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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 Institutional 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. 


Culminating Experience

Students in the M.A. in Multilingual and Multicultural Education and M.A. in Education - Curriculum & Instruction program must complete EDUC 698 - Master’s Culminating Experience Seminar (3 units) as part of the culminating experience for Master’s study. The culminating experience may be a thesis, a project, or a comprehensive examination. Master’s candidates must demonstrate they can analyze and synthesize research and evidence-based practices in the field of multicultural and multilingual education. Master’s candidates are encouraged to work collaboratively and may choose from a variety of forms to present their work.

The EDUC 698 course is an independent class to assist you in completing your culminating experience for your MA, either a research thesis or a curriculum project. A research thesis requires conducting a research study where data is collected and analyzed. A curriculum project is an original unit of curriculum instruction and materials to implement in an educational setting.  

Each option requires completion of 5 chapters:

  1. Statement of the Problem – Identify a problem in education you want to address & your plan
  2. Literature Review – Describe the latest research that will inform how you will address problem
  3. Methodology - Step-by-step procedures to implement research or to develop curriculum
  4. Research Data Presentation for Research Thesis or Curriculum Presentation for Curriculum Project
  5. Recommendations – Describe what you want educators to do based on your research findings or how to implement curriculum

It is recommended that you take EDUC 698 in the fall or spring semester, when professors are available for support. To minimize your need to repeat the class it is suggested that you do not register for the class until you have your first three chapters approved, so that you are set up for success in one semester. 

Make an appointment with your committee at the beginning of the semester and develop a timeline of what is due in order for you to complete your MA this semester. If you do not meet the deadlines, be prepared to take this course again next semester.

The EDUC 698 cougar course website is designed to assist you with the writing portion of the activity as well as provide resources for your research thesis and curriculum project development.