Thesis and Praxis
The coursework and related elements of the program provide students with the necessary background to undertake the research required to complete a M.A. thesis. The following steps will be taken to complete the thesis process:
1. The completion of the thesis requires three formal committee meetings:
(1) The Thesis Proposal,
(2) The Thesis Prospectus, and
(3) The Oral Defense of the Thesis.
Each of these meetings is a step to ensure successful completion of the process. Following each of these meetings, the appropriate form should be completed and submitted to the graduate director. Note that any significant changes in the program should be reflected by the completion of a new form
2. In consultation with the Graduate Director, each student will choose a thesis advisor. The thesis advisor and student will meet to discuss thesis topics. After preparing a brief outline of the topic, students on the pre-doctoral track will ask two other faculty members, with a background relevant to their topic, to serve on their committee (at least one from the Communication Department). All thesis advisors must be members of the Graduate Faculty. Once students have secured an agreement from the faculty to serve on their committees, the form listing the committee members should be completed and submitted to the Graduate Director (Form A). If, in consultation with the graduate director, the student or advisor feel that the project could be completed more successfully by changing advisors and/or committee members, such change should be formally announced by the completion of a new form.
3. The thesis proposal, typically 5-10 pages in length, should be completed and copied, and provided to each committee member one week prior to the thesis proposal meeting. The student and advisor are responsible for setting the time for the meeting. The proposal includes reasons for undertaking the research topic, the student's qualifications for pursuing the research question, a statement on the literature to be searched, and the proposal method. Once the committee approves of the proposal, the signed form for this meeting should be provided to the graduate director (Form B). Students who do not receive committee approval can revise their proposal up to two times before being dismissed from the program.
4. After the proposal is approved by the committee, the student will write the thesis prospectus, encompassing the first several chapters of the thesis (conceptualization of the problems, literature review, and research procedures/method). Students should work closely with their advisor to develop the prospectus.
5. Upon completion and approval of the thesis prospectus by the advisor, arrangements will be made for the prospectus meeting with the full committee. The meeting will take place only after the advisor judges the prospectus to be of satisfactory quality. The student will provide each member of the committee with a copy of the prospectus one week prior to the meeting.
6. The purpose of the thesis prospectus committee meeting is to provide the student with specific suggestions regarding conceptualization of the problem/topic, the literature searched, and the conduct of the research inquiry. The prospectus must be approved before major thesis research is undertaken. The committee may require submission of a revised prospectus if major changes are suggested. Once approved, the student should work closely with the advisor to incorporate changes and to complete the research. If the prospectus is not approved at the first meeting, students can revise up to two times before being dismissed from the program. Once the prospectus is approved, the signed form should be provided to the graduate director (Form C).
7. The oral defense of the thesis will be conducted at the completion of the research with all committee members present. Schedule the defense in consultation with your advisor and committee, as well as the Director of Graduate Studies. The defense must be conducted at least 10 days prior to the Graduate School’s electronic submission deadline. Your defense will be publicized by the Department.
Before the defense:
A) The completed thesis must be submitted to committee members at least 10 days in advance of the oral defense.
B) Begin the Electronic Submission Process with the Graduate School at http://grad.uc.edu/student-life/etd.html.
8. The defense is a public meeting which means that other members of the department and university communities are welcome to attend. The student will defend the thesis and answer questions for committee members during the meeting. A signed form indicating the completion of the meeting must be provided to the graduate director (Form D).
9. Corrections, changes, and clarifications that are suggested during the defense will be made and the revised thesis approved by committee members prior to the granting of final approval of the thesis.
A) Once your advisor and the committee gives final approval, you must have each member provide an original signature on the Graduate School’s Committee Approval Form. This form will be scanned and electronically uploaded at the ETD website.
B) The approved thesis should be typed according to the requirements of the graduate school and submitted to them by the published deadline. Follow the guidelines on the website.
C) You should publish your thesis after reviewing publishing options. Work with your advisor to select keywords.
