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Theses & Dissertations

Requirements for Master's & Doctoral Theses

As per the Theses Guidelines website, hosted by Graduate and Postdoctoral Studies, the following are the general requirements for McGill theses:

Master's Theses

  • A thesis for the Master's degree must show familiarity with previous work in the field and must demonstrate the ability to carry out research, organize results, and defend the approach and conclusions in a scholarly manner according to disciplinary norms. 
  • An exhaustive review of work in the field of study is not necessarily required. Expectation for the level of original scholarship at the Master's level varies with the discipline. 
  • The thesis must be written in compliance with norms for academic and scholarly expression and for publication in the public domain.

Doctoral Theses

  • A thesis for the Doctoral degree must constitute original scholarship and must be a distinct contribution to knowledge. 
  • It must show familiarity with previous work in the field and must demonstrate ability to plan and carry out research, organize results, and defend the approach and conclusion in a scholarly manner. 
  • The research presented must meet current standards of the discipline; as well, the thesis must clearly demonstrate how the research advances knowledge in the field. 
  • Finally, the thesis must be written in compliance with norms for academic and scholarly expression and for publication with norms for academic and scholarly expression and for publication in the public domain. 

Helpful Resources - eBooks

The following eBooks will guide you through the research, writing and defense of a thesis or dissertation. For addition information, please refer to the library catalog

Citation Styles

Refer to our Citation Guide to review and learn more about citation styles and software, such as Zotero and Endnote, that will assist you during the writing and formatting of your thesis or dissertation.


Other useful style guides include:


Manuals are available in the collections and at the desk in most McGill libraries:

Have you heard about Citation Management Software?

You can use citation management software like EndNote or Zotero to create your own personal database. This database, which is fully searchable, can then be used to generate reference lists and bibliographies for publications, assignments and reports.

With our university-wide site license for these software packages, McGill students, faculty, and staff can download them free of charge.

To download EndNote or Zotero and/or find more information about it (including workshops) click here.

Can't find a workshop or prefer to learn online? Check these online options.

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