Thesis or Scholarly Practice Advancement Research Project (SPAR) Planning


Planning for Your Thesis or SPAR project

All theses and SPAR projects will require a supervisor. Students are therefore encouraged to identify a potential supervisor early on in their program. As a step up to the identification of a permanent supervisor, students will be assigned a provisional advisor from the start of the program.

View faculty eligible to supervise

Thesis Option vs. Non-Thesis Option

Both options provide students with an opportunity to conduct original scholarly work.


The thesis course (NURS 599) focuses on the advancement of nursing knowledge and practice within a variety of areas by emphasizing skill development in research. A range of courses in the foundations of advanced nursing knowledge and practice, evidence and research appraisal, and research design and methodology are available to support thesis work and consolidate students’ learning. The NURS 599 Thesis (9 credits) builds on previous course work.

Please note: The MSN NURS 599 Thesis Oral Defence has been approved by the School of Nursing Graduate Curriculum Committee and Caucus and the Faculty of Graduate and Postdoctoral Studies Curriculum Committee. For more information on this please see this announcement distributed on October 13, 2017. 

NURS 599 Thesis Guidelines

NURS 599 Thesis Oral Defence Procedure Guidelines

NURS 599 Thesis Completion Checklist

NURS 599 Thesis Approval Form

Looking for inspiration for NURS 599? Go through examples of past MSN theses!


The Scholarly Practice Advancement Research project (SPAR, NURS 595) is an original piece of scholarship that builds on knowledge and skills students have acquired from coursework. It draws on accepted research and synthesis methodologies to address issues relevant to the discipline of nursing, including clinical, educational, leadership, health policy, or health administrative domains. A range of courses is available for students to consolidate their learning, including core, focus and research. As well as practicum and project options prior to engaging in the SPAR. The NURS 595 SPAR (3 credits) builds on previous course work.

Reference links:

NURS 595 SPAR Guidelines​

NURS 595 SPAR Completion Checklist

Looking for inspiration for NURS 595? Go through examples of past SPAR projects!


Some Important Considerations until Program Completion

Maintaining Registration

When you are not enrolled in courses you must maintain your registration by registering in the thesis (NURS 599) or a SPAR project (NURS 595) (this includes the summer session). Normally students are enrolled in NURS 599 thesis credits from the beginning of the program.

Contact with Your Supervisor

You must keep in regular contact with your provisional advisor or thesis or SPAR Project supervisor, at least every three months, and notify him or her of your progress.

Term Progress Reports

Students that are beginning the MSN program after September 2012, are required to submit a Term Progress Report at the start of each semester. Term Progress Reports must be uploaded into the Student Tracking System by the end of the first month of a new semester (e.g. September 30, January 30, May 30). 


UBC Policies for Thesis/SPAR Writing

Students are expected to conform to UBC Policy #85 - Scholarly Integrity & Policy for their thesis and SPAR work. All students must complete a memorandum of understanding related to intellectual property with their supervisors, which is jointly signed.

For thesis work, students are expected to conform with UBC Policy #89 – Research Involving Human Subjects