The Research Proposal

All MA candidates must present a research proposal to their advisory committee prior to beginning a research project.

Plan I (Thesis Option)

Hands of a student taking notes on a laptop. A Plan I proposal involves original research conducted by the candidate. All committee members must approve your proposal. If the project involves the use of human subjects then the student should submit the appropriate documents to the UAB Institutional Review Board for Human Use (IRB). You may submit to the IRB before presenting the proposal to the committee with the understanding that the committee may require changes to the research design that will necessitate resubmitting to the IRB.

The committee does not necessarily have to meet as a group to approve the proposal, but each member must sign off on it.

Plan II (Non-thesis Option)

A Plan II proposal is a project that demonstrates to your advisor that you are capable of conducting Master’s level work. This project may take multiple forms, and must be negotiated with, and approved of, by the advisory committee. Ultimately, what differentiates Plan I from Plan II is that plan II has an applied, pragmatic focus using theory to illuminate real-world issues. Options include, but are not limited to, an organizational analysis or audit, a communication manual, a case study, or the construction of a consulting plan.

A Plan II option may be satisfied through additional coursework.

Project Timetable

After the proposal has been approved, you will submit a timetable for completing the project to your advisor. The timetable should reflect whatever milestones are deemed reasonable by the advisor (i.e. data collection, literature review, fist draft, etc.). All Plan I or II projects may not be defended within four months of the proposal being approved by the student’s committee.

  • All Plan I thesis projects must be submitted in their final form according to the timetables set forth by the UAB Graduate School. The Graduate School must approve your thesis before you can graduate.
  • All Plan II projects must be submitted for final committee approval at least one month before the end of the semester in which you graduate.

Defense of Final Project

All Plan I thesis projects need to be approved by a majority on your Advisory Committee after an oral defense of the final project. A Defense of Thesis will be scheduled and advertised by your academic advisor. The defense will be open to departmental graduate students and interested UAB Faculty. After the defense the committee may elect to:

  • Accept the thesis as is, at which point you apply for your degree.
  • Conditionally accept the thesis contingent upon certain changes being made to it. Once the changes have been approved you apply for your degree.
  • Reject the thesis. You may resubmit a new proposal and begin a second project. If your second thesis is also rejected, your status as a graduate student in the department will be terminated.

Once the thesis is accepted you must prepare the final document according to the standards of the UAB Graduate School. You may then apply for your degree.

Note: Plan II (non-thesis) defenses do not require a formal oral defense of the project, but the advisor and committee members may accept your final work with the same options of the thesis defense.Save