Culminating Experience

Department Culminating Experience Guide


Graduate Studies Thesis/Project Formatting Guidelines and Timeline
Available at
http://www.csun.edu/research-graduate-studies/thesisdissertation-and-graduate-project-deadlines
The Culminating Experience OVERVIEW:

This is the final academic activity required for all Master’s degrees awarded in the CSU. Students in our program must complete one of three culminating experience options:

1. Comprehensive examination:
The comprehensive exam in our department involves writing 8-10 papers that can draw from research used in other courses; students select the topic of these papers in coordination with their examination chairperson. The final exam involves answering three (3) of the questions during a three-hour timed exam that is held approximately four (4) weeks before the end of the semester.

2. Project: A Master’s Project is similar to a thesis except that rather than collecting and analyzing data, students do a literature review that is used to create a unique professional project, such as group therapy curriculum, professional workshop, or webpage.

3. Thesis: The traditional culminating experience for a Master’s degree, the thesis involves designing a qualitative or quantitative research study, collecting data, and analyzing data.

Note: In most cases, culminating experiences require at least two semesters to complete; thesis typically requires three or more semesters. Students select a committee, and complete and submit required forms and paperwork within the timeframes.

Culminating Experience Chair:
For all three culminating experience options the committee chairperson must be a full time tenure-track faculty member in the EPC department.
Committee: may include part-time faculty or professional in the field.
Comprehensive Exam (Comps):
  • A total of 8-10 questions are developed and answered by the student and a written examination on three of the questions. The number of paper necessary is determined by the chair based on the specificity and technical aspects of the papers so that the breadth of the curriculum is covered, including at minimum: family therapy theories, diagnosis, law and ethics, diversity, and research. The papers may be based on other projects or papers completed during the program.
  • The student prepares a paper for each question.
  • The student selects a committee consisting of a chair and one member/reader.
  • The student obtains a Comprehensive Exam card from the EPC Graduate Secretary. The card must be signed by the comprehensive committee chair and reader. Students return the card to the department secretary.
  • The exam is held approximately four (4) weeks before the end of the semester.
  • Students typically enroll in EPC 695 for the first semester (Independent Study) and EPC 697 Directed Comprehensive Studies during the last semester of the program.

Graduate Project:
  • Involves the design of a product, such as a curriculum, a workshop, webpage, a guidebook, a video, or a unique approach to a particular therapeutic method or teaching model.
  • The student provides a justification for the product based on a comprehensive review of the research literature, needs assessment, and consultation with experts in the field.
  • Students must contribute something new and/or significant to the field.
  • The student selects a committee one year prior to the anticipate date of graduation. The committee consists of a chair (full time faculty member) and two committee members (part time faculty member or professional in the field).
  • The student obtains a Thesis/Graduate Project Planning form from the EPC Graduate Secretary or the Graduate Studies Office. The form must be signed by the committee chair and members and returned to the EPC Graduate Secretary.
  • Takes at least two semesters to complete.
  • The student enrolls in EPC 698C Thesis/Graduate Project during the last two semesters of the program.
  • For more information download Thesis/Graduate Project guidelines from the Graduate Studies website (http://www.csun.edu/grip/graduatestudies/thesis/).

Thesis:

  • Involves the design and implementation of empirical research.
  • The student designs an original study, obtain and/or develop data collection tools, organize and implement data collections, input and analyze the data, and write the results and conclusions based on the data.
  • Select a committee one-two years prior to the anticipate date of graduation. The committee consists of a chair (full time faculty member) and two committee members (part time faculty member).
  • Generally takes 3 semesters to complete.
  • Enroll in EPC 698C Thesis/Graduate Project during the last two or more semesters of the program.
  • For more information download Thesis/Graduate project guidelines from the Graduate Studies website (http://www.csun.edu/research-graduate-studies/thesisdissertation-guidelines)

Human Subjects:
  • Receive approval from the CSUN Advisory Committee for the Protection of Human Subjects prior to commencing the thesis or project study.
  • The Human Subjects Committee meets once a month (every fourth Tuesday) to review requests and requires that all paperwork is submitted at least two (2) weeks prior to the meeting date by 5 PM.
  • Detailed information about the process can be found on the Office of Research website http://www.csun.edu/grip/research/humanresearch/ or go to www.csun.edu/, search “Office of Research”.



Culminating Experience Tips:
  • Deadlines for culminating activities occur well before the end of the semester. Generally, students must be done with all writing by October 31 in the fall or March 30 in the spring to meet required deadlines.
  • Your work must be approved by your chair and all committee members in order to graduate.
  • Allow one month at the end for binding, committee revisions, Graduate Study approval, and exam scheduling.
  • Allow 1-2 months for re-writes and other unexpected issues to arise.
  • If your Thesis or Graduate Project is due at the end of a fall semester, summer break is a great time to get ahead with some of your research and writing.
  • Generally, faculty members are not available during the summer for advising on projects and thesis.
  • The dedicated Psychology and Educational Psychology Librarian should be one of your best friends while working on your culminating experience:

Psychology & Educational Psychology Librarian:
Eric P. Garcia
Oviatt Library 18111 Nordhoff St. Northridge, CA 91330-8328
Office Location: Oviatt Library #226 (Second Floor) Phone: (818) 677-6809 Fax: (818) 677-4136 Email: eric.garcia@csun.edu