Guidelines and Forms

Time Limits

All requirements for graduate degrees must be fulfilled within the specified number of terms for the program. Terms in which students are registered as Leave of Absence, Maternity Leave, External or No Course Available are not included in these time limits. Continuous registration at York University must be maintained, even during the summers.

Language Requirement

Although there is no foreign language requirement for the MA and MFA in Dance and the PhD in Dance Studies, any supervisor or supervisory committee may require the student to demonstrate a reading knowledge of languages needed to use the major primary and secondary sources relevant to the student’s research.

No Course Available

Students who have not yet completed their course work may petition to register as No Course Available (NCA) if no suitable course is offered in any given term. This provision does not apply if a student is registered as working on a thesis or a major research paper, or has a grade of “I” (incomplete) recorded for a course.

Directed Reading Courses

The Graduate Programs in Dance and Dance Studies offer Directed Reading courses in both full and half-course versions. Directed Reading courses are primarily intended to facilitate independent but closely supervised study of subjects not covered elsewhere in the Program’s course offerings, but relevant to a student’s research interests. The following procedures for the proposal and approval of a Directed Reading course must be followed:

Responsibility for the course design lies with the student, although faculty will assist by offering both bibliographic advice and suggestions regarding appropriate work plans and projects. A proposal for a Directed Reading course for the fall term must be submitted to the Graduate Executive Committee via the Program Assistant or Graduate Program Director by the end of the first week of September. For a Winter term course, the proposal must be submitted by the end of the first week of December. For a summer term course., the proposal must be submitted by the end of the first week of May. The proposal should consist of the following:

  • Description of the subject/s or material/s to be studied and an explanation of the relevance these have for your proposed research. This description should be one or two pages in length.
  • Bibliography and/or filmography as relevant to the subject matter.
  • Work plan indicating an approximate schedule of work, as well as the nature of projects, note-taking to be done, and meetings with your supervisor. While there is more flexibility in the meetings with your Directed Reading course supervisor than there is with other course offerings, we strongly recommend that you are in contact no less than every 2-3 weeks.
  • Indication of the means by which you recommend that your work be evaluated.
  • Signature from the faculty member you propose to work with. This signature indicates support for the project as proposed and agreement to supervise and evaluate the work.

The members of the Graduate Executive will meet within one week of the deadlines for submitting proposals. Proposals may be approved, rejected, or conditionally approved pending revisions to the work plan, reference list, or means of evaluation.

Directed Reading course numbers are occasionally used to enable an MA or MFA student to take a relevant fourth-year undergraduate course. In this case, the graduate student is expected to complete the undergraduate work as well as some additional work (usually additional reading and a larger term project/essay) to justify the graduate-level credit. The undergraduate course director would normally act as supervisor for the Directed Reading course. If the undergraduate course director is not a member of the graduate faculty, the Directed Reading course must be co-supervised by a member of the graduate faculty.

Leave of Absence

In exceptional circumstances students may petition the Associate Dean of Graduate Studies, with the prior approval of the Graduate Program Director concerned, to be granted a leave of absence (LOA) from the University for a period of time not to exceed one year. Such students will be required to maintain continuous registration and pay the appropriate fees.

Maternity Leave

On request to the Associate Dean of Graduate Studies, through the Graduate Program Director, students may obtain a maternity leave, not to exceed one year. Such students will be required to maintain continuous registration and pay the appropriate fees.

Grades, Appeals and Petitions

To continue in the Program, graduate students are expected to produce work in all courses with at least a grade of B. One C is permissible in the MA (please refer to FGS Calendar for further information).

Grades are forwarded to the Registrar’s Office no later than 15 January for fall-term courses, 15 May for winter-term courses and 15 September for summer-term courses. It is the student’s responsibility to ensure that all work is completed by the deadlines set by the course director, or to request alternate arrangements before the deadline. After these dates a grade of “F” will be entered on the official transcript.

