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Professional Paper/Thesis Guidelines*

One requirement of Masters of Arts Program in Sociology is developing a professional paper. While the overall topic of the professional paper is your choice, the specifics will be decided upon by the Director of Graduate Studies in conjunction with appropriate faculty. Broadly, it is our expectation that the professional paper will be an extended literature review that addresses in-depth a specific research question.  If you are intending to conduct original research (primary data collection or utilizing secondary data sources), you must seek and obtain IRB approval (if necessary), have your data collected, analyzed and a draft paper written before enrolling the Professional Paper practicum.

You will be finalizing your professional paper in SOCI 6098—Professional Paper Practicum. This seminar is offered in both the Fall and Spring semesters. The semester before you anticipate enrolling in SOCI 6098, you must:

  • Submit a draft Professional paper to the Director of Graduate Studies. This paper can be a paper you've written for a course that you would like to expand into a professional paper. The deadline for submission is December 1st for May (or August) graduation or May 1st for December graduation. The Professional Paper practicum in NOT offered over the summer thus if an August graduation is planned, the professional paper must be completed during the Spring semester.
  • Once submitted, the paper will be reviewed by SHSU faculty who will make recommendations for revision and development. Feedback will be provided by December 20th/ May 15th.
  • Once the feedback has been provided, the student will develop a detailed revision plan for the professional paper. This plan must be submitted to the Director of Graduate Studies by January 15th/ June 1st.
  • The revision plan must be approved by the Director of Graduate Studies and Department Head before registering for SOCI 6098.

Enrolling in the Professional Paper Practicum does not ensure the requirements for graduation have been met. The professional paper must meet the “Proficient” standard (see Grading Rubrics below) on all sections as determined by the supervising faculty.

Information regarding the Professional Paper can be accessed through the links below.
Professional Paper Guidelines
Rubric 1: Professional Paper Rubric- Format/Quality of Writing
Rubric 2: Professional Paper Rubric- Content (Review Paper)
Rubric 3: Professional Paper Rubric- Content (Secondary Data Analysis)

*Beginning in the Fall 2014 student may select either the Thesis or Comprehensive Exam track.

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