Procedures, Necessary Forms & Formalities

Before you arrive, the PIA Graduate Committee will have reviewed your records and wherever there are deficiencies in your background, the Committee will have specified courses you must take in preparation for graduate courses.

You will be informed of any such courses in the letter of acceptance sent to you by the Department, and you may choose to take the necessary courses before you arrive at the University of Guelph.

When you arrive you should report to the Graduate Program Assistant and the PIA Graduate Coordinator who will see that you get off to a good start. Among other things, the PIA Graduate Coordinator will inform you as to which faculty members, on the basis of their areas of specialization, are likely candidates for membership on your Advisory Committee.

The Advisor and the Advisory Committee

You will be encouraged to meet as many of the graduate faculty as possible as early as possible. Your permanent Advisor should fill out your progress report for the first semester.

You must choose your permanent Advisor by November 30 of the first academic year and the rest of your committee by the middle of the second semester.

It is the responsibility of each student to approach potential Advisors. In most cases, you will have identified your potential Advisor prior to your acceptance in the program.

However, it is important to meet with potential Advisors very early in the first semester of the program. At such meetings, you should be prepared to discuss your plans for your time in the MA program, and your research ideas.

Good communication is essential to an effective working relationship. It may be useful for students and Advisors to complete and discuss the Advisor/Student Relationship handout (Appendix F). This can help facilitate open communication about expectations on the part of the Advisor and the student.

Normally, PIA students will be supervised by anthropology faculty. However, in exceptional circumstances, PIA students may be supervised by a department faculty member who does not hold a PhD in Anthropology as long as there is an Anthropologist on the committee to ensure the conventions of the discipline are addressed/followed.

A committee member may serve as co-advisor under the following conditions:

  1. The student and the Advisor recognise that another faculty member has a valuable complementary area of expertise essential to the student's thesis work, and that the student would prefer to work with that faculty member on a more regular basis than is customary in the case of a regular committee member.
  2. In the course of pursuing the thesis, the student finds that it is advantageous to consult with an additional committee member considerably more than was foreseen when the committee was originally struck. In this case it may be appropriate for the additional committee member to be reclassified as "co-advisor". The original Advisor should inform the PIA Graduate Coordinator and the Graduate Program Assistant of this change. The student may also take the initiative to discuss this with the PIA Graduate Coordinator. A new advisory committee form would need to be completed.
  3. A new faculty member who has no or limited experiences in supervising graduate students should work with a more experienced co-advisor.
  4. Associated Graduate Faculty and Special Graduate Faculty who are advising a graduate student must have an appropriate co-advisor assigned.

Your Advisory Committee normally will be comprised of two members: the Advisor, and one additional committee member.

The committee member does not have to be an anthropologist unless the Advisor is not an anthropologist (see above).

Masters Thesis Examination Committee

The examination committee consists of an Administrative Chair, the permanent Advisor, an additional committee member (a member of the student's Advisory Committee), and an Examiner.

The duties of the Administrative Chair at a defense are:

  • To arrange to have the appropriate forms at the defence
  • To manage the thesis defence, decide the order of questioners, and moderate the discussion
  • The administrative chair is not required to read the thesis
  • The administrative chair is not required to direct questions to the student but could do so during the informal question period
  • The administrative chair does not vote in the defence process

Each defence must have an Examiner selected by the student's advisory committee in consultation with the student.

The Examiner is external to the student’s advisory committee. The Examiner is normally internal to the Department but Examiners from outside the Department are permitted when connections are drawn to the research or methods.

The examiner must be a tenured faculty member. And, the examiner is usually someone who is an anthropologist or has expertise in the research area.

The duties of the Examiner are:

  • To read the thesis
  • To indicate in a short written report the strengths and weaknesses of the thesis, to be submitted to the thesis Advisor at least one week prior to the scheduled defence date
  • To attend the thesis defence
  • To direct questions to the student in the thesis defence
  • To vote in the defence process

The Examiner's Report will be shared with the student after the defense is completed.

Program Planning

You must meet with your Advisory Committee to plan your program. In consultation with your Committee, you are required to develop a plan of study, which consists of a statement of proposed courses and a projection of when you anticipate completing each stage of your program.

This plan of study must be approved by both your Committee and the PIA Graduate Coordinator who, when necessary, will consult with the other faculty members of the PIA Graduate Committee.

