CA700 Graduate Project

for S1P 2010

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Mission Statement: The mission of the School of Graduate and Professional Studies at Park University is to provide leadership and directions to Park University's graduate and professional programs to assure that they are specialized, scholarly, innovative, and designed to educate students to be creative, independent, and lifelong learners within the context of a global community.

Vision Statement: Park University's School of Graduate and Professional Studies will be an international leader in providing innovative graduate and professional educational opportunities to learners within a global society.


CA 700 Graduate Project


S1P 2010 MCB


Aitken, Joan Evelyn


Class Days


Class Time



You will want to have half of the coursework in your program complete.

Credit Hours



APA (2010). Publication manual of the American Psychological Association (6th ed.). Washington, DC: American Psychological Association.

Textbooks can be purchased through the MBS bookstore

Textbooks can be purchased through the Parkville Bookstore

Additional Resources:
See the Project requirements in the Park University and Department Guidelines for the time that you began the MA program. 

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Course Description:
CA 700 Graduate Project: Capstone course for students who work individually with a graduate advisor to research an approved organizational issue. Offered in 8 and 16 week format. Variable: 1-3 hrs. may be repeated: must total 2-5 hrs. Permission Required.

Educational Philosophy:

See Department Guidelines for Project Requirements.

Remember, the project is NOT a portfolio and NOT comprehensive exams. You still must take the comprehensive exams separately.

DEPT. & PARK RULES. The student has the responsibility of finding out and following departmental and Park University rules, including all application requirements. You will find those in the graduate catalog. Your advisor cannot over-ride departmental or university rules. The department and university requirements supersede faculty requirements.

GRADUATE RECORD EXAM (GRE).  Park University requires that you complete the GRE and submit your scores to the Graduate School.  You cannot graduate from the program without completing this step. See

COMPREHENSIVE EXAMS. The department or university requires separate comprehensive exams of students who complete a project.  These need to be PASSED at least 8 weeks prior to graduation.  When you are ready to take the exam, you contact Dr. Cohn to schedule the test.  You will have 24 hours to write.  You can use any books or materials, but you canNOT use help from any person. 

APPLICATION FOR GRADUATION.  Go to the Park website, find and complete the online form (Application for Graduation), and pay fees for graduation.
August Completion or December Commencement Deadline: April 1

May Commencement Deadline: November 1

PROJECT INSTEAD OF THESIS? The project option can work well for working students who have no plans to go on for a doctoral degree.

TOPIC. Select a practical topic you love, which you have been studying in the program so far. The topic must relate to organizational communication and leadership.

PROJECT REQUIRES SIGNIFICANT NEW WORK IN RESEARCH-BASED COMMUNICATION STUDIES. The project needs to contain significant new work, but may include synthesizing work for previous courses. Ideally, you reflect on your program so that you will actually use what you learned in a professional context. In other words, the project may be a pragmatic one, which you can use in your professional life.


BE PRACTICAL. Because you are coming into this project having completed the majority of courses in the program, you should have a strong background in communication and leadership research-based theories.
COMMITTEE. You will present your project and defend your project, perhaps with other enrolled students during a meeting set up by the department.

You may want to talk with your advisor about your project, do advance planning, and receive oral approval IN ADVANCE. You will want to have a clear idea of the nature of your project BEFORE enrolling in the final term so you can complete the project well before the end of the one 8-week term.

Class Assessment:


Work in the eCollege course shell:  All assignments are due by Sunday night in the assigned week in the eCollege dropbox. Assignments are not accepted by email because it is too unreliable.

Grading is based on submission of quality work in the course dropbox, meeting deadlines, and faculty approval.

Term One: The project proposal is due week 5.  You need to send your revised project proposal to your committee by Monday of week 7.  

Term Two: The final project is due to your advisor week 4 of your final term.

Weekly attendance is based on your activity in the eCollege course and direct communication with your professor.

Departmental Requirements

Consult the Graduate Catalog and Graduate School Procedures. These requirements are the ones that must be followed.

Supplemental help is available for the project:


Put this information together and send it to your committee as soon as possible.

