Baylor University

Thesis/Project Guidelines

The master’s thesis and project are similar in that they both demonstrate that graduate students have the ability to learn new things and to communicate their findings in a coherent well-executed project.

• Both the thesis and project are “capstone: experiences, meaning they should draw on and integrate the knowledge that students gained while working towards an advanced degree.

• Both the thesis and project culminate in a public presentation.

Research Project

The primary way that a project is different from a thesis is in how students demonstrate their knowledge.

• A project demonstrates “applied” knowledge and learning with the final product being the goal.

• Students demonstrate their knowledge by creating something new such as a documentary, photo exhibit, magazine or newspaper prototype for a niche audience, series of articles, or a new methodology or approach to address a valuable question such as how to market a nonprofit organization in a new media climate.

• Students must showcase their project in a presentation that explains the design and implementation of their project and the project’s usefulness.

• Students must also complete and turn in a report that summarizes the project (describes the problem, presents solutions, illustrates the project’s usage and importance).

• Students must demonstrate that they employed classroom experiences to complete the applied project.


• A thesis demonstrates a student’s knowledge in research, investigation, design, deduction, reason, and the completion projects.

• Graduate students are expected to build on the literature and to contribute original knowledge to the field of journalism, PR and mass communication. As such, the final product must be publishable.

• A thesis is presented in two parts. The first is a presentation is a thesis proposal, which includes an abstract, introduction, review of the literature, research questions and/or hypotheses, and research methods.

• Students must demonstrate that they have sufficient background preparation to address their topic.

• The second thesis presentation is the defense, which demonstrates that a student has mastered his or her subject area. Students present each section of the thesis, findings and conclusions.

• Thesis committees must have at least three members: a graduate faculty member from inside the Journalism, PR & New Media Department, a faculty member from outside the department and an advisor who is a JPR&NM graduate faculty member. Committee members offer feedback following the proposal presentation and help guide the student in his or her research.

For more information, please contact the Graduate Program Director:

Mia Moody-Ramirez, Ph.D.
Associate Professor
Department of Journalism, Public Relations & New Media
Baylor University
One Bear Place #97353
Waco, Texas 76798-7353
Telephone 254-710-7247<br>