Streams & Progression

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The MA in Popular Music & Culture offers three options:

  • Coursework with Thesis
    Requires a thesis proposal and defence.

  • Coursework with Creative Project
    The Creative Project option provides students with an opportunity to undertake a variety of creative work as part of the program. Projects may focus on recording, composing, arranging, and related fields, or any combination of these areas. The creative component may be accompanied by a 25-page paper, which supports and elucidates the work, or an equivalent submission determined by the candidate in consultation with his/her adviser.

  • Coursework with Viva Voce Examination
    The Coursework with Viva Voce examination option is for those students who either do not wish to purse a thesis or Creative Project or who do not have an approved thesis or creative project proposal by July 1 of Year 1. This option is anticipated to take five terms of full-time study.  Full-time students who require a sixth term to complete the program do not receive funding for the sixth term.

Progression milestones

Coursework with Thesis

YEAR 1

Fall Term
  • PMC 9700: Interdisciplinary Foundations of Media Theory (required)
  • PMC 9701: Introduction to Popular Music Studies (required)
  • Optional: One PMC elective toward two completed electives in Year 1

Winter Term
  • PMC 9702: Listening to Popular Music (required)
  • One or two PMC electives toward two completed electives in Year 1
  • Selection of Thesis Supervisor and Second Reader
  • Meetings with Thesis Advisory Committee to discuss thesis area and the development of the proposal
  • Students wishing to take courses external to the PMC program must fill out the External Courses request form available on the FIMS Intranet and submit it to their supervisor for approval.

Summer Term
  • Approval of the Thesis Proposal by July 1
  • Submission of Ethics Protocol to FIMS Research Committee in the case of all research topics involving human subjects.
  • Thesis research and writing (one draft chapter or equivalent is due by October 31 of the second year of the program.)
  • June 1: Last day to submit Draft Thesis Proposal (12-20 double-spaced pages)
  • June 15: Submission of a Revised Draft of the Thesis Proposal to Thesis Supervisor and Second Reader (Thesis Advisory Committee)
  • July 1: Last day to receive approval of a Thesis Proposal by the Supervisor and Second Reader. The candidate may not proceed to Year 2 without having achieved this milestone.  Students without an approved proposal by July 1 will automatically be placed in the Coursework option. Upon approval of the Thesis Proposal it will be recorded that the student has completed PMC 9708
  • Begin work on Masters Thesis

It is the joint responsibility of the student and Advisory Committee to determine appropriate deadlines so that there is sufficient time for the student to receive feedback and make revisions, and so that the student’s work can be received and reviewed by Committee members in a timely fashion.

YEAR 2

Fall Term
  • Thesis research and writing
  • Sept. 15: The student must submit either one draft chapter of the thesis or a comparable written component between September 15 and October 31. In addition, the student must provide his/her supervisor with a timeline for thesis completion, detailing when the various stages of the thesis (such as textual analyses of data, transcriptions, recordings, or data collection) will be completed, if not already provided in the thesis proposal

Winter Term
  • Thesis research and final editing before submission to Supervisor and Second Reader
  • Completion of any editing or revisions required by the Supervisor and Second Reader
  • Early April: Submissions of thesis. Thesis students are responsible for ascertaining the final date for thesis submission set by the School of Graduate and Postdoctoral Studies, which occurs on slightly different dates from year to year.  Information on this date, and on other important thesis submission requirements is available at www.grad.uwo.ca/current_students/thesis_regulations/section_5.htm
  • Defense at an oral examination no later than April 30

Summer Term (Not Funded)
  • Completion of any editing or revisions required by the Supervisor and Second Reader, OR
  • Submission of thesis and defense at an oral examination*

*The maximum registration period for completing a Master's degree is three calendar years from initial registration. If the thesis has not been defended by the end of the third year, the student will be required to withdraw from the program. Once withdrawn, the student will have two years from the date of withdrawal to hand in a readily defensible thesis requiring no further revisions. During the period of the withdrawal, the student will have no access to the Chief Supervisor or members of his/her supervisory committee. After two years from the date of withdrawal, it is very unlikely that a thesis would be considered for defense. Visit the SGPS website for the most up-to-date regulations.

