Major Research Paper

Completion of a Major Research Paper (MRP) is required. The Major Research Paper will focus on an open problem in Mathematics, which could be theoretical or applied in nature and must be defended before an Examination Committee.

Students in the MRP route will complete 24 credits within one year of initial registration. 

To learn more about the MRP Option Requirements, please consult the most recent version of the Academic Calendar


All MRP/Thesis research involving human subjects must be approved by the Research Ethics Board (REB) before the research may start.

This pertains to all students, faculty or staff conducting research at Nipissing University. This also includes research on campus by individuals or organizations that are not Nipissing University affiliated, while on campus, using University facilities, equipment or resources.

The Nipissing University Research Services website will provide all the forms and resource materials needed to submit an ethics protocol for review, here.

Additional information regarding Ethics at Nipissing University is available from Martee Storms, ext 4055.

MRP Proposals

Students must have their MRP proposals approved by their Supervisory Committee prior to proceeding with their research.  The research proposal may be in the form of an oral presentation or a written report, and the Research Supervisor will advise on which proposal method to use.

Proposal Tips

The Research Supervisor is responsible for providing proposal preparation details and requirements.  The following is an overview of some general proposal writing tips for specific questions please contact your Research Supervisor.

Purpose of a Proposal:

The purpose of the MRP/Thesis proposal is to convince your program that:

  • there is a need for the research; it is significant and important;
  • you are contributing something interesting;
  • the topic is feasible in terms of availability of funding, equipment, supervisors, and data;
  • The research can be completed in the expected time period. Usually 15 weeks from the proposal approval for full-time candidates.
  • The topic matches your interests and capabilities.
  • Provide a substantial overview of some problems in mathematics, it may also present a new way of approaching solutions of some problems.

How should I structure the proposal?

The following are recommended sections for your MRP/Thesis proposal. Please check with your supervisors for optional sections, variations and additional sections that may be required.

Routine Information

This can be a full cover page or a quarter page header.

  • Name
  • Address, telephone and email details
  • Degree for which you are a candidate
  • Supervisor’s and co-supervisor’s names
  • MRP/Thesis proposal title
  • Date

Statement of Topic

Introduce the audience to the general subject area and how your topic is related. Briefly point out why it is a significant topic and what contribution your work will make.

Goals of the MRP/Thesis

Set out specific objectives of the research.

Review of the literature

This, together with the following section on the theoretical orientation, will be the main substance of the proposal and will be the basis for discussions of your methods and your total research program.

The literature review should explain the relation of your topic and research goals to significant literature and recent (and current) research in your field. The form of the literature review may vary according to the nature of the field: experimental, philosophical, theoretical, comparative, etc., but its purpose will be the same in all fields. 

The literature review should place your proposed research topic clearly in its relevant research context, and should demonstrate your awareness of significant similar or relevant research.

You may need to make qualitative judgments concerning the literature.

Be careful not to allow the evaluation of previous work to become a large open-ended task. You should consult with your supervisors on the types of questions you need to be asking and what boundaries you should place on your literature review. In one sense the literature review for the proposal is incomplete. You will continue to expand and update the literature as your research progresses and as you locate new publications. The final literature review will be included in your MRP/Thesis.

MRP Proposal Approval

The research proposal must be approved by the student’s supervisory committee before they continue with their MRP research.  Students receive proposal approval using the MRP/Thesis/Dissertation Proposal Form.

First MRP Submission

Font size must be a minimum of 11 points and preferably Arial. You may use a smaller font size for graphs, formulas, and appendices.

  • The spacing of the printed lines must be at least one-and-a-half spaces, on one side of the paper only. Formatting style should follow the latest version of the American Mathematical Society’s Guidelines (see sample references)
  • The preferred location for footnotes is at the bottom of the page.
  • The size of the pages should be 8 ½” X 11” (21.5 cm X 28 cm), the text reading across the 8 ½” (21.5 cm) dimension.
  • The left-hand margin should be at least 1 ¼” (32 mm), and the remaining three margins should be at least ¾” (20mm) to the main text.
  • For questions not answered in these guidelines, you are urged to consult your Research Supervisor and to use your discretion in maintaining a consistent style.

Check that all pages are present, in sequence, and correctly numbered. Every page in the MRP must be numbered, except for the title page and the Certificate of Examination.

The preliminary portion of the paper should be numbered with small Roman numerals placed in the centre of the page, about half an inch from the bottom. Numbering begins with the Abstract as iv. The Title Page, MRP Signature Page and the Author’s Declaration page count as pages i, ii, and iii respectively, but the number does not appear. 

Preferred placement of the Arabic numerals is in the upper right-hand corner (about half an inch from each edge), including the first page of the reference or bibliography and appendices.

The accepted order within the preliminary sections of the paper is as follows:

  • Title page 
  • Abstract
    • Acknowledgements (where applicable)
    • Table of Contents
    • List of Tables (where applicable)
    • List of Plates (where applicable)
    • List of Figures (where applicable)
    • List of Appendices (where applicable)
  • Introduction

The remainder of the MRP, starting with the first page of the introduction should be numbered with Arabic numerals starting with number one (1) and on from there.

Illustrations, Photographs, Charts, Graphs, Maps, and Tables

For information regarding formatting of graphics such as illustrations, charts, graphs and tables, please refer to the American Mathematical Society’s document “Creating Graphics for use in Books and Journals”.

If copyrighted material is included in the MRP (such as questionnaires, graphs, tables, maps, illustrations, web pages etc.), the student must submit a letter of permission from the copyright holder (i.e. the creator) granting permission to use their material. 


All materials copied from web sites are considered to be copyrighted unless a statement on the site explicitly says otherwise, in which case a copy of that public domain statement must be submitted with your MRP. Failure to include proof of public domain or a permission letter from the copyright holder is a serious offence. 

This letter of permission should be addressed to the student and a copy should be included at the back of each submitted MRP. Referencing or citing the material in the MRP is not sufficient. MRP with outstanding copyright infractions will not be accepted until corrected by the student.

The student is responsible obtaining a letter of permission early on in the process or this could delay the submission of their final copy of the MRP.


All MRP must have an abstract included. The following technical guidelines must be followed:

  • Font size must be a minimum of 10 points and 10-15 characters per inch and the lines of text must be double-spaced, on one side of the paper only.
  • The size of the page(s) should be 8 ½” x 11” (21.5 cm x 28 cm), the text reading across the 8 ½” (21.5 cm) dimension.
  • The left-hand margin should be at least 1 ¼” (32 mm), and the remaining three margins at least ¾” (20 mm) to the main text.
  • Symbols, as well as foreign words and phrases, must be clearly and accurately displayed.
  • Do not include graphs, charts, tables, or illustrations in the abstract.

MRP first submission process

The student’s Supervisory Committee should approve the MRP before the formal submission to the SGS.  Once approved, the student should send a digital copy of their MRP in PDF format to the School of Graduate Studies via email (  

Once the MRP is received, the SGS will distribute the document to the members of the Examination Committee for review prior to the Defence.

The submitted copy must include a title page and must be presented to the SGS before the stated deadline