Research & Thesis Guidelines

To complete a research project and a thesis, graduate students will experience a transformative education through informed engagement with knowledge gained in the classroom and in independent research.

Graduate students demonstrate their ability to acquire knowledge and to communicate their findings in a coherent well-executed research project and a thesis. Both the thesis and project are “capstone" experiences-- meaning they should draw on and integrate the knowledge that students gained while working toward an advanced degree. Upon completion, graduate students will publicly present their research project and thesis.

The research project and thesis differ primarily in how the students' knowledge is showcased.

Research Project

Students will:

  • Demonstrate applied knowledge and learning with the final product being the goal
  • Share 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
  • Showcase their project in a presentation that explains the design and implementation of their project and its usefulness
  • Complete and turn in a report that summarizes the project: describes the problem, presents solutions, illustrates the project’s usage and importance
  • Reveal how they used classroom experiences to complete the applied project


Students will:

  • Demonstrate knowledge in research, investigation, design, deduction, reason, and the completion of project
  • Build on the literature and contribute original knowledge to the field of journalism, public relations and mass communication
  • Create a publishable final product
  • Present it 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. 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
  • Demonstrate sufficient background preparation to address their topic
  • Thesis committees must have at least three members: a graduate faculty member from inside the Journalism, Public Relations & New Media Department, a faculty member from outside the department and an adviser 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:

Marlene Neill, Ph.D., APR
Associate Professor
Department of Journalism, Public Relations & New Media
Baylor University
One Bear Place #97353
Waco, Texas 76798-7353
Telephone 254-710-6322