Creative Project

Students without an approved creative project proposal by July 1 of Year 1 will be placed in the Coursework with Viva Voce Examination option.

YEAR 1

Fall Term

  • PMC 9700: Interdisciplinary Foundations of Media Theory (required)
  • PMC 9701: Introduction to Popular Music Studies (required)
  • Optional: One PMC elective toward two completed electives in Year 1

Winter Term

  • PMC 9702: Listening to Popular Music (required)
  • One or two PMC electives toward two completed electives in Year 1
  • Selection of Creative Project Supervisor
  • Commencement of Planning Meetings with Supervisor to develop and refine a suitably focused research program, and to identify and locate necessary pre-production resources.  See the proposal guidelines in the PMC Handbook for more information

Important Note:  In considering potential supervisors, students should be careful to determine that the faculty member has the appropriate supervisory status, and the capacity to advise on practical matters.

Students wishing to take courses external to the PMC program must fill out the External Courses request form available on the FIMS Intranet and submit it to their supervisor for approval.


Summer Term

June 1: Last day to submit draft Creative Project Proposal (12-15 double-spaced pages)

June 15: Submission of a Revised Draft of the Creative Project Proposal to the student's adviser and second reader.

July 1: Last day to receive approval of a Creative Project Proposal by the adviser and Second Reader. The candidate may not proceed to Year 2 without having achieved this milestone. Students without an approved proposal by July 1 will automatically be placed in the Coursework with Viva Voce option. Upon approval of the Thesis Proposal it will be recorded that the student has completed PMC 9706.


It is the joint responsibility of the student and Advisory Committee to determine appropriate deadlines so that there is sufficient time for the student to receive feedback and make revisions, and so that the student’s work can be received and reviewed by Committee members in a timely fashion.

YEAR 2

Fall Term

  • Execution and completion of Proposed Creative Project

Winter Term

  • February 15: Last day to submit complete draft of completed Creative Project to supervisor
  • April 5: Last day to submit Revised Creative Project to Creative Project Supervisor and Second Reader (Creative Project Advisory Committee)
  • April 30: Last day for approval of Creative Project by Creative Project Supervisor and Second Reader (Creative Project Advisory Committee)


Summer Term (Not Funded)

  • Students requiring an extra semester have until August 15 for revised Creative Project approval
  • August 15: Last day for revised Creative Project approval

Coursework with Viva Voce

YEAR 1

Fall Term
  • PMC 9700: Interdisciplinary Foundations of Media Theory (required)
  • PMC 9701: Introduction to Popular Music Studies (required)

Winter Term
  • PMC 9702: Listening to Popular Music (required)
  • One PMC elective

Summer Term
  • One elective.  Students wishing to take courses external to the PMC program must fill out the External Courses request form available on the FIMS Intranet and submit it to their supervisor for approval.

    July 1: Students in Thesis and Creative Project options will be moved to the Viva Voce option on this date if they have not met the milestones listed in their respective programs above.

YEAR 2

Fall Term
  • Fall 2012: Two electives. NB: These must be chosen by the end of the first week of graduate classes in September.
  • Essay revisions for the Viva Voce examination may commence

Winter Term
  • Second Viva Voce examiner is appointed
  • Essay revisions for the Viva Voce examination are completed
  • Viva Voce examination
  • Revisions if needed

Summer Term (Not Funded) 
  • Viva Voce examination (if not undertaken in Winter Term)
It is the joint responsibility of the student and her/his supervisor to determine appropriate deadlines so that there is sufficient time for the student to receive feedback and make revisions, and so that the student's work can be received and reviewed in a timely fashion.

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