Once you have formed your Advisory Committee and planned your program, you must fill out the Advisory Committee form and the Graduate Degree Program Form (Appendix A). Submit a written copy of these forms, signed by your advisor, the PIA Graduate Coordinator and yourself, to the Graduate Program Assistant.

The original of the Advisory Committee form will be sent to Graduate Program Services and a copy will be kept in your department file. The Degree Program form is kept in your department file. You must complete these forms by the end of the first semester.

The plan of study for completion will not be submitted to the Office of Graduate Studies, but it will be used in evaluating your progress, both by your Advisory Committee and, when necessary, by the Guelph PIA Graduate Committee.

On the matter of timetable for completion, it should be noted that excluding make-up undergraduate work, it is possible for the program in this Department to be completed in four full-time semesters or the equivalent; and students are encouraged to do so. This requires prompt selection of an Advisory Committee, early specification of the thesis or major paper topic, and considerable concentration and effort.

Students should be realistic about their timetables; although it may be possible to finish in four full-time semesters, most students will require five or six full-time semesters to finish the program. IDS students will require a minimum of four full-time semesters to complete their degrees.

Note: students who chose the Major Research Paper (MRP) option may find that they are able to complete all degree requirements in less time.

The minimum number of meetings for students doing a thesis is two plus the oral examination. The first meeting must take place by the middle of the student's second semester after the committee is formed. The second meeting held toward the end of the program is typically used to discuss thesis direction and progress.

The minimum number of meetings for students doing a major paper is one. The timing is the same as the first meeting for students doing a thesis.

Your Advisor has the major responsibility for assessing your needs and for helping you develop your program and your timetable. The other members of your Advisory Committee also provide academic counselling throughout the program.

At a more formal level, your committee reviews your progress and performance at the conclusion of each semester and reports to the PIA Graduate Committee, which, in turn, reports to the Department.

Each student's progress is also reported to the Department of Graduate Studies. Students are required to sign a copy of their graduate student evaluation report at the end of each semester.

As you proceed through your program, there may be compelling reasons for you to reconstitute your committee or to make changes in your program. You may do so without prejudice, but you should not request changes without giving careful thought to their overall implications for completing your degree on schedule.

Any changes in your program should be done in close consultation with your Advisory Committee. You may also wish to consult the PIA Graduate Coordinator when considering changing your committee. The proposed changes are then submitted to the PIA Graduate Coordinator for further disposition.

A revised Advisory Committee form or Degree Program form must be completed and signed by your Advisor and the PIA Graduate Coordinator. These are then submitted to the Graduate Program Assistant, who will forward and file them as required.

In order to graduate, you must have demonstrated to a majority of the members of your Advisory Committee that you have achieved competence in theory and in methods. This will involve your having successfully completed ANTH*6000, ANTH*6080, ANTH*6700 and ANTH*6140 and other coursework, and successfully defending your thesis, or earning a satisfactory grade on your Major Research Paper.

Students who elect to do a thesis must consult Appendix B for further information about the thesis proposal, thesis submission, and timetable. Students are required to register for UNIV*7500, Thesis/Research Writing (0 credit).

At least three weeks before your defence date, the final draft of your thesis should be read and approved by all members of your Advisory Committee. At least three weeks before your defence your Advisory Committee must sign a Request for Examination form, stating that the thesis is ready for defence.

This form is obtained from the Graduate Program Assistant who will send it to Graduate Program Services and obtain the forms required for the examination. The Examiner of the examination committee will not see your thesis until it has been approved for defence by your advisory committee.

It is strongly advised that you discuss your timeline in detail with your Advisor. Making use of the Thesis Completion Calendar (available for download on the Graduate Studies website) will give you a good idea of the time it takes to write thesis drafts and prepare a final defense draft.

A student must be registered during the semester when his or her oral examination takes place.

All members of the Graduate Faculty are invited to attend the defence. You must also ensure that the date of your defence has been set and a room has been reserved. You will have to make room reservations through the Graduate Program Assistant.

If you elect to write a major paper, you must register for ANTH*6660 when you begin your paper. This may be taken for multiple semesters. Your advisor and one other member of your Advisory Committee (second reader) will read and grade your finished paper.