Title Page (page 1):

Title is strictly factual regarding what the project is about.

Your Name

A Project Proposal in Partial Fulfillment of the Requirements for the Degree of Master of Arts, Communication and Leadership

Park University

Abstract: The purpose of this project is to _________. The importance of this project is __________. The procedures will be _____________.

Proposal Page (page 2-3):

·        Problem.

·        What is the question you will answer?

·        Operational definitions of independent and dependent variables and any other key terms.

·        Importance.

·        Justification of the work, including purpose and rationale.

·        Procedures.

·        Exactly what you plan to do and how you will do it.

·        Timetable of when each stage will be complete.

Review of Literature (pages 3-?).

Reference List [Sources actually cited in the review of literature is the final page(s)].


Add the results and discussion sections. Update your references.

100% of the project grade is based on the advisor's evaluation of the proposal (term 1) project (final term of enrollment) the student submits by week 5 and revises according to committee requirements before and during the defense.  The final proposal (term 1) or project (final term of enrollment) must be completed and signed off by the committee by Monday of week 8.

Late Submission of Course Materials:
Make sure you have completed everything you need--and have your committee's agreement with what you're doing--IN ADVANCE of the final term of enrollment. 

Being late will cost you money!  If you cannot complete your project by your last term, you will have to pay for enrolling for one hour each semester until you finish the project.

Classroom Rules of Conduct:
If you conduct research on human subjects, you will have to receive go through IRB review prior to conducting any research.  Please reconsider following the thesis option.

Course Topic/Dates/Assignments:



If you haven't already, DO NOW!

  1. Take the GRADUATE RECORD EXAM (GRE), and send the scores to Park U graduate school.  You had 60 days to complete all application requirements.  Make sure you have taken care of your business.


  2. Apply for graduation, click here.

  3. Schedule your comprehensive exams, which must be PASSED BEFORE your final term of enrollment.  For more information, .

  4. Pull your materials together into a project proposal.

The inspirational art work on this page is available for purchase from



  • Keep moving, with NO PROCRASTINATION

  • Submit your final project early in your final term of enrollment so there's time for revision and defense.



IMPORTANT:  Use the schedule appropriate for what you are doing.

CA 700 Tentative Schedule for one 3-hour  term project

Schedule for one 3 credit hour, 8 week course.

If you plan to enroll in only one 3-hour course, you may want to complete all planning steps BEFORE enrolling for credit.

Week 1

Discuss proposed project with your advisor in person or via phone. Submit your proposal from CA 517 or most recent draft of your project work.

Obtain and read a relevant book for your project choice or whatever research materials are needed.  Finish your review of literature. In most cases, you'll want to make sure you have a quality review of research literature on the topic.  You can synthesize papers and proposals you prepared on the topic for previous courses. Prepare your proposal.  Take the proposal from CA 517 and modify it into to do-able project.

Week 2

Finish preparing your proposal so that it is updates and realistic for your project.  Ask two additional faculty member to support your project and receive approval for project choice.   Send your proposal to the committee for their suggestions and approvals.  You cannot use human subjects because there is inadequate time for the one term project.  Finish planning your project. Make any needed contacts.

Week 3

Conduct needed research and begin actual project.

Week 4

Finish project and send the project via email to the committee.

Schedule a meeting with your committee when you can defend your project.

Week 5

Prepare a PowerPoint to orally defend your project.  Check with your committee members to see if there are any changes you need to make.

Week 6

Defend your thesis to the faculty committee.  Get signature page signed.  Send copy of signature page to Program Director, Graduate School, and Registrar.

Week 7

Make any needed changes, add the signature page, and print off the project.

Week 8

By Monday, give faculty on your committee a hard copy of the final project.

Schedule for two 8-week courses

Schedule for two 8-week courses.

