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Professional Paper (Guidelines)


One requirement of Masters of Arts Program in Sociology is to develop a professional paper. While the overall topic of the professional paper is your choice, the Director of Graduate Studies in conjunction with appropriate faculty will work with you to determine a specific topic. Broadly, it is our expectation that the professional paper will be an extended literature review that thoroughly addresses a specific research question. You are strongly encouraged to be thinking about your professional paper in each class you are enrolled. We anticipate that one of the papers you write for a class will serve as the basis for your professional paper.

If you are intending to conduct original research (primary data collection or secondary data source analysis), 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, but not during the summer. The semester before you anticipate enrolling in SOCI 6098, you must:

  • Submit a draft of your Professional paper to the Director of Graduate Studies. This paper is generally 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. You will not be allowed to enroll in SOCI 6098 until an acceptable draft has been submitted.

click here for princeton writing resource guideEnrolling in the Professional Paper Practicum does not ensure the requirements for graduation will be met. The professional paper must meet the “Proficient” standard (see Grading Rubrics below) on all sections as determined by the professional paper committee.

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)

You can also view a copy of the syllabus for the professional paper which lists basic requirements.