Master of Arts in Applied Behavioral Science

Thesis or Project

As the culminating experience in the Applied Behavioral Science (ABS) Criminal Justice and Social Problems track, you may write either a traditional thesis or a project.


A traditional thesis is a formally presented research work in the form of an approximately 800-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 semester. 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 your thesis committee and the program director, and acceptance by the Graduate School.

Thesis Prospectus Cover Sheet (PDF)


The project is an applied research work. You 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 you have obtained in the seminars, workshops, and other required and elective program activities.

The following guidelines should guide you in the development and execution of your project. Although exceptions can be made to these guidelines, the burden is on you to delineate, justify, and propose any alternatives. 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 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 of hte final approved project, and a copy sent as an e-mail attachment, 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 your original work.
  10. All necessary approvals from any university committee and/or any outside agencies are your responsibility.
  11. Copyright holder approval for any material that does not fall into the category of "fair use" is your 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 you are 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 your regular employment activities.
  16. The project may be either new work or an expansion of previous coursework, but in the latter case must extend beyond the coursework in terms of scope, depth, and sophistication.
  17. Final acceptance of the project will only take place after you have submitted it to a conference or journal approved by the director.
  18. These guidelines will cover all projects submitted after June 15, 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 coursework and the project or thesis) and no grades of "I" or "M" appear on your grade transcript (see the Graduate School catalogue for an explanation of letter grades). It is your 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.

Project Proposal Cover Sheet (PDF)


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