MA and MES

Recommended term-by-term program of study

Term 1 (Fall)

Courses: PLAN 700, 701* (if required), 704
*Students not required to take 701 should enroll in an elective course this term instead


  • Refine thesis topic area and explore relevant literature
  • Undertake discussions and draft research question

Term 2 (Winter)

Courses: PLAN 703, 710, 720, and one elective


  • Through efforts in PLAN 710, establish research question and develop thesis proposal, including a literature review (Research Proposal Plan milestone)

Milestones: The Project Proposal Development Workshop, and Research Proposal Plan milestones will be satisfied in PLAN 710.

Internship: Develop internship strategy including resume preparation, potential professional development activities, and being searching for work placements for spring term (see note).

Term 3 (Spring)

Courses: If not doing an internship, it is advisable to take electives in this term. If doing an internship, a reading course (PLAN 675) may also be taken as an elective.


  • Plan and initiate data collection

Milestone: Internship

Term 4 (Fall)

Courses: PLAN 721, remaining electives (typically two)


  • Data collection and analysis (complete by November)
  • Begin structuring thesis document and writing

Term 5 (Winter)


  • Target for completed draft by end of term
    • Submit draft of chapters to supervisor (March-May, terms 5 and 6); supervisor provides timely feedback (turnaround of two weeks should be expected)
    • Work on revisions as required (terms 5 and 6)
    • Draft to committee member in late April (at the latest)

Term 6 (Spring)


  • Final version of thesis approved by supervisor in early June
    • If supervisor approves, send final draft of thesis to committee member for comments (May-June); committee member provides timely feedback (turnaround time of approximately two weeks)
    • Student incorporates committee member's comments, if recommended by the supervisor
  • Student and supervisor establish thesis completion logistics and timeline; identify reader
  • Supervisor contacts Graduate Program Administrator to initiate defence scheduling process (minimum 3 weeks prior to defence date); May-June defence date recommended
  • Student sends final thesis defence copy and necessary paperwork, including the MA-MES Thesis Completion Form, to Graduate Program Administrator
  • Oral defence completed and revisions as required as part of the defence decision
  • Upload approved thesis and complete formatting revisions (if required)
  • Notify Graduate Program Administrator that thesis is approved and archived; Intention to Graduate will then be submitted
    *For current tuition refund and convocation deadlines, please see the Calendar of Events & Academic Deadlines.

Elective courses

Students should consult with their supervisor(s) to determine which electives to take.

One of the electives may be a reading course (PLAN 675 - developed in consultation with supervisor/SoP faculty member and subject to approval by the Associate Director, Graduate Studies).

MES electives must be selected from a list of environmental/quantitative courses.


Students without prior work experience in planning are required to complete an internship during term 3 (spring). Students are responsible for locating suitable employment or volunteer opportunities on their own. However, the Partnership Coordinator and the Associate Director, Graduate Studies, will connect with students regularly to help identify opportunities and provide guidance throughout the internship process.

Research in Planning

35 new PhD positions available.