As a graduate student, your culminating project, whether it is a thesis, starred paper, creative work, portfolio, or dissertation, is a demonstration of your ability to research, analyze, integrate, synthesize, and reflect your expertise in your chosen field of study.
You have spent years on your post-secondary education, and all of those challenges and efforts are represented through this document.
Along with your committee members and mentors, the School of Graduate Studies understands that your work also represents St. Cloud State University. One of our priorities is to ensure that you are as proud of your work as we are. Our guidelines will lead you to a successful completion and submission.
An electronic thesis and dissertation (ETD) submission into the Institutional Repository (IR) at St. Cloud State University is integral for your culminating project to be accessed throughout the world.
To this point, works from students have been downloaded in almost 100 countries with frequency. This means that you are a representative of the University and your work is being used as a catalyst for someone else’s research in a particular field or subject, so quality and accessibility are common goals of the ETD process.
Each master's program at St. Cloud State University has one or more approved culminating project options listed in the University Catalog. Students, with the support of their advisor, select a culminating project as part of their master's degree program. The required credits are defined as part of the program curriculum and listed in the University Catalog.
A thesis is a document written in support of obtaining a graduate degree. It is usually longer than a research paper and thus completed over the course of two or more semesters. A thesis requires the demonstration of original academic research and evidence of capacity for critical analysis and the application of relevant disciplinary methods. The thesis is supervised by a committee of graduate faculty and an academic advisor; their formal approval of the selected topic, the defense, and the final approval to publish is required prior to the submission of the thesis to the University Repository, the final graduation requirement.
The student, committee chair, and culminating project committee must agree to one disciplinary-based style guide to follow for preparation of the culminating project.
A student interested in completing a creative work must show evidence of creative ability to selected committee members before being approved for this option.
The creative work includes a written statement of artistic intent and such supporting materials as are applicable. The statement of artistic intent may contain information such as a description of the work undertaken, the technique(s) involved in the work and related subject matter.
A field study examines a problem in educational administration and is completed as the culminating project for the Specialist Degree.
The content and structure of starred papers is determined by the department. Programs may require one or two starred papers for graduation. Starred papers often include a review of the relevant research and offer constructive and critical analysis of existing theories or viewpoints; or they may be a proposal to conduct research (e.g. first 3 chapters of a thesis); or a creative work including an analysis of its genre. Academic requirements for a starred paper do not generally include original research.
A capstone project includes the application of disciplinary-based research, or a similar experiential assignment and other work completed for a capstone course. The department determines the requirements in order to receive a letter grade for the capstone course.
A written examination is designed to demonstrate understanding and integration of learning in the program. It may also be preparatory for state and national licensing examinations.
A portfolio is a significant professional project, or a portfolio of projects prepared in conjunction with approved graduate courses or internship(s) in the major area of concentration.
Each program determines the format of the portfolio or e-portfolio. Students should consult with the program advisor/committee chair. The department may exercise the right to retain any or all materials prepared for the portfolio or project or require a digital file or permanent link to an e-portfolio.
Portfolios are not required to be submitted to the institutional repository. A portfolio submitted to the Repository for publication must be formatted according to a disciplinary style guide or School of Graduate Studies’ guidelines. The committee must approve the final version of the portfolio prior to publication in The Repository.
Notify the School of Graduate Studies by email if you wish to submit your portfolio to the Institutional Repository.
Doctoral Culminating Project
Each doctoral program at St. Cloud State University requires the completion of a dissertation as a culminating project.
A dissertation reflects the disciplinary knowledge and understanding of relevant methods and theories gained through the program and focuses on a topic of interest to the student that contributes to the body of knowledge in the field of study.
The student must:
The dissertation reflects the knowledge gained through the program and focuses on a topic of interest to the student that contributes to the body of knowledge in the field of study.
We offer several online workshops every semester that include a short seminar on how to format your culminating project and question and answer time. Dates, information and Zoom link in Huskies Connect
School of Graduate Studies - Culminating Project Support is available in D2L-Brightspace as a self-registration course. This free course will publish important dates, centralize relevant resources, and provide need-to-know information for graduate students. Basically, this site has everything you need to know about your culminating project, whether it is