All students will keep a portfolio of significant work done for courses, such as final papers or special projects, with comments and grades from the professor. By the midpoint, there will be work from a total of at least three courses in the portfolio. At the culminating point there will be work from a total of at least six courses in the portfolio.
After completing the sixth course but before taking the ninth course, all students in both programs will write a 3-5 page essay examining their progress to that point, using as evidence work from the portfolio. The Midpoint Essay reflects on the student's intellectual growth, and suggests directions for the second half of the student's program.
Culminating Point Essay
All students in both programs (regardless of which final option they choose) will write an essay of 3-5 pages, reflecting on their intellectual growth in the second half of the program.
- Completion of 48 or 52 quarter hours of graduate credit, depending on the completion option (thesis, practicum, enhanced portfolio or exit course) chosen by the student.
- Maximum of 16 quarter hours of credit in approved 300-level courses, and remainder of credit hours from 400/500/600-level courses.
- No more than five courses may be taken in the College of Commerce, including College of Commerce courses which are cross-listed in other programs and courses transferred from other institutions which are business courses. Registration for courses in the Kellstadt Graduate School of Business in the College of Commerce must be done through the IDS office.
- No more than six courses may be taken in any single discipline within the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences, no more than six courses may be taken in the College of Education, and no more than six courses may be taken in the College of Computing and Digital Media (CDM). Special permission must be sought for courses taken in the School for New Learning. Only non-performance courses may be taken in School of Music or the Theatre School.
- Prerequisites within Departments and Schools apply.
- Certain individual courses may be not be open to IDS students.
- To support the student's program plan, the IDS advisor may require that the student take certain courses in areas such as writing, statistics, disciplinary methodologies, foreign languages, etc., when appropriate.
Program Completion (Capstone) Steps
All students must apply and be approved for the particular option they wish to use for program completion (thesis, practicum, enhanced portfolio or exit course). This application will include the student's portfolio. The thesis and practicum options include a Formal Proposal. Approval of the proposal is necessary before the student undertakes this final stage of the program. Enrollment in MLS 499, the culminating project independent study course, takes place after approval of the proposal has been secured. If necessary, in lieu of an elective, students may enroll in MLS 498 INDEPENDENT STUDY: Thesis if they require an additional quarter of research and other preparation for MLS 499.
Both 498 and 499 are conducted as Independent Studies. Instructions for proposing and pursuing these are available with the Program. When the project is completed both the members of the committee and the MALS/IDS director sign a Culminating Project Completion Form.
Program Completion (Capstone) Options
The IDS program may be completed in one of four ways:
Thesis Option (12 courses)
In addition to the Culminating Point Essay and final portfolio submission, the student will write a paper of approximately 35-50 pages that includes 3-4 components or sections, one of which will be a research component and original exploration of the subject. (Other components might include a review of literature, a synthesis of earlier research, a reflection on various disciplinary and methodological approaches to the issue, suggestions for future research, etc.) The research component of the Master’s Thesis involves reflection on primary research, or actual primary research combined with reflection on the primary research of others. The student is encouraged to make a public presentation about his or her thesis.
- Ordinarily taken as MLS 499 CAPSTONE the student's 12th and final course.
- Requires minimum cumulative GPA of 3.3, evaluation of "satisfactory" on the Midpoint Portfolio, formal proposal and approval of committee.
Practicum Option (12 courses)
In addition to the Culminating Point Essay and final portfolio submission, for the Practicum Option the student will create a project aimed at developing and executing a community-based intellectual or intellectual/creative activity. Examples are a public presentation as a lecture, in broadcast or print media, or on the web. Service learning projects are also encouraged. A 15-25 page descriptive/analytic essay documenting the project is also submitted. The student is encouraged to make a public presentation about his or her practicum in addition to the primary distribution of the project.
- Ordinarily taken as MLS 499 CAPSTONE, the student's 12th and final course.
- Requires minimum cumulative GPA of 3.3, evaluation of "satisfactory" on the Midpoint Portfolio, formal proposal, and approval of committee.
Enhanced Portfolio Option (13 courses)
In addition to the final portfolio submission, and a Culminating Point Essay based on portfolio pieces selected from at least three courses in the second half of the program, the distinctive feature of the Enhanced Portfolio option is the writing of a new extended expository essay of 12-15 pages. This is a paper on a topic of the student's own choosing that makes an argument. (Further information on this paper and the option is available from the program.)
- Ordinarily taken as MLS 499 CAPSTONE, the student's 13th and final course.
- Requires formal proposal and approval of committee.
Exit Course Option (13 courses)
In addition to the Culminating Point Essay and the final portfolio submission, the student proposes a particular course over and above the original 12 courses. This course should be chosen as an "exit course," in that it brings together a number of areas of interest that the student has pursued over the course of the program. By arrangement with the instructor, the student uses the final paper or final project to make connections with the goals of his or her overall IDS Program. The instructor will grade the paper, and another reader suggested by the IDS program will also review and comment on the paper.
- Requires formal proposal and approval of committee.
Determination of Degree
If the majority of courses completed for the master’s degree are drawn from programs that award the Master of Arts degree, then the student will earn the M.A. (It the number is equal the student can choose the M.A. or the M.S.)