Find a preliminary topic
During the Winter term of your next-to-last year, begin thinking of a general topic area that you would like to explore more deeply. This can be an extension of a topic that touched on in course or in a term paper but did not have the opportunity to research in depth.
Alternatively, it can be a topic of personal interest that is related in some way to your program. You can review recent honours theses titles (below) to assist you in choosing your own topic.
Find a supervisor
Before Jan. 20, begin approaching faculty members with whom you would like to explore the topic. It is important to do this as early as possible since it can be difficult to make contact over the summer. You may have to approach several faculty members and refine your topic over a period of time before achieving a match between potential supervisor and topic.
Note: Although supervisors are typically faculty members from Communication, Media and Film, members of other departments in the Faculty of Arts may also supervise your thesis if their area of interest is appropriate. Supervisors must be regular faculty members. Sessional instructors are not paid to take on extra tasks such as honours supervision.
Get the forms
Once you have verbal agreement, or at least an indication of interest, from a faculty member who is willing to supervise you, print off the Honours Guidelines and Application Form.
- Form 1: Application for Admission for Honours Program
- Form 2. Honours Committee Agreement Forms
- Form 6: Permission to Publish
Review deadlines for these forms in the Forms and deadlines section on this page.
Submit Form One
By Feb. 1, submit Honours Form 1: Application for Admission for Honours Program, a summer reading list with your supervisor's signature and a brief (two page) proposal for your project to Kristine Ennis at email@example.com. This proposal should be developed in consultation with your supervisor and include:
- An overview of the question you will research. The question should normally be related to your Communication, Media and Film major but interdisciplinary approaches are strongly encouraged. The question should also be focused enough to be researched in eight months.
- A mention of why the question is significant.
- An indication of how you will research the topic. Will you use mostly library materials or will you conduct primary research such as surveys, interviews, ethnography, etc.?
- A working bibliography containing at least some major sources of information (you needn't have read them all yet). You can see some "Proposal Samples" below. These will get you started reading over the summer.
Get research ethics approval (if needed)
You will need approval from the Faculty of Arts Research Ethics Committee if your project involves interviews, surveys, observations, experiments, or any other form of research involving human subjects. See the Faculty of Arts Research Ethics website for more information about the online tutorial course and the individual student research application form.
Contact Honours Coordinator
Make an appointment to discuss your proposal before Feb. 1.
- A.1 In order to be considered for admittance to the Honours Program, the student must normally have completed a minimum of 90 units (15 full-course equivalents) prior to admission in the Fall and have achieved a Grade Point Average of at least 3.3 over the last 60 units (10 full-course equivalents) and on all courses in the major field among those used to calculate the admission Grade Point Average. The student should register her/his intention to apply for the Honours Program by choosing the Change of Program function on the University Student Information System before Feb. 1.
- A.2 In addition, the student must receive approval from the Honours Coordinator. Before receiving this approval, the student should meet with the Administrative Assistant for the Honours Program as soon as possible to discuss procedures. The student must then secure a supervisor by January 20 and submit Form 1 (signed by the supervisor) and a preliminary program proposal to the Administrative Assistant as soon as possible and no later than Feb. 1. The student must also arrange an interview with the Honours Coordinator as soon as possible, and no later than Feb. 1, to determine the student's ability to pursue a thesis relevant to their major program. Assessment will be based on the preliminary program proposal submitted by the student as part of Form 1 and on any other criteria the Honours Coordinator may deem relevant.
- A.3 In all cases, acceptance will depend upon willingness on the part of a university faculty member who is acceptable to the Honours Coordinator to supervise the thesis. In certain circumstances where the proposed supervisor is from outside the Department of Communication, Media and Film, the Honours Coordinator may require that a faculty member from inside the department serve as Co-supervisor. The supervisor's signature is required on Form 1 before final approval may be given.
- A.4 Application: the student should submit to the Administrative Assistant a two-page preliminary proposal and a preliminary reading list agreed upon by the supervisor and the student and signed by both. The student will complete the readings before the beginning of the fall term.
