Atlantic Canada Studies

Graduate Program Master of Arts in Atlantic Canada Studies

Saint Mary's University offers an interdisciplinary program in Atlantic Canada Studies (ACST) that integrates the teaching and research expertise of the Atlantic Canada Studies and other faculty members from different departments in Arts, Commerce, and Science.

The program was established in 1975 in response to a clearly defined need for regional research and as a unique experiment within the growing area of Canadian studies. At the time, a study of higher education had concluded that there was a remarkable level of ignorance in Canada about the Atlantic Region.

There are sound intellectual and practical reasons for pursuing an interdisciplinary program of regional studies. It offers a unique combination of social-scientific and cultural-historical perspectives. The program takes an interdisciplinary approach to the culture, politics, economy, environment and history of the region and, as a consequence, students learn the conceptual perspectives and analytical tools of several academic disciplines in their research and study.

There are particular advantages to an interdisciplinary approach to further study. This applies, for instance, to people employed by government at various levels. It also applies to managers in public and private enterprise, members of the teaching profession, business people, policy makers, and individuals whose occupation requires them to deal with social, economic, political, or cultural problems. For many of these people, a broad understanding of the region is vital.

The general requirements for the Master's degree apply to the graduate program in ACST. Specifically, the Master's degree in ACST involves the following considerations and includes the following requirements.

  • The normal qualification for entry into the two-year Master's program is an honours degree in ACST, or a degree which the ACST Committee deems to be equivalent. At the discretion of the Committee, a student may be admitted to the program subject to the prior completion of such qualifying work as the Committee shall prescribe. Once the student has embarked full-time on the Master of Arts program, the normal goal is completion within 24 months, although in some cases thesis work may extend beyond this time period. The degree may also be taken through part-time study.  
  • The ACST Graduate Studies Coordinator will work with all Master's students from the earliest stages of their participation in the graduate program to determine the area of a thesis topic and to select a thesis supervisor. The thesis supervisor will be the Graduate Faculty Advisor for the duration of a given student's participation in the program.
  • For the Master of Arts in ACST, all students must complete an acceptable thesis. It is not possible to satisfy the requirement for a thesis by extra course work.
  • Students are expected to produce a thesis which shows both originality and the analytical-critical skills of sound research and interpretation. The topic must deal directly with an Atlantic Canada subject matter.
  • All students must present and defend a thesis before a Thesis Examining Committee. This Committee consists of a thesis supervisor, the ACST Graduate Studies Coordinator (or appointee), and a third reader acceptable to the thesis supervisor and the ACST Committee.
  • All students must complete ACST 6690.0. Credit for the course will be determined when the student satisfies the thesis supervisor that both thesis research and all other preparation for the successful handling of the thesis topic have been completed. Supervisors may require a demonstration of language competence or extra course work as preparation for the treatment of certain thesis topics. [ACST 6690.0 counts for nine (9) credit hours of the total twenty-four (24) credit hours required for the degree].
  • In addition, all students must complete ACST 5991.1(.2 ) Research Methods [three(3) credit hours]– preferably in the first semester in which they are enrolled in the program. They must also complete a  further twelve (12) credit hours of course work that includes at least nine (9) credit hours from three (3) of the four groups (A,B,C,D) listed below: (course selection must be approved by the ACST Graduate Studies Co-ordinator).


    More information and application materials can be found at this link.