What options do I have for completing my graduate project?
You will choose either a Thesis or Capstone Project based on your personal and professional goals. The Thesis/Capstone Project counts for 6 hours in the degree plan. You should begin thinking about a possible project as soon as possible.
What types of projects can I choose?
You may choose to build upon work done in an earlier course, or choose an entirely separate topic/idea. Your options are:
Thesis option: you must complete TCOM 6390 Directed Research (3-hours) and TCOM 6391 Thesis (3-hours). You will defend your thesis at the end of the semester you plan to graduate.
Capstone Project option: you must complete TCOM 6390 Directed Research (3-hours) or TCOM 6380 Field Experience (3-hours) and TCOM 6392 Capstone Project (3-hours). You will defend your capstone project at the end of the semester you plan to graduate.
If you do not finish the thesis or capstone project within the 6 hours, you may continue to register for Thesis/Capstone hours until your project is complete.
You should discuss your idea(s) with one or more faculty members, even before you register for TCOM 6390 Directed Research.
For tips on the Thesis/Capstone process see MSTC Handbook.
Should I do a Thesis or Capstone?
Base your thesis or capstone project on your topic interest and goals.
Writing a thesis enables you to refine your research and writing skills while exploring a topic of individual interest. It also results in the production of a document which can support an application to a Ph.D. program and may have the potential for publication.
A thesis typically introduces the purpose, scope, and significance of a chosen topic; situates the topic within the context of the available literature in the field; explains the
research method employed and the rationale for the research; it examines the results of the research; and it summarizes the importance of the project.
A capstone project enables you to improve targeted employment-oriented skills. It may also result in the production of a document which can provide a significant contribution to an employment portfolio or a document which can support an application to a Ph.D. program.
This option allows you to gain practical experience in the design, management, and completion of a professional writing project (deliverable). This may include the production of a manual, public relations materials, a website, a usability assessment, or other documents for a workplace. A rationale report must accompany the document; this report explains how the document applies and reflects the production of the
deliverable for the workplace.
What Happens in Each Semester?
Directed Research Semester
You may choose to start your thesis/capstone any time after you have completed 15 hours of coursework. You need to submit a proposal to the Graduate Advisory Committee (GAC) by the fourth Monday of the Directed Research semester. In
preparing the proposal, please consider the suggested schedule for the thesis/capstone project.
The GAC has a rotating membership of four faculty members in the MSTC program. They will review your proposal and respond within 2 weeks in one of three ways:
- revise and resubmit
- rejection with suggestion to find another project
Once your project is approved and your capstone/thesis committee chair assigned, you will spend the rest of the Direct Research semester working on your project.
During this semester, you will work on your project with a goal of defending it to your full committee by the end of the semester. It is important that you keep your committee
members, especially the chair, in the loop on your work.
If you intend to defend in that semester, contact the graduate coordinator who will then assign a third member who acts as an “outside reader.” The third member will not see your earlier drafts.
It is your responsibility to fill out a
defense request form (PDF). Remember that you need to provide a complete and final draft to all of your committee members at least two weeks before the defense.
When you are ready for your final drafts, please be sure that you have followed the
formatting guidelines (PDF).
Once your final draft is approved and you have the signature page filled out, complete the
binding request form (PDF).
One or more documents on this site are in PDF format. In order to view and print these document(s), you will need the Adobe Acrobat Reader software. It can be downloaded from the Adobe website.