Major Research Paper


Submission of the Major Research Paper (MRP) topic and supervisor for first year students: Tuesday, March 1st, 2022 at 4:30pm to the GSPIA's secretariat (this deadline does not apply to students admitted to the part-time program who must submit this document at the latest, at the beginning of the last semester of their program).

MRP deadline for second year students:

Term Fall 2021 Winter 2022 Spring/Summer 2022
Research proposal To be determined by the supervisor To be determined by the supervisor To be determined by the supervisor
MRP draft October 27, 2021, 4:30pm February 16, 2022, 4:30pm June 15 2022, 3:30pm
MRP final copy November 16, 2021, 4:30pm March 16, 2022, 4:30pm July 13, 2022, 3:30pm
MRP Evaluation January 12, 2022, 4:30pm April 20, 2022, 4:30pm August 17, 2022, 3:30pm
Revisions deadline if necessary To be determined by the Administration To be determined by the Administration To be determined by the Administration


General information

During the major research paper (MRP), the student must show the ability to work independently in a scholarly manner. The MRP does not have to make a significant original contribution to academic knowledge of the subject, but it must display extensive research and independent analysis. Students must demonstrate a comprehensive knowledge and understanding of the literature relating to the topic. Use of original data or primary sources is not required, but may be done where necessary. The subject of the major research paper must fit within the parameters of public and international affairs. Supervisors will be able to advise whether chosen topics are appropriate.

First Year

Submission of the Research Paper topic and appointment of research supervisor

Students should begin consulting with faculty in the fall semester of their first year on possible major research paper topics.

They will be provided with a form named Registration of Research Paper Topic and Appointment of Research Supervisor in the middle of the winter semester of the first year on which they must indicate their chosen topic and their supervisor of choice. They must then obtain the signature of the supervisor, indicating that s/he agrees to take on that role, and return the completed form to the School’s office.

Students may ask regular faculty members from any department within all the Faculties of the University of Ottawa to act as their supervisor; part time professors and senior fellows can’t act as supervisor nor second reader.

Important Message
Information IconStudents must submit the registration form before March 1st  at 4:30 pm. Those who do not submit the form, a severe condition will be added to their file blocking online registration for the next semester until they’ve submitted this form to the GSPIA’s secretariat.

Should the student change either his/her supervisor or the topic of the Major Research Paper, s/he must inform the School’s office immediately by submitting the completed form named Change of Major Research Paper topic and/or research supervisor. This form needs to be signed by the previous and the new supervisor.

Second Year

Registration to the Major Research Paper (API 6999)

Once the students have begun work on the major research paper they are required to register to the MRP (API 6999) and to maintain their registration every session until completion of all program requirements. The only exception to this rule applies to the session in which a student is doing an embassy internship abroad or is in a COOP placement. The following semester the student must resume registration to the MRP until the submission of the final copy.

The MRP must be submitted to the academic unit by the deadline corresponding to the session, at the latest. Thus, if they have not submitted their document before the deadline they must register for the following session (see Table deadlines).

Once registered in the major research paper, students must consult regularly with their supervisor.

Research proposal

Students (registered or not to the major research paper), must submit a research proposal to the MRP supervisor who will determine a date to do so during the fall semester of their second year of study.

The proposal should outline the research question and its importance, specify the proposed sources, and state the methodology or analytical approach the student intends to use (one to two pages).

Should the student subsequently change his/her topic, s/he must submit a new formal research proposal.


One month before the final submission of the MRP (see Table deadlines); the student must submit a first complete electronic version of the MRP to the supervisor by email ensuring that a copy of the email is sent to the GSPIA’s secretariat ( to certify compliance with the deadline. No extension will be granted.

Late submissions—even being a few minutes late—will not be accepted and signify failure of the MRP submission process. The student will have to register for another semester in order to re-submit the draft within the deadline.

The draft of the major research paper will usually be about 50 pages in length, double-spaced, including footnotes, endnotes, tables and figures, but excluding bibliography and appendices. The structure and content should follow prior discussions between the student and supervisor, and should closely reflect the structure and content of the final copy.

Final copy

A student may not submit their MRP until all program requirements have been completed before or during the session of the final submission. In addition, the MRP final copy cannot be submitted without the Statement of Research Major Paper supervisor form signed by the supervisor and stating that the final MRP submission is allowed.Once this has been signed, students should submit to the school only an electronic copy (PDF or Word documents are accepted, no separate appendices) to prior to the deadline, date and time, specified by the Graduate School of Public and International Affairs. This form must be submitted (hard copy or electronic copy) to the School’s secretariat no later than on the final submission deadline.

The final version of the Major research papers should include, in addition to the criteria required for the draft, a title page, a table of contents, a one-page abstract, and a complete bibliography. The format of papers may vary according to the academic discipline in question. It is expected that most papers, including theoretical papers, will consist of policy relevant research or policy analysis.

Please note that late submissions will not be accepted and signify failure of the MRP submission process.

The student will have to register for another semester to complete the program.”

Furthermore, no extension will be granted. The only possible exception is a one week extension only under valid extenuating circumstances occurring shortly before a deadline (serious illness, death of a family member or medical emergency involving a close family member with a valid medical or death certificate).  

Otherwise, the penalties associated with late submissions are strictly enforced. This policy aims to reinforce the essential employability skill of time management, while ensuring that all students are treated equitably and do not gain an unfair advantage by choosing to submit their work late.


At the time of registration of the MRP topic and appointment of research supervisor, the student and the supervisor must suggest up to three potential second readers on the appropriate form.

The supervisor and one other reader assigned by the program coordinator mark the major research paper. The second reader receives the MRP without any student’s identification, and the identity of the second reader remains anonymous.

Students will be assessed on the quality, accuracy, and originality of the analysis, the logic of their organization, the extent of the research conducted for the paper and the relevance of the material used, and the clarity and correctness of expression.

Both professors have 3 weeks after the submission of the final copy to submit their grades.

  1. A numerical grade on a total of 100 points is awarded by the supervisor and second reader. When the 2 grades have a difference of 20 points or less, an average will be calculated and the corresponding alpha grade will be entered in the student's file. See the grading Scheme in the useful links on this page.
  2. A numerical grade on a total of 100 points is awarded by the supervisor and second reader. When the 2 grades have a difference of 21 points or more, a third reader will be assigned. The latter will have two weeks to assess the MRP. The corresponding alpha grade of the calculated average of the 3 grades received will be entered in the student's file.
  3. If the student receives an average grade of 60 to 64% s/he will have 9 working days to implement requested revisions and submit the revised electronic copy only to the supervisor for a re-evaluation. This copy should be sent to the supervisor by e-mail ensuring that a copy of the email is sent to the GSPIA’s secretariat ( to certify compliance with the revisions deadline. If the supervisor deems the MRP acceptable then the student will have a passing grade of C+.
  4. If the average grade is lower than 60% and therefore does not meet the minimum requirements of the program, the student must absolutely register to the MRP in the following semester, revise extensively the MRP and submit it again within the deadlines. All submission steps must then be followed from the start, beginning with the submission of the draft.
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