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Wilfrid Laurier University Faculty of Arts
October 28, 2016
Canadian Excellence

MA MRP instructions and schedule

The Major Research Paper (MRP) is a research paper on a historical topic designed to explore a body of primary sources, demonstrate a thorough grasp of the secondary literature on the topic and permit the author to arrive at an independent conclusion. The MRP carries the weight of two 0.5 credit courses and its normal length is approximately 50 pages of double-spaced type.

If a student wants to complete his or her M.A. degree by the end of the summer and graduate in the Fall term the year after entering the program, he or she must adhere to the following schedule.

The MRP Proposal Form

By the beginning of the Winter term, students must have identified a project for their MRP and formed a supervising committee (consisting of their supervisors and two additional examiners) in support of it. The MRP Proposal Form is available at (/forms_detail.php?grp_id=36&frm_id=824) and is due at the Department ( on January 15.

The MRP Proposal

Where the proposal form identifies the project, the detailed MRP Proposal demonstrates how the research for the project will be conducted.

In 5-10 pages, the student will:

  • state the central research question or questions of the project.
  • identify and briefly discuss the historiography that the project will address.
  • identify the specific primary source material that will be studied to answer the relevant research question or questions.
  • outline the methodology that will be used in the analysis.

The deadline for submitting the MRP Proposal to committee members for their signatures is February 26 (one week after reading week). Overrides for registering in HI695 in the Spring Term will not be granted until this long-form proposal has been approved and signed off by the committee. All committee members will sign off on the MRP Proposal Form which the student has already submitted in January affirming their acceptance, then the grad officer signs the form and submits it to the Grad Studies Office. You must register in your MRP (HI695) for the Spring term by Mar 7 to avoid late registration fees.

MRP Drafts

Students should consider having a first draft of the MRP completed by July 1.

Final Drafts and Defences

August 1 is the last date to submit the final pre-defence version of the MRP to the entire committee. Please note that this version must have already been approved by the student's advisor before it can be circulated to other committee members.

The MRP must be defended prior to September 30. If a pre-September 30 defence date is established in August, students will avoid paying fees altogether; if the defence date is not set until September, students will receive an invoice for fees but will be reimbursed if their degree requirements are met by the deadline. Please also note that if the student is defending after the Spring term ends but before the September 30 deadline, he or she must register for the Fall term. Normally, if the student cannot meet this deadline, he or she will have to register for another term of graduate studies and pay any required fees and tuition.