2021-2022 Graduate Catalog

Graduate Research or Professional Development Requirement

All graduate students must complete a research or professional development component as part of their requirements for graduation. The requirement may be met through at least one of the four options as prescribed for the individual’s approved program. These options are:

  • Scholarly Paper:  A scholarly paper is a monograph of research conducted by the student that may or may not be experimental in nature.  Term papers meeting these specifications can qualify as scholarly papers. These papers can be written either individually or as a team as directed by the academic program. The student’s advisor must approve the scholarly paper.
  • Thesis:  A thesis is an in-depth scholarly examination of a particular topic that makes a contribution to the student’s academic field. The specific format of the thesis may vary by academic department. The thesis requires approval of the supervising graduate faculty member, the thesis committee, and the Dean of the Graduate School. An oral defense of the thesis before the thesis committee is required. The thesis will be submitted electronically to the Dean of the Graduate School for approval by a prearranged date.
  • Professional Development Experience:  A professional development experience may take the form of an internship, designated capstone class, or other prescribed experience appropriate to the discipline of the specific graduate program.
  • Comprehensive Assessment:  A comprehensive assessment is administered in the term in which the student expects to receive the degree and evaluates the student's broad knowledge of the field. The comprehensive assessment may take one (or more) of several forms: multiple choice, take-home essay(s), timed sit-down essay(s), reflective portfolio essay(s), and national standardized tests.

Guidelines for submitting thesis: In submitting the thesis electronically, the following conditions must be met: (1) The approved graduate guidelines (available online or from the Graduate Office) must be followed for general format; (2) A specific manual prescribed by the department must be followed for the internal format of the paper; (3) Careful attention must be given to all composition skills involved; (4) An errorless original document must be submitted electronically to the Graduate Office for final approval and; (5) Consistent typing with a uniform font must be evident for the entire thesis, except for tables, charts, figures, images, photography, or similar insertions. 

If approved, the thesis will be forwarded to the B.D. Owens Library. Binding of the thesis will be the responsibility of the student. Each graduate program within the department should keep files of significant research completed by their master’s degree recipients.

Northwest Missouri State University subscribes to the policy that all research involving human subjects which is conducted by faculty, students, or staff must be reviewed and approved by the Institutional Review Board prior to the initiation of the research.

Northwest Missouri State University subscribes to the policy that all research involving animals which is conducted by faculty, students, or staff must be reviewed and approved by the Animal Welfare Committee prior to the initiation of the research. The Animal Welfare Committee meets once a trimester or when needed.

Guidelines for Comprehensive Assessment: Students who require special accommodations for comprehensive assessment should contact the Department no less than 48 hours prior to test date. The student must have a cumulative GPA of 3.00 GPA to be eligible to attempt the comprehensive assessment. Students must contact their Program Advisor or Department no later than the third week of the semester the student plans to complete the comprehensive assessment. Approval will be determined by the Associate Provost of Graduate Studies and Special Programs in consultation with the student’s advisor. If students lack two required courses (maximum of six semester hours), they may apply to complete the comprehensive assessment. The maximum number of times the student may attempt the comprehensive assessment for the master’s degree is three, in three separate sessions, in fall, spring, or summer. The Specialist in Education candidate may request approval to attempt the comprehensive assessment once after failing.