- A.5. Students accepted into the Honours Program must register in COMS 595 and COMS 597 or FILM 595 and FILM 597 and must satisfy all Faculty of Arts requirements for honours degrees with a major field, outlined in the University Calendar.
Students are also responsible to ensure that they complete all program-specific requirements for their degree.
- View the requirements for the BA Honours in Communication and Media Studies
- View the requirements for the BA Honours in Film Studies
- B.1 In this Department, production of the Honours thesis constitutes the substance of COMS 595 and COMS 597 or FILM 595 and FILM 597.
- B.2 The student and the supervisor are to meet early in the fall term in order to ensure that the student will have time to prepare the final version of the thesis proposal and updated bibliography, which are to be approved by the Honours Coordinator. The supervisor will assist the student in the application for research ethics approval should this be necessary. Students will need to apply for approval from the Faculty of Arts Research Ethics Committee if their project involves interviews, surveys, observations, experiments, or any other form of research involving human subjects. See the Faculty of Arts Research Ethics website for more information about the online tutorial course and the individual student research application form.
- B.3 By mid-October, the supervisor, in consultation with the student, will secure written agreement from two faculty members to serve on the Examining Committee. In ordinary circumstances, at least two out of the three members of any such committee will be members of the Department of Communication, Media and Film. Other arrangements may occasionally be made, according to the requirements of the thesis and subject to the approval of the Honours Coordinator. The membership of this committee must be established by mid-October, and the names of the committee members, with their signatures, submitted to the Administrative Assistant. The responsibility of the committee members is limited to reading the final document, making a written assessment of it, attending and being prepared to ask questions at the oral examination, and making recommendation to the supervisor as to the final grade to be assigned. The Examining Committee is chaired by the supervisor.
- B.4 The supervisor, in consultation with the student, is responsible for setting up a structure of meetings and assignments necessary to the successful completion of the thesis. These meetings should take place at least every two weeks.
- B.5 The thesis is to be approximately 40-50 double-spaced typed pages. In addition, it is to have a bibliography and table of contents. Although the thesis need not be based on original research, it should pose a question and answer it (i.e.: it must have a thesis). Although the thesis need not be "faultless" in order to proceed to oral, any faults will be taken into account by the supervisor in assigning the mark for COMS 597 or FILM 597, and by the Examining Committee in its advice to the supervisor. The Honours Coordinator assigns the course grade for COMS / FILM 595, based on assignments submitted during the fall semester.
- C.1 The supervisor, in consultation with the student and the other committee members, is to schedule a date and time for the oral examination within the winter term final examination period. The date is to be set at least two weeks before the oral examination. The Administrative Assistant will book the exam room.
- C.2 The supervisor will ensure that the draft copy of the Notice of Oral Examination (Form 2) is forwarded to the Administrative Assistant for the Honours Program no later than two weeks before the scheduled date of the oral examination. The Administrative Assistant will then prepare the formal/final Notice of Oral Examination (Form 2) and ensure that it is sent to the supervisor, student, committee members, and Honours Coordinator.
- C.3 The student is responsible for providing each committee member with a copy of the thesis no later than two weeks before the scheduled date of the oral examination.
- C.4 Each member of the committee is responsible for completing Form 3 no later than the day before the oral examination and for submitting that report to the supervisor so that it can be placed in the student's file.
- D.1 The Honours Coordinator or designate may attend the oral examination as an observer.
- D.2 The supervisor will chair the oral examination, which will last one to two hours. It is stressed that this is not to be treated as a thesis defence but rather as an opportunity to allow the student to discuss and expand on her/his ideas.
- D.3 At the end of the oral examination, the student will be asked to leave the room while the members of the committee review her/his written and oral performance.
- D.4 The Honours Coordinator assigns the course grade for COMS / FILM 595, based on assignments submitted during the fall semester. In arriving at that grade, however, she/he will take under consideration any written or oral comments made by members of the committee.
- D.5 Normally, the oral performance of the student is significant to the course grade only as the student's discussion and responses reflect the quality of his/her written work.
- D.6 Honours will be awarded if the student obtains a minimum GPA of 3.30 on the final 90 units (15 full-course equivalents) and on all courses in the major field.
- D.7 First Class Honours will be awarded if the student successfully obtains a grade point average of at least 3.60 over the last 90 units (15 full-course equivalents).
- E.1 It is the responsibility of the supervisor to notify the Honours Coordinator within one week of the oral examination of the final grade in COMS 595 and COMS 597 or FILM 595 and FILM 597. This is to be entered on Form 5, which should be forwarded to the Administrative Assistant for the Honours Program. Copies will be sent to all members of the committee. In circumstances where the thesis has been failed by the committee, the Honours Coordinator is to be notified by the supervisor immediately.
- E.2 The thesis should not normally be revised after the oral examination. However, it is the responsibility of the student to make any minor corrections (e.g.: typographical errors) in the thesis brought to her/his attention by the committee and to submit a corrected copy to the Honours Coordinator within one week after the oral examination, to be placed in the department's library.
- E.3 In exceptional circumstances, as with any other course, COMS 595 and COMS 597 or FILM 595 and FILM 597 may be repeated. This will depend on the discretion of the Honours Coordinator.
The following deadlines constitute part of these guidelines. Forms 2-4 will be forwarded to the supervisor/committee members prior to their respective due dates. The supervisor should ensure that all forms are returned to the Administrative Assistant for the Honours Program.
- Application For Admission to the Honours Program as soon as possible, no later than Feb. 1
- Interview with the Honours Coordinator as soon as possible, and no later than Feb. 1
- Form 1: Application for Admission for Honours Program with attached proposal and reading list due as soon as possible and no later than Feb. 1
- Final thesis proposal and updated bibliography beginning of October*
- Form 2. Honours Committee Agreement Forms (two committee members) mid-October*
- Form 3: Notice of Oral Examination -- due two weeks before Oral Exam
- Form 4: Report of Committee Member forward to the Supervisor before Oral Exam
- Form 5: Final Report of Honours Supervisor -- due within one week of Oral Exam
- Form 6: Permission to publish - due within one week of oral exam (submit with final copy of thesis)
* For specific dates, please consult the Administrative Assistant for the Honours Program.
Setting you up for success
Honours Program holds a seminar, normally taught by the Honours Coordinator. It meets for two hours per week to discuss writing and research techniques, examine theses from previous years to see how they are put together, and make interim presentations of work in progress. This seminar will allow you to see what other students are doing and discuss common issues.
It will not meet every week since your main job will be to go off and write your thesis. However, keep this time open for periodic meetings.
Recent Thesis Titles
- "Investigating the Harms of Rape through the National Inquiry into Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls" (PDF)
- "Going Beyond the Beyond Meat Burger: A Political Economic and Comparative Semiotic Analysis of Online Advertisements" (PDF)
- "The Greta Effect: How does Greta Thunberg use the discourse of youth in her movement for climate justice?" (PDF)
- "Redefining Parenthood: A Feminist Critical Discourse Analysis of Identity Curation on Instagram by Mothers and Gender Non-Conforming Parents" (PDF)
- "Dating Ga(y)mes: Queer Performance in Farming Simulation Roleplay Games" (PDF)
- "Politics, Censorship, and Film Form: Brazilian Cinema of the Military Regime 1964-1979" (PDF)
- "Roots of an Empire: The development and maintenance of Alberta’s broadband infrastructure" (PDF)
- "Who is the Me of #MeToo? A Critical Discourse Analysis of Hashtag Feminism" (PDF)
- "Hidden in plain Sight: Publication Bans, Mythology and Youth Crime" (PDF)
- "Feisty Geishas, Friendly Dragon Ladies and Imperfect Model Minorities: The New Asian Women of YouTube" (PDF)
- "Making America Great Again? Considering Regimes of Truth in the Trump Campaign" (PDF)
- "Threatening Democracy in 140 Characters: A Rhetorical Analysis of Donald Trump's Presidential Use of Twitter" (PDF)
- "Pathos in Canadian Prime Ministerial 9/11 Addresses: A Comparative Rhetorical Analysis" (PDF)
- "A Comparative Analysis of Three Southern Alberta Archeological Sites' Signage examining the Promotion of Sustainable Practices" (PDF)