Assignments and Deadlines            

Week 1


  1. Discuss proposed project with your advisor in person or via phone.

  2. I do NOT recommend studying human subjects for a project.  If you plan to do plan to use human subjects, you will need to complete the certification and apply for Park University's IRB approval. Do the certification now.  You will need a detailed proposal approved by the whole committee before submitting to the IRB.  For more information, go to

  3. If you plan to study things or do a creative project, no IRB approval is needed. 

Week 2

  1. Obtain and read a relevant book or conduct library research for your project choice.  

  2. In most cases, you'll want to make sure you have a quality review of research literature on the topic. 

  3. Revise your proposal from CA 517 or another class that is the idea for your project work. You can synthesize papers and proposals you prepared on the topic for previous courses or come up with something new.

  4. Send your proposal to your advisor.

Week 3

  1. Put your committee together.  You need a committee of three faculty.  Make suggestions to your advisor, then contact the other two people to ask them to participate.  Don't take it personally if someone refuses because some faculty are just too busy and part-time faculty are not expected to participate.

  2. Send a photo and paragraph bio to your committee members, any names you use, any email addresses you use.

Week 4

  1. Finish preparing your proposal so that it is updates and is a do-able, realistic plan for your project.  If your advisor approves, send your proposal to your committee.  Ask committee members to send any concerns, suggestions, or needed changes directly to you within the next week or two.  Otherwise, you'll assume the faculty member approves.  If you haven't heard from all, resend the proposal with another request for suggestions, explaining that you plan to proceed on X date.

Week 5

  1. If you haven't received approval from all faculty, prepare a 2-5 minute PowerPoint with sound narration to orally summarize your project.  Send it to each committee member as an email attachment with a note saying you just wanted to update them on your progress.  Finish planning your project. Make any needed contacts, corrections, additional research.

  2. If possible, obtain written or email approval from three faculty on your project proposal.

Week 6

  1. Work on the project.

Week 7-8

  1. Continue working on your project. 

  2. Send an update of new material only--or highlight new material in color--to your committee members.

Between your first term of enrollment and last term of enrollment.

  1. Continue with your project.  Communicate regularly--at least once a month, preferably once a week--with your advisor.  Make sure your work is nearly complete before enrolling in the last term of the Project.

Wk 1, Term 2 Get finished!

  1. Upload your progress in eCollege.  Highlight changes in color.

  2. Remember, if you don't complete the project in time for graduation, you will have to PAY TO ENROLL ANOTHER TERM.

Wk 2

Write 2 pages a day for 30 days and you'll have the essence done!

  1. Work on project.

Wk 3 Conduct

  1. Email an electronic file of your draft to your committee asking for suggestions as you proceed.  Tell them your graduation date and ask them about availability for setting up a meeting in person or by phone to defend your project.

Wk 4 Draft

  1. Final deadline for sending your project to your committee and setting up a meeting for your defense.  You'll need to find an agreeable time and schedule a room.

Wk 5 Time for faculty to read your project.

  1. Give faculty time to read your project. Send a meeting reminder to each faculty member.

  2. Make any needed changes before your defense. 

  3. Prepare PowerPoint in defense. 

Wk 6 Defend

  1. Meet with faculty committee to defend your project. You may want to prepare a PowerPoint. Bring a black pen and the signature form to your defense.

  2. Scan your signed defense form and submit an electronic copy to (a) your advisor, (b) the Program Director (Dr. Cohn), the (c) Director of Graduate School, and (d) the Registrar.

Wk 7 Revise and Submit

  1. Make any changes required by your committee and submit one final copy to your advisor and one to the department or to the committee members.  You must complete this step by Monday of week 8.

Wk 8

Revised project with signature page due by MONDAY.  Congratulations!  Graduate at the end of the week.




Select a topic and receive your advisor's approval.  I recommend you select a project you already have studied in a previous course.  The content must be related to communication. 


PROJECT INSTEAD OF THESIS? If you plan to do original research or conduct research on human subjects, you'll want to complete a thesis.  The thesis option can work well for students who plan to go on for a doctoral degree.  The thesis is typically original research, which uses quantitative or qualitative research.


The project is a very flexible study.  If you enroll for a total of 2-3 hours, the project may be a relatively short paper.  If you enroll for 5-6 hours, the project will be a more complex one.  Of course it may be a website, handbook, or forms other than a paper.