They will also make comments (revisions) and decide on a final grade for your paper. If there is a large difference of opinion regarding the grade, they will consult with the PIA Graduate Coordinator. The grade is then given to the Graduate Program Assistant who will submit it to Graduate Program Services.

You will make any revisions necessary and email the final official version of your major paper to the Graduate Program Assistant. It will be uploaded to the department website for other graduate students to read or consult. This must be done before you will be allowed to graduate.

For further information on the major paper, consult Appendix C.

Research Ethics Board Approval for Research with Human Participants

Any research that proposes working with human participants must be approved by the University Committee for Research on Human Subjects. Consult your Advisor to determine precisely what is required for such a review. You may also find more information on the Office of Research website.

Timeliness with regards to submitting an ethics protocol is important, particularly if you intend to do research within the Wellington County School system, which requires the completion of a special form available from the Office of Graduate Studies.

The Finishing Touches

If you have written a thesis, a set of forms provided by Graduate Program Services must be completed and filed with that office. These forms are sent to the department along with the examination forms. In the case of a major paper, only a single form, Recommendation for Graduation, need be filed.

This form is prepared by Graduate Program Services upon receiving a memorandum from the Department indicating your major paper grade and that you have completed all requirements for your MA degree. It is signed by the Department Chair and returned to Graduate Program Services.

If you decide to take some time off from the program, you must submit an Application for Leave of Absence & Withdrawal form which is available on the web or from the Graduate Program Assistant. This is subject to review and approval by the Department.

The leave of absence must be for a specified period of time, not to exceed one year, and must be first approved by Graduate Program Services. If you take an INC (incomplete) in a course and want to take an LOA the following semester, you will be given a one-semester extension to complete the course.

During a Leave of Absence, you may not use University resources, either personnel or physical, in connection with your graduate studies. This includes research-related communication with your Advisor.

If you must withdraw from the program, you must complete this form. In this instance, the approving Department officer will be the PIA Graduate Coordinator. A student may later be re-admitted to the Program but will have to re-apply in order to be considered for re-admission.

If your work has been delayed by some unexpected event, you must pay tuition for the following semester. If you complete your requirements within the first 6 weeks of the following semester, you will qualify for a rebate.

To qualify for the rebate you must complete an Early Completion Rebate Application form. The medical insurance premium is not refundable. The effective date of the rebate calculation is when all degree requirements are complete, including receipt of library clearance and submission of thesis copies to Graduate Program Services.

Students continuing a GTA/GRA/GSA appointment to the end of the semester or remaining in the department in order to use library and department facilities will not qualify for a rebate. Also, students must remain registered in order to hold scholarships.

Each semester, an email regarding the WebAdvisor Application for Graduation will be sent to graduate students in semester 2 and above, requesting them to apply to graduate, if appropriate.

The application must be submitted in the semester in which the thesis is submitted to the Office of Graduate & Postdoctoral Studies or, where a thesis is not required, not later than the last date for thesis submission for the convocation concerned.

If you wish to graduate, an application must be submitted regardless of whether you plan to attend the ceremony or plan to have your degree parchment mailed to you after the ceremony. The graduation list will be based upon these applications.

Application for Graduation form

Graduate Teaching Assistantships

If you have been assigned a Teaching Assistantship, you will need to contact the instructor of the course to which you are assigned. You need to find out the professor's expectations of you for the assistantship and then discuss its terms.

If you feel uncomfortable with some aspects of your contract, discuss it with the professor at that time.

Every GTA must submit a form entitled "Assignment of Work Agreement" which will outline the expectations of the student during the assistantship and the amount of time to be spent on those expectations.

The GTA's duties should be as detailed as possible and must be submitted to the Graduate Program Assistant within two weeks of the start of a new semester. The original signed copy of the agreement is returned to the Graduate Program Assistant.

You and the instructor must each keep a photocopy of the contract. The Statement cannot exactly resemble reality but it should be followed as closely as possible throughout the semester.

You are expected to work 140 hours over approximately 14 weeks. On average, a full GTA is expected to work 10 hours per week and a half GTA is expected to work 5 hours per week.

Under the terms of the collective agreement, GTAs cannot work more than 28 hours in any one week. The department does not have extra money to pay overtime. If you are approaching the 28-hour maximum in any one week, notify your supervisor immediately.

Copies of the collective agreement between the University and CUPE are available online.