M.A. Geography: Non-thesis Option
Guidelines for the Research Paper Requirement
A Towson University Geography M.A. candidate is expected to demonstrate a fundamental understanding of geographic research and an ability to conceive and conduct a research project. Therefore all geography graduate students must take Research Methods (GEOG 621). In addition, a TU Geography M.A. candidate either undertakes formal thesis research (thesis option), or writes a research paper (non-thesis option). The latter is submitted to the faculty for evaluation of its scholarly quality and presented either to the faculty or at an approved professional meeting or conference. The following outlines the requirements for the research paper for students pursuing the non-thesis option.
The research can be quantitative or qualitative in nature. The paper must either address a specific research question or problem (contingent upon the availability of data, etc.) or be a structured argument related to a body of literature. In either case the conceptual framework for the research paper must be well grounded in the literature. Students may opt to expand a previous paper written in an upper-level seminar or to research a new topic. Regardless of these choices, M.A. candidates undertaking this requirement must submit themselves to faculty supervision and to draw upon a faculty member's expertise concerning the proposed topic. A student must approach a geography faculty member to secure his or her willingness to supervise the research and to approve the proposed topic. This relationship will be formalized within the geography department via the submission and filing of a Non-thesis Research Paper Approval and Faculty Supervision Form. The form provides a checklist where the faculty supervisor indicates her or his approval of the various stages of the research paper's development from the title and problem statement (which are part of the proposal) through submission of the draft for faculty evaluation. Two copies of this form are required; one copy is placed in the student's graduate file and the other copy is retained by the student.
All non-thesis research proposals and subsequent papers are expected to contain the following elements:
When a faculty supervisor approves the draft of a paper, it must be submitted to the faculty for evaluation. If the paper is presented to the faculty, two copies must be submitted to the graduate director at least two weeks prior to the scheduled presentation. If the paper is presented at an approved professional meeting, two copies of the complete paper (not the presentation form) must be submitted to the graduate director for faculty evaluation; in addition two forms of proof of the presentation (the program and one other form of proof -conference registration, etc.) must accompany the copies.