For a project. I recommend something that does NOT require collecting data on human subjects (interviews, survey) because that will complicate your work because you will need to comply with federal regulations and go through the University's Institutional Research Board (IRB). If you want to conduct research on human subjects, please sign up for the thesis option.




The Project is a flexible learning experience, which fits into one of multiple project options. These project choices should be based on your advisor's expertise for being able to guide students. If you want a different type of project, work it out with your advisor in advance of enrolling. So, select a practical topic you love, which perhaps you have been studying in the program so far. Topics typically relate to organizational communication or leadership communication.  Here are example topics:

  1. Start an eBay business.

  2. Present a Leadership Practices Inventory training session.

  3. Conduct online PR and thought leadership with webpage and blog.

  4. Start an eBusiness--online money-making project.

  5. Write creative stories or cases about family communication.

  6. Create and upload a website about communication resources in the community.

  7. Prepare instructional training materials that can be used at work.

  8. Create a business plan for a home business you want to start.

  9. Write a booklet about text-messaging language.

  10. Learn about and set up a social networking account for more effective business communication (e.g.,  , ).

The project may include synthesizing work for previous courses. Ideally, you reflect on your program so that you will actually use what you learned in a professional context. In other words, the project may be a pragmatic one, which you can use in your personal or professional life.


BE PRACTICAL. Because you are coming into this project having completed the majority of courses in the program, you should have a strong background in communication and leadership research-based theories.  Select a project that will be useful to you in some way.

Academic Honesty:
As a learning community, the University upholds the highest standards of academic integrity in all its academic activities, by faculty, staff, administrators and students. Academic integrity involves much more than respecting intellectual property rights. It lies at the heart of learning, creativity, and the core values of the University. Those who learn, teach, write, publish, present, or exhibit creative works are advised to familiarize themselves with the requirements of academic integrity and make every effort to avoid possible offenses against it, knowingly or unknowingly. Park University 2009-2010 Graduate Catalog Page 31
Be sure to go through the IRB PRIOR to conducting any research, if you will be doing research on human subjects.


Plagiarism involves the appropriation of another person's ideas, interpretation, words (even a few), data, statements, illustration or creative work and their presentation as one's own. An offense against plagiarism constitutes a serious academic misconduct.  Although offenses against academic integrity can manifest themselves in various ways, the most common forms of offenses are plagiarism and cheating. Plagiarism goes beyond the copying of an entire article. It may include, but is not limited to: copying a section of an article or a chapter from a book, reproduction of an art work, illustration, cartoon, photograph and the like and passing them off as one's own. Copying from the Internet is no less serious an offense than copying from a book or printed article, even when the material is not copyrighted.

Plagiarism also includes borrowing ideas and phrases from, or paraphrasing, someone else's work, published or unpublished, without acknowledging and documenting the source. Acknowledging and documenting the source of an idea or phrase, at the point where it is utilized, is necessary even when the idea or phrase is taken from a speech or conversation with another person.

Park University 2009-2010 Graduate Catalog Page 31-32

Make sure you cite the sources of all information.

Attendance Policy:

Professors are required to maintain attendance records and report absences. Excused absences can be granted by the instructor, for medical reasons, school sponsored activities, and employment-related demands, including temporary duty. Students are responsible for any missed work. Absences for two successive weeks, without approved excuse, will be reported to the Director of the individual graduate program, or to the Executive Director for the Graduate School, for appropriate action. Students with such a record of absences, without an approved excuse, may be administratively withdrawn from the class and notified that an "F" will be recorded, unless the student initiates official withdrawal from the class(es).Park University 2009-2010 Graduate Catalog Page 35

Disability Guidelines:
Park University is committed to meeting the needs of all students that meet the criteria for special assistance. These guidelines are designed to supply directions to students concerning the information necessary to accomplish this goal. It is Park University's policy to comply fully with federal and state law, including Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 and the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990, regarding students with disabilities. In the case of any inconsistency between these guidelines and federal and/or state law, the provisions of the law will apply. Additional information concerning Park University's policies and procedures related to disability can be found on the Park University web page: .


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Last Updated:12/11/2009 3:28:44 PM