Grades of “Incomplete'”(I) may be reported when a student's course work is not completed and evaluated by the appropriate grade reporting dates, on approval by the Graduate Program Director. Students may carry at most two full incomplete courses. The FGS rules for “extensions” apply to “incompletes.” That is, a student must obtain written permission from the instructor to complete work after the course ends and a deadline for the final submission of work must be clearly specified. Please note that a grade of “I” must be removed within two months of the reporting date for a half-course or within four months of the reporting date for a full-course. If the grade of “I” is not removed by the end of the specified period, it will become a grade of “F.”

Note: Petitions for extension of incomplete deadlines, No Course Available or change of status in the Program (Leave of Absence etc.) may be made through the office of the Graduate Program Director to the Associate Dean of the Faculty of Graduate Studies. The appropriate forms are available from the Graduate Program Assistant.

Withdrawal from Courses

Students may withdraw from a course provided that not more than two-thirds of the course has been given. After this, students shall remain registered and will be assigned grades as appropriate. The symbol (W) (withdrew in good standing) will be recorded to indicate that the student was authorized to withdraw from the course in which he/she was registered.

Withdrawal from the Program

To voluntarily withdraw from the Program you must submit a letter to the Graduate Program Director. The effective date of withdrawal will be the date your letter is received. Please note that simply dropping courses or failing to come to campus is not recognized as being officially withdrawn and as such you would still be responsible to pay tuition and other associated fees.

Letters of Recommendation and Introduction

Faculty are happy to provide letters of recommendation and introduction to graduate students. When requesting letters, please remember to provide in writing the name of addressee, the complete address, key points that should be mentioned and any other information that will help us write effective letters on your behalf. In consideration of faculty members’ schedules, a request should be made well in advance and never less than one week before the date required. Requesting letter to be written within a day or two is an imposition.

Email Policy

Students, faculty and staff are expected to use York University email addresses for all university related communication. The grad program distributes many official messages and important reminders by email. It is your responsibility to check regularly for such messages. Often when an individual raises a key question, the Program responds with a message to all students.

Auditing Dance Technique Courses

Graduate students may audit studio/theory undergraduate courses free of charge. If you wish to participate in a technique class on a regular basis, please contact the course instructor to ensure that the class is an appropriate level for you. Once you have decided on the classes you plan to attend on a regular basis, please contact the Administrative Assistant for further details. Drop-in participation is not allowed.

Dance Studios

The department has eight dance studios which are available for use by students. Studios must be booked at least three days in advance. All students are requested to read carefully the policy and procedures for studio bookings so as not to inconvenience fellow students.

Booking Studios

Graduate students in Dance may book dance studios (rehearsal space only) at no charge. Bookings and usage are subject to the following terms: graduate students may book space, in slots of up to two hours (maximum 4 hours/week) for a two-week in advance period. Weekend studio space must be booked by Thursday of the week involved. To book space, phone (416) 736-5137 or go to Room 301 ACE. The dance department must be informed three days in advance of any cancellations. Repeated failure to do so will result in loss of studio access.  Though we will strive to avoid doing so, situations may arise that require the cancellation of studio bookings. In all such cases every attempt will be made to find alternate studio space.

Studio Policies

Studio floors and equipment are valuable resources and expensive to repair. Please help take care of them. Only dance shoes are to be worn in the studios; street shoes and boots are not allowed. Black chairs are for performance and teaching use only. Pianos are to be used by Dance Department musicians only. The occupant who has booked studio space will be responsible for any loss or damage to the studio and equipment housed therein.

Guidelines and Procedures for MA Research Proposals

The MA Major Research Paper or Project (MRP) is a modest-scale essay or project developed by the student working under the supervision of a member of the graduate faculty in dance. Papers should be between 30 and 60 pages in length, including documentation, and demonstrate the student's ability to undertake original research. This option may take other forms than a written paper, such as a reconstruction or practical project, documented by notation or videotape and explained in a short written document; an annotated bibliography; or a portfolio of critical writing. The MRP may be done in conjunction with a course or independently of any course under agreed-upon supervision. (Students may not submit the same paper to fulfil course requirements and the MRP option.) MRPs should be based on meaningful and manageable question or set of questions. Full-time students wishing to write an MRP should discuss possible topics with their advisors within their first term in the Program

The Thesis or Thesis Project is a larger-scale presentation based on more extensive research than the MRP. Theses are developed by the student working with a supervisory committee consisting of two members of the graduate faculty in dance: one primary and one secondary supervisor. Written theses should be between 75 and 100 pages of text in length and demonstrate the student's ability to undertake original research. This option may take forms other than a written thesis, such as a reconstruction or practical project documented by notation or videotape and explained in a written document, a portfolio of critical writing; or an annotated bibliography. These should be based on meaningful and manageable question or set of questions. Full-time students wishing to write a thesis should discuss possible topics with their first term in the Program.

Deadline to submit thesis and MRP proposals (including title, preliminary outline, bibliography and ethics forms) to the Program Director:

March 1 for full-time MA1 students wishing to write a thesis
March 31 for full-time MA1 students whishing to write an MRP
After four half courses have been completed for part-time students wishing to write a thesis or an MRP

The Program assumes that full-time students who do not submit a proposal by one of these deadlines intended to complete the MA by the course work option. The Program Director and the two faculty members on the Graduate Executive will read proposals and determine appropriate supervisors no later than the end of April. Normally full-time students should complete the MRP or thesis within a calendar year after the proposal has been approved

Writers of MRPs and Theses should follow the FGS Guidelines for the preparation and Examination of These and Dissertations for details on title page, format and usage: Models for title page, abstract, table of contents, etc., are available from the Program office. Copyright and certificate pages are not prepared for MRPs.

Submissions and evaluations procedures for completed theses are fully explained in the FGS Calendar, and submissions deadlines are indicated in the Calendar’s schedule for each academic year. Completed MRPs also should be submitted in accordance with the published FGS thesis deadlines, in order to allow time for the supervisor and a second reader to evaluate the work. The second reader will be appointed by the Graduate Program Director in consultation with the supervisor. The two readers must agree either to accept or reject the work, and they may request the correction of specified errors before final acceptance. In that case, it is the supervisor’s responsibility to confirm that changes have been made. The reader’s recommendation (accept/reject) is submitted to the Program Director, who will inform the student of the decision. Two corrected final copies of the MRP including an abstract are then deposited with the MA Program in Dance.

Students should complete Thesis and MRPs during the Fall or Winter terms of the regular academic year (September through May). Work to be submitted for FGS September deadlines should therefore be finalized by the end of May unless an alternative plan is negotiated by the student, supervisor and the Program Director.

Schedule for Developing and Completing the Major Research Paper (MRP) or Thesis

Fall Year 1
First-year students consult with a graduate faculty advisor about possible topics and identify out-of-program graduate faculty who might serve as resource people or as committee members. Arrange to meet these people to discuss your interests.

Winter Year 1
Students planning to do a thesis or MRP write a research proposal including bibliography and if needed, ethics forms and procedures. Models of previously approved proposals are available from the Program office. While you prepare your proposal, you should meet with the graduate faculty advisor assigned to help you. For full-time students, proposals are due to the Program Director by March 1 for theses and March 31 for MRPs. Members of the Graduate Executive Committee will review proposals and assign official supervisors, notifying students no later than April 30. Students doing a thesis need to organize a meeting with full committee to obtain final approval before the thesis proposal can be forwarded to the Faculty of Graduate Studies for official approval.

Summer Year 1
Meet with your supervisor in May to plan summer work. Research/fieldwork should be carried out according to approved plans

Fall-Winter Year 2
Writing and completion of thesis or MRP, including oral examinations for thesis writers, should occur between September and March for students who expect to complete degree requirements in time for June Convocation.

To support this schedule, the Program only approves Incompletes for course work for medical reasons and for very short periods. The program assumes that full-time students who do not submit a proposal by the March deadlines intend to complete the MA via the course work option.


Faculty of Graduate Studies Policies and Procedures

The regulations of the Faculty of Graduate Studies generally apply to all students enrolled in graduate programs at York University. In a number of instances individual graduate programs have additional requirements; these are set out in the FGS Academic Regulations.