(note: this information applies to students who began the MA program by the Fall 2016 semester or afterwards. If you began before Fall 2016, please contact the Graduate Advisor for more information regarding your Final Project requirement)
Students must complete a final project based on original, community or studio research and presented in the form of a report or paper, or as a video, art, or web exhibition.
As original research, the final project requires strong and well-structured research elements such as the research question, literature review, methods, and analysis. Students however have a lot of flexibility in how to present their research findings in their Final Project. As such, a Final Project may present the research findings in the form of a traditional research paper, a policy report, or other academic paper, or it may take the form of a creative product such as a website showcasing research, a podcast, a documentary film, a documentary photography project, or another form of creative output. The research process remains the same, but the student may choose the medium for presenting the research findings in the Final Project.
The Final Project process requires two distinct steps: the project Proposal and the Final Project itself.
1. Proposal for the Final Project
The Proposal for the Final Project must adhere to these guidelines.
Deadline: Students must have their final project proposal approved by the Graduate Advisor by one semester BEFORE they intend to graduate. For example, if you plan to graduate in the Spring semester, the proposal should be approved by no later than the end of the preceding Fall semester.
- This proposal should be submitted by email to the Graduate Advisor, and students may expect to make revisions before they begin their project.
- Students may also have project advisement from a specific faculty member who is an expert on their topic. The student must first approach and gain the consent of the faculty member to serve as their final project advisor. The student must then inform and gain the approval of the Graduate Advisor on this arrangement for final project advisement. In this case, the final project advisor may approve of the final project proposal in consultation with the Graduate Advisor.
The Graduate advisor may assign you to for final project supervision by other faculty if they are available and have expertise on your topic.
2. The Final Project
- Students should expect that the time required for process for research and writing/producing the Final Project will take at least one semester.
- Students must submit Final Project products based on the deadlines set by the Graduate Advisor and/or final project advisor. Students should expect that drafts of the Final Project will be due at least 4-6 weeks before the end of the semester to allow for thorough reviews and revisions. If you require the Graduate Advisor to review your Final Project in Spring 2020, here are the deadlines:
- Drafts of Final Project: April 15th
- Final Draft of Final Project: May 7th
- If the Final Project is not completed and approved by the last day of the semester, then the student must finish the Final Project in a subsequent semester.
Guidelines for Final Projects – here are specific guidelines to help students understand the expectations for the different kinds of Final Project products:
- Research Paper
- Policy Report
- Creative Visual Project (documentary, website, photo essay, etc.)
- Podcast Project
Here are two examples of exemplary Creative Final Projects:
- Tabashshum Islam: Poetic Representation of Immigrant Bengali Women. In this project, Tabashshum interviewed Bengali women about immigration experiences and worked with the women in a participatory process to create research poetry based on the interview themes. Tabashshum also wrote a companion research paper describing the academic theory and research methodology for her project.
- Sharon Palmer: The Genesis of an Exodus (see Youtube video below). In this project, Sharon interviews upwardly mobile black Brooklynites on the various psychological and social issues and challenges that face them in navigating housing decisions in gentrifying Brooklyn.
Courses that provide support for the Final Project:
URBST 791: Approximately once a year and usually in the spring semester, URBST 791 may be offered as class to help students write their Final Projects as research papers or policy reports.
URBST 785: Students may request independent study credits for their Final Project if a student find a faculty member who is willing to serve as their final project advisor. After securing the consent of the faculty advisor, the student must make the request for the independent study to the Graduate Advisor and Department Chair who will have final approval over the independent study request.