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Thesis or Enhanced Research Paper

A thesis or enhanced research paper (ERP), developed under the supervision of Policy Center faculty members, is required for the Master’s degree.

The thesis or the ERP serves as a capstone experience of the Policy Center Program.  Both options present an opportunity to explore independently and extensively an area of personal interest.  They also provide an opportunity for students to work closely with Policy Center faculty.  Both projects must reflect a substantive engagement with relevant theoretical and methodological issues and policy questions.

The difference between the thesis and the ERP is primarly one of scope. The thesis should be approximately 60 pages (excluding tables, figures, and bibliography) and includes a public oral defense. In contrast, the ERP should be more narrowly focused, is approximately 30 pages, plus a 5-page policy memorandum.  Students give an oral presentation, rather than a public defense.

Policy Center graduate Andy Smith discusses his Master's thesis research: