MA Degree Requirements

The Graduate Program in Science and Technology Studies at UBC offers two distinct degrees at the Masters level: a stand-alone M.A. and an M.A. in a participating department with an STS research emphasis.

1. Master of Arts in Science and Technology Studies
The Master of Arts in STS is a stand-alone, interdisciplinary degree. Students accepted into the M.A. are expected to complete the program in two years. The program of study will include 18 credits of coursework and a 12 credit research thesis under the supervision of a faculty member. The following are required courses for all M.A. students:

  • STS 501 (3): Proseminar in Science and Technology Studies
  • STS 502 (3): Core Seminar in Science and Technology Studies
  • STS 597 (3): Masters Colloquium in Science and Technology Studies
  • STS 599 (12): MA Thesis in Science and Technology Studies

Additional credits of coursework should be consistent with the student’s program and approved by his or her supervisor and the program director.

2. Master of Arts in English/History/Philosophy/Geography with a Research Emphasis in Science and Technology Studies

Students accepted into the M.A. Program in one of the participating departments will need to fulfill the requirements of that department in order to graduate. In addition, they should fulfill the following requirements in order to receive the research emphasis in STS:

  • STS 501 (3): Proseminar in Science and Technology Studies
  • STS 502 (3): Core Seminar in Science and Technology Studies
  • STS 597 (3): Masters Colloquium in Science and Technology Studies
  • MA Thesis as determined by your home department

There is currently no non-thesis option for STS students.


MA Thesis Requirements
As soon as the student has decided upon an area of specialization, preferably by the end of the first year, the student should formulate a topic and strike up a supervisory committee, which includes a primary supervisor and at least one reader, but preferably two readers, selected in consultation with the supervisor. At this stage, the student must submit a prospectus for approval.

The MA Thesis Prospectus offers a preliminary description of the proposed argument of the thesis and locates the argument within the broader parameters of the field of study. It also sets out the major steps through which the student plans to proceed in researching, writing, and structuring the thesis. The prospectus includes a bibliography, which should provide a comprehensive list of the required primary sources for the proposed research, and a list of the most relevant and influential secondary readings on or around the topic. The text of the prospectus, excluding the bibliography, is usually about 1500 words in length.

The prospectus is read first by the supervisory committee and, if satisfactory, by the STS Advisory Committee. It is due by October 1st of the student’s second year. The STS Advisory Committee may request changes, additions, or clarification, or it may approve the prospectus outright. The student should not begin to write until both the supervisory committee and the Advisory Committee have formally approved the prospectus.

The kind and amount of thesis supervision will be dictated by the needs of the individual student and the preferred methods of the supervisor. Preliminary drafts, either of individual chapters or of the whole thesis, should be submitted to the supervisor as the student proceeds. The student is encouraged to meet with all members of the committee. The entire supervisory committee evaluates the prospectus and the final draft of the thesis before each is submitted for examination. In consultation with the supervisor, the student should revise the thesis in accordance with the committee’s critical suggestions. The committee members will not act as copy-editors.

The final thesis should be no more than 60 pages in length, excluding bibliography, endnotes, tables, figures, and other appendices. It should be submitted in 12-point Times New Roman font, it should be double-spaced, and it should have one-inch margins. The final form of the thesis must be prepared in accordance with the regulations set down by the Faculty of Graduate and Postdoctoral studies and with the formal approval of all committee members. Students can consult the Faculty’s thesis preparation page. Theses which do not meet the specified standards may be rejected. The candidate should submit one electronic copy to the Faculty of Graduate and Postdoctoral Studies, along with the final thesis forms ( The thesis will not be approved and an iCirlce account will not be created until all forms have been received. One hard copy is required for the STS Program, one hardcopy for the supervisor if requested, and one hard copy for the candidate if desired.

Once the thesis is approved by the supervisory committee, a final oral examination on the thesis and its background is held. Students must not submit theses for oral examinations until all other requirements for the degree have been fulfilled. A final oral may be held at any time of the year, provided the approved committee can be assembled–students should take into account that it can be more difficult to assemble the committee during the summer months. After the oral examination, a pass/fail is assigned to the thesis. An outstanding thesis may be awarded the grade of Distinction. Revisions made after the oral examination will not alter the pass/fail allocated to the work.

Students residing more than 800 kilometres from the university may request exemption from the oral when submitting the thesis. Where substantial revisions to the thesis are not required, such a request may be granted at the discretion of both the supervisory committee and the STS Advisory Committee .