Graduate Paper Requirement

The following are written guidelines for the "Paper of Publishable Quality" required for graduation in the Planning graduate program. Papers may vary considerably based on individual student and faculty interests. However, it is expected each paper shall include the student's research representing a contribution to the field (rather than only a review of existing work by others). The following procedures represent the consensus opinion on how this requirement can best be satisfied.

Step 1

The student, working with a faculty member s/he selects, shall define a topic for study. The topic shall be presented through a Problem Statement (minimum 750 words in length) defining the "problem" (topic) the student will research and give a preliminary indication of the method of research to be used. The Problem Statement will include the following:

  • A sentence beginning with the phrase "The purpose of this paper is to. . ."
  • At least five annotated literature references relating to the topic;
  • Approval of the Problem Statement by the selected faculty advisor.

Step 2

Submission of a first draft.  A first draft typically will include the following sections:

  • Introduction
  • Review of relevant literature
  • Method of research analysis
  • Presentation and explanation of findings
  • Summary and conclusions

A review by the adviser should include indications of deficiencies, which may include:

  • Insufficient or inappropriate content
  • Unacceptable writing technique
  • Undocumented data, statements or quotes
  • Incomplete review of relevant literature
  • Inappropriate use of methodology
  • Inappropriate use of statistical data

Step 3

The student shall rewrite the paper as required and when in final draft form shall resubmit it to the faculty paper adviser. The adviser shall give signed approval when fully satisfied with the work, or may choose to have it reviewed by a second reader.

Step 4

A copy of the final paper shall be submitted to a URP Program faculty member as part of the student's record. The paper will be included in the programs' library of student papers and made available for review by other students.