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Graduate Students

General Resources for all Graduate Students:

Master’s students in the School of Education are required to produce a thesis or a project for their culminating experience. Doctoral students are required to produce a dissertation.

A thesis and dissertation require a submission to and an approval from CSUSM's Instituitional Review Board (IRB). A thesis and dissertation involves a systemic investigation and interaction with human subjects (e.g. adults, children) through interviews, observations, surveys, and other means of collecting information on human subjects.

A systemic investigation involves identifying a research question based on understanding previous research, using a research methodology (e.g., interviews, surveys, observations) to produce data which will then be analyzed and discussed in terms of theory and previous literature written about your topic, and publishing or presenting your work. 

However, if you are doing a project for your culminating experience as a master's student, you are not required to submit to the IRB. A project could involve:

Needs analysis: Identifies and attempts to solve specific problems. Asks specific questions generated from specific site. May or may not require literature reviews, discussion of methods, and theory. Used for specific groups, organizations, and institutions. The end product does not include a summary of the analysis but rather generates a solution or product.

Curriculum writing and program evaluation: Creating curriculum for regular classroom practices. Classroom students involved. May involve talking with and collecting samples from human participants. No required reflection on or writing of literature reviews, discussion of methods, and theory.

Developing manuals using existing materials and resources: May or may not involve talking or consulting with others. No required reflection on or writing of literature reviews, discussion of methods, and theory.

Note: Even though IRB review is not required for these types of activities, attention to ethics and human rights is essential. We recommend that you obtain release to use student material and/or provide an information sheet to students and parents about the activity. 

Program Specific Resources: