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Athabasca University

Options for Completing Your MA-IS Degree

MA-IS program students now have a choice between two course formats for completion of their MA-IS degree: the MAIS 700 Capstone Course or the MAIS 701 Final Project. Before commencing either of these options, the completion of both core courses is required, as well as completion of all the courses to be applied toward your focus area(s), and your electives as outlined in your study plan. In exceptional cases, students may register in the MAIS 700 Capstone Course while working on their final elective course. This must be approved by the Program Director prior to registering in the course. This provision is not available to students who intend to pursue the MAIS 701 Final Project.

MAIS 700 Capstone Course: Integrating your MA-IS Studies and Research is a paced group study course providing for intensive reading in interdisciplinary method and theory and structured reflection on the way students’ understanding and practice of interdisciplinarity has developed throughout the course of their MA-IS studies.

  • Grouped study course with 17 week contract dates.
  • Students follow structured timeline.
  • Students interact with and receive feedback from their peers.
  • The final essay is a 4000-word paper with the option to submit to the MAIS 700 area of the Digital Project and Reading area of the AU Library website.

MAIS 701 Final Project is a non-paced individual study project that allows students to explore an intellectual question, to relate their research to a work situation, or to engage a community problem.

  • Individualized study course with 6 month contract dates (with up to three 2-month time extensions).
  • One-on-one guidance and instruction by supervisor.
  • Students have flexibility for developing their course timelines.
  • Prior to registering in the course, students are required to find an available MA-IS or other AU supervisor. In special cases, with Director’s approval, the supervisor may come from another university.
  • Students and their supervisors create a learning contract for approval by Program Director.
  • Maximum project word count 7500 words.

As students begin the last third of their study plan, they should begin planning how they wish to complete their MA-IS degree. For students intending to take MAIS 701, this will include identifying a topic and choosing a project supervisor (if students need help identifying a supervisor for their topic, they are encouraged to contact the MA-IS Office).

Students who wish to register for the MAIS 700 Capstone Course should review their notes from MAIS 601 and 602 and refer to the guidelines provided on the MAIS 700 website.

Students who wish to register for the MAIS 701 Final Project should review their notes from MAIS 602 on how to compose a good project proposal, and refer to the guidelines provided on the MAIS 701 website.

Submission of Completed Final Paper or Project to the MA-IS Office

Once the final project for the MAIS 701 Final Project has been graded and returned to the student by the course instructor/supervisor, students are then required to submit a clean copy to the Library's Digital Thesis and Project Room (DTPR) in a PDF file, before their final grade will be processed. Students failing to submit a copy of their graded final paper/project from MAIS 701 to the MA-IS Office will not be eligible to graduate.

*The submission of the MAIS 700 final essay to be published in the Digital Thesis and Project Room (DTPR) is optional for MAIS 700 students, but we encourage you to publish your paper in this database.

Upon receipt of comments and feedback from the supervisor/instructor, students may take an opportunity to make minor revisions to their papers or projects prior to submitting them to the DTPR (i.e. correct spelling errors, grammatical errors, minor organizational issues, etc.).

When submitting their work to the Library's Digital Thesis and Project Room (DTPR), students are required to use our MA-IS template for the title page..

In addition to the title page (in the above format), the document should include both a Table of Contents and an Abstract.

The Abstract is a key document. It is designed to accurately and effectively describe the central concerns of the paper/project, so as to lead potential readers to read the document itself. As such it needs to clearly convey the focus of your topic, its rationale, and your principal findings and conclusions.

Among many helpful online guides to writing an abstract, here is one entitled “How to Write an Abstract” by Philip Koopman of Carnegie Mellon University.

Note: It is the student's responsibility to convert his/her document to a printable PDF file (i.e. using Adobe Acrobat) prior to submitting it to the MA-IS Office. Students may access a free PDF site by going to the Adobe Acrobat website.

Students are to complete Athabasca University's online "Digital Thesis and Project Room (DTPR) Release Form", which will allow the MA-IS Office to place a copy of the final paper/project in the Athabasca University Library, in digital format, for circulation. When granting permission for Library circulation, please provide an abstract (not to exceed 300 words) summarizing the content of your paper/project.

We will also require a listing of 4-5 relevant keywords for cataloguing purposes; however, please do not include these in your paper or project. You may either post them in the "Keywords" field on the DTPR Release form, or send them in the body of an e-mail to the MA-IS Office.

To access the electronic DTPR Release Form you must contact the MA-IS Office.

For information on the overall DTPR e-submission process please visit the following website.

Remember to visit the Convocation website for details on how to apply for graduation and associated deadlines.

Updated February 08 2017 by Student & Academic Services

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