The Senior Project is intended to provide the University with a quality review of the student’s academic competencies, which may include proficiency in expressive communication (e.g. writing proficiency, critical and creative thinking). The process includes a brief proposal stage, data gathering and manuscript preparation stage, and a project review stage. Students are provided an opportunity to investigate an area of special interest in their academic concentration, which has potential for advancing some aspect of the field, their own profession development, and the contexts within which these occur.
Examples of legitimate Senior Projects (written form) include critical review papers (15-30 pages, in APA format), theory building/hypothesis development papers (20-30 pages), research proposals/literature review papers (20-30 pages, APA format), or comparative analysis and syntheses papers (15-30 pages). The student’s project should convey a comprehensive understanding of the subject matter, and the ability to effectively express that understanding within inter-subjective context. While most projects may take the form of a standard research project, with the mentor’s approval, students may pursue another appropriate format such as an audio- or videotape project, a recorded public performance, a business plan, original work of art, detailed case study or another relevant project.
Senior Project Proposal
Before beginning the research of the scholarly literature and data gathering activities and any actual writing of your project manuscript, students prepare and submit a formal proposal for approval. The University provides an approved research proposal format requirements within the online program handbook. Students should be prepared to provide necessary facts and information as needed by the mentor in reviewing the research proposal. Students are also expected to carefully examine the University’s manuscript guidelines to conform their documents.
It will prove best for students to begin discussions with their primary mentor concerning the Senior Project topic soon after registration. After sufficient exploration, the expectations of the mentor and the manuscript requirements for the project will become clear. Students should also discuss with their mentor the issues of research protocol related to working with human subjects and the use and care of live animals, if this is to be part of the Senior Project.
The student will be guided in the presentation of a master outline for the proposed manuscript. This will help the student more fully develop the proposal package and clarify the structure of the academic argument. The manuscript outline is intended to bring strength to the scholarly discussion, helping the student organize an effective exploration of the subject matter. The student should carefully review the University’s written guidelines for manuscript preparation provided in the online program handbook.
Referencing the Literature
Students pursuing the alternative Bachelor’s Program may be new to the referencing requirements for major academic papers and should discuss these with the primary mentor before beginning the project.
The Senior Project should closely adhere to the manuscript guideline presented in the University’s online program handbook and the Publication Manual of the American Psychological Association. The manuscript should be prepared and bound in an acceptable manner for permanent archival storage. Spiral and press binding are acceptable.
Senior Project Review
Once students have prepared the Senior Project manuscript, they will schedule the formal review process. The primary mentor and the Center Director (or an assigned representative) will conduct both the formal physical review of the manuscript and the oral review of the project.
The physical review of the project manuscript usually takes the review committee two to four weeks. Each reviewer will prepare questions and commentary relative to the underlying review of the literature, the project methodology, the mechanics of the project, and formal presentation of the findings, conclusions and recommendations.
The oral review of the project is conducted under the direction of the primary mentor with the assistance of Center Director (or an assigned representative). The examination is carried out by telephone conference call or another synchronous method and is designed to allow detailed investigation of the project. The faculty reviewers explore issues related to the project including methodology, review of literature and interpretation of the findings.
One outcome of the project review process is a set of final expectations directing the student through the remaining tasks for correcting the project manuscript. Once the final manuscript is approved, the student will arrange suitable binding for the document and later ship the bound project to the University headquarters for permanent archival storage.