Capstone Information

The master's degree in Journalism and Strategic Media is a blend of academic and professional content. While some of the graduates have gone on to academic careers, more graduates have moved up in their jobs at media organizations.

You will have eight years to complete your degree. Work closely with your advisor to develop your personal plan at the very beginning of your studies.

Graduate Thesis vs. Project

What's the difference?

Thesis
A thesis uses the academic research method to examine a phenomenon in mass communication, or to consider a legal, historical, or visual cases related to journalism and mass communication.

A thesis generally is written as an academic article and has five sections: 1. Introduction 2. Literature review 3. Methodology 4. Results and 5. Discussion.

A thesis must be theoretically based and collect original data and analyze it, and discuss how your research fits in with established knowledge.

A thesis might use content analysis, survey, experiment, focus groups, in-depth interviews, document analysis, ethnography, legal analysis, historical analysis, or visual analysis.

The student must defend his or her thesis as a proposal and as the final document.

Committee of at least 3 faculty (at least 2 from Journalism).

Students must take 6 credit hours of Thesis credit, and cannot count more than 6 toward graduation, but may take more if needed. Graduate assistants on the thesis path may take only 6 hours of thesis credit in their final semesters and remain on assistantship.
A thesis might need approval from the Institutional Review Board, depending on the type of research.

Project
In a project, students create an original work that can be used by a professional outlet. The way a project is completed depends on the type of work being done. Students are expected to complete a project that would be useful in their careers.

A professional project can take many forms. You must include an executive summary to begin your project. You must determine the expectations and guidelines for your project with your chair.

The student must create original work. It might be a marketing plan, business startup, a communications plan for a nonprofit organization, a series of research-based journalism articles, or a visual creative project.

The quality of work in a project is expected to be equal to a thesis.

You must defend your project as a proposal and as the final document.

Committee of at least 2 Journalism faculty; additional outside members are welcome at the students' choice.

Students must take 3 credit hours of Project credit, and cannot count more than 3 toward graduation, but may take more if needed.

A project might need approval from the Institutional Review Board, depending on the type of research.

Graduate committee members

Can chair a thesis or project:
Dr. David Arant
Dr. Robert Byrd
Dr. Roxane Coche
Dr. Matthew Haught
Dr. Joseph Hayden
Dr. Thomas Hrach
Dr. Melissa Janoske
Dr. Stephanie Madden
Dr. Sandra Utt
Dr. Jin Yang

Can serve on a thesis or project committee:
Dr. David Arant
Dr. Robert Byrd
Dr. Roxane Coche
Prof. Pamela Denny*
Prof. Darrin Devault*
Dr. Matthew Haught
Dr. Joseph Hayden
Dr. Thomas Hrach
Dr. Dan Lattimore
Dr. Melissa Janoske
Prof. Candace Justice*
Dr. Stephanie Madden
Prof. Otis Sanford*
Dr. Sandra Utt
Prof. Robert Willis*
Dr. Jin Yang
Note: * denotes affiliate or adjunct faculty. Only one committee member can be from this group.

Graduate deadlines

Students completing a thesis or project have specific guidelines from the Department of Journalism and the Graduate School. Please check with the Graduate School for semester-specific deadlines. Students must give faculty members two weeks to read the final draft before a defense. Students should check with their chair to schedule deadlines for proposal defenses.

Thesis deadlines
Fall
Spring
Summer
Final draft to committee
October 15 March 15 June 15
Defense deadline
November 1 April 1 July 1

 

Project deadlines
Fall
Spring
Summer
Final draft to committee
November 1 April 1 July 1
Defense deadline
November 15 April 15 July 15

 

Forms for Graduate Students

Please see the Forms page for all Internship forms, Student Travel request forms,  Permit request forms or forms related to Projects, Theses, Graduation and Assistantships .