Thesis/Project

photo of two students working togetherAs the culminating experience in the Applied Behavioral Science (ABS) Criminal Justice and Social Problems track the student may select the writing of either a traditional thesis or a project.

A traditional thesis is a formally presented research work in the form of an approximately 80 to 100 page master's thesis. The outline of the thesis in the form of a prospectus must meet prior approval by a three-person thesis committee and the program director before the student can register for thesis hours. The student must register in total for six hours of thesis credit. These six hours need not all be taken in the same quarter. The thesis must conform to the guidelines issued by the Graduate School of the university. (A handbook explaining these guidelines may be requested from the Graduate School.) A thesis is only considered completed after a successful oral defense, approval from the student's thesis committee and the program director, and acceptance by the Graduate School.

The project is an applied research work. The student must register for a total of six credit hours of project work. The project topic must be approved in advance by the project director and the program director. Approval will be based on a project proposal. Although the project format is different from a traditional thesis, the project is designed to be a rigorous academic achievement that draws on the knowledge and skills obtained by the student in the seminars, workshops, and other required and elective program activities.

The following guidelines should guide the student in the development and execution of the project. Although exceptions can be made to these guidelines, the burden is on the student to delineate, justify and propose any alternatives to them. Minor exceptions will be reviewed by the program director; major exceptions must take the form of a petition submitted to the program committee.

Project Guidelines

  1. The project may be based on quantitative or qualitative data of a quality generally acceptable in the social sciences.
  2. The project may take the form of a case study or a comparative study.
  3. The project must present the applied/practical use of its conclusions and indicate implications for further research.
  4. Projects will be presented in the format of a social science journal article. (Accordingly, they will normally contain, in order: an academic title, an abstract, a statement of the research problem, a literature review, a statement of methodology, a summary of quantitative and/or qualitative data, conclusions drawn from data, and applied implications.)
  5. The particular journal being used as a stylistic model must be approved by the program director.
  6. Citations, notes and references must be in a style generally acceptable in the social sciences.
  7. Two double-spaced hard copies and a copy sent as an e-mail attachment of the final approved project must be submitted to the program director.
  8. All graphs, charts, diagrams and other illustrative devices must be presented and labeled in a manner generally used in the social sciences.
  9. All work (excepting assistance from a statistical consultant) must be the original work of the degree candidate.
  10. All necessary approvals from any university committee and/or any outside agencies are the candidate’s responsibility.
  11. Copyright holder approval for any material that does not fall into the category of ‘fair use’ is the candidate’s responsibility.
  12. All projects need written prior approval from the director and project adviser on a form approved by the program committee.
  13. All projects must be revised until they receive written final approval from the project adviser and acceptance by the program director.
  14. Project research must take place after the student is enrolled in the program.
  15. Although the project may build on information and experience gained in professional employment, it is not to be work that forms part of the student’s regular employment activities.
  16. The project may be either new work or an expansion of previous course work, but in the latter case must extend beyond the course work in terms of scope, depth, and sophistication.
  17. Final acceptance of the project will only take place after the candidate has submitted it to a conference or journal approved by the director.
  18. These guidelines will cover all projects submitted after 15 June 2000.
  19. These guidelines may only be revised by the ABS program committee.

Note: A degree is granted only after all requirements are completed (including all course work and the project or thesis) and no grades of "I" or "M" appear on the student's grade transcript. (See the Graduate School Catalogue for an explanation of letter grades.) Furthermore, it is the student's responsibility to be aware of deadlines for filing for graduation and for meeting those deadlines. Those deadlines can be found on the Graduate School website each semester.