Special Projects

The Project Thesis Option allows graduate students the flexibility to create a thesis project tailor-made to advance their career goals.

Students are required to develop a professional creative product, such as a magazine/newspaper article series, podcast series, video production, or advertising/PR campaigns. This is much more than a class assignment, requiring as much research as a master’s thesis. 

JOUR 5023 Theory and JOUR 5043 Research Methods provide the foundation and guidelines for completing a master’s thesis in the School of Journalism and Strategic Media. 

During the first semester, students should take JOUR5023 Theory and learn various mass communication/mass media theories and find the thesis topic. Then, students can develop a literature review for the thesis. 

During the second semester, students should take JOUR5043 Research Methods and learn how to design the methodology for their hypothesis and research questions developed from JOUR5023 Theory. Students are given a template for a thesis proposal in JOUR 5043. 

The Special Project Thesis must include the following:

  1. Introduction: A brief description of the background information, problems, theories used, hypotheses & research questions, and methodology. 
  2. Literature review: a literature review of the relevant academic/scholarly and industry research literature (i.e., research articles, not opinion pieces or features, etc.) to provide extensive background, findings, and detail on the student’s thesis topic. A minimum of 10 double-spaced pages up to 20 or 30 pages of text (not including the references section) and a minimum of 20 scholarly and industry research sources (not news stories, opinion pieces, feature stories, etc., but academic and/or industry research articles). Then, hypotheses and/or research questions (practical questions to the industry) are proposed.
  3. Methodology: varies depending on the project and advisor. Describe the way to gather data to answer hypotheses & research questions. Although the project does not necessarily constitute original research, it must include research, along with the methodology – interviews, survey or archival research. 
  4. Results or description of completed project: Describe the final project. 
  5. Discussion: Reflection on your final project – comparison with previous work in the industry, theoretical and practical implications, and limitations. 
  6. Appendixes: survey questions, original script, collateral materials etc. 

Journalism graduate theses are compliled on a ScholarWorks repository.

Students are expected to follow the graduate school’s thesis guidelines found at https://graduate-and-international.uark.edu/_resources/forms/thesis-dissertation-guide.pdf. Student must give an oral defense of their completed theses before their thesis committee members.