved MRP proposal submission
April of the second year in the program or no later than six
months prior to completion of program.

Students unable to meet these timelines should speak to the program administrator or director.

Second Reader

Major Research Papers will be evaluated by the supervisor and a second reader, normally also a member of the Program. Normally, the second reader will not be from the same university as the supervisor. That is, if the supervisor’s primary appointment is at Ryerson, the second reader should be from York. Students may consult the second reader prior to the completion of the draft, but the second reader cannot act in the capacity of co-supervisor and must remain “at arm’s length” from the paper. In the event that the second reader finds the paper unsatisfactory, he or she should consult with the supervisor about possible revisions. The second reader may request minor revisions before the final paper is submitted to the program.


Upon completion of the paper the supervisor and a second reader will assign a final grade of Pass or Fail. A written evaluation will be submitted to the program office, signed by both the supervisor and the second reader. A form is available from the program office for this purpose. The supervisor and the second reader may opt to
meet with the student to discuss the paper but this is not required. The completed “PDF fileMA MRP Supervisor and Second Reader Report” will be filed at the program for program use only and not returned to the student.

Paper for Evaluation and Filing

The student is responsible for submitting two hard copies of the paper, one for each reader. After the evaluation - and the oral if required - the student must deposit a final copy (after completing any minor revisions requested by the readers) with the Program Office. Degree requirements are not considered to be completed until both a copy of the paper,  a copy of the assessment, and the final PDF are deposited with the program.

Deadlines for submission of the paper in order to meet the spring and fall convocation dates are published by the program each year.