D) Your advisor will receive an email asking for their confirmation of your submission. You must be sure that your Advisor receives the email and approves your submission.
10. Final approval of the thesis signals completion of the M.A. degree. In addition to the two copies required by the university, the student must provide one bound copy of their finished thesis to the advisor.
Students for whom the M. A. will be the terminal degree may choose to complete a Praxis Research Project during their second year. This project entails gaining professional experience and analyzing that experience using communication theories and concepts. Here are the specifications:
1. The Praxis Research Project is based on a 10 hour/week professional experience that lasts one full academic term, and that occurs after the student’s first academic year. This requirement will be monitored by the Praxis Advisor.
2. The Praxis experience can take place either off-campus or on-campus and can be paid or unpaid. The Praxis experience must be related to communication practice and theory. Students are responsible for arranging their Praxis experience. Students may be assisted in finding placements by the Internship Coordinator (Dr. Maribeth Metzler).
3. Under certain circumstances, students who work full time may use their existing position but must have approval to engage in a special project that goes above and beyond normal work responsibilities.
4. Within the first two weeks of your start date, your practicum supervisor must read the supervisor letter and fill out the Praxis Description Form (FORM I). This form should be turned in to the Graduate Director and your Praxis Advisor.
5. Students will choose a praxis advisor from the Graduate Faculty within the Department of Communication. The praxis advisor and student will meet to discuss different praxis experiences and communication theories to apply to the praxis experience. After preparing a brief abstract of the topic, students will ask another graduate faculty member, with a background relevant to their topic, to serve as a second reader. The second reader must also be from the Department of Communication. Once the student has secured an agreement from the faculty to serve on their praxis committee, the form listing the committee members should be completed and submitted to the Graduate Director (Form E). If, in consultation with the graduate director, the student or advisor feel that the project could be completed more successfully by changing advisors and/or committee members, such change should be formally announced by the completion of a new form.
6. During and after the Praxis experience, students may enroll in up to 9 credits of Practicum in Communication (COMM-8091). Students will receive a grade based on satisfactory completion of course requirements.
7. During the Praxis experience, students should keep a daily account of their activities and observations. Students will be asked to provide a regular account of their professional activities to their faculty advisor. This ongoing account should include a summary of duties performed and application of relevant communication principles that lead to applied theoretical insights.
8. During the Praxis experience, Graduate Assistants will be expected to fulfill teaching or research assignments for the Department, with logistics to be worked out with the Department Head and Graduate Director.
9. At the completion of the practicum experience, the student’s supervisor will fill out a formal evaluation of the student. This evaluation should be shared with your Praxis Advisor.
10. The written Praxis project is completed in the following stages:
a. Proposal and Proposal Meeting: After the student has gained internship experience and has decided on a focus, the student will create a proposal that specifies the focus of the praxis paper and the literature that will be used in the project (Form F). The student will then meet with his or her committee to discuss the proposal. This document must be approved by the praxis committee and the signed proposal turned in to the Graduate Director.
b. Research Report: The scope and length of each student’s report is to be determined in conversation with the student and praxis committee. The Research Report will include 1) a summary of the praxis activities/experience, 2) a summary review of key research literature pertaining to communication theories and concepts relevant to the praxis experience and 3) an integration of the praxis experience with existing literature and communication theory concerning the praxis experience.
c. The Final Praxis Report will be evaluated by the student’s praxis committee. The report should be completed in a timely fashion to allow for evaluation prior to graduation certification. Students will be notified of the deadline. The Lead Advisor will turn in a grade in Practicum in Communication (COMM-8091) for students based on timely and satisfactory completion of their Praxis experience.
d. Students will also be required to make a public presentation of their report in an individual or panel format. The presentations will be scheduled in coordination with the Graduate Director.
e. A signed form indicating the completion of the praxis experience and report must be provided to the graduate director (Form G). The student must provide one bound copy of their finished praxis report to the Graduate Director and may wish to provide one for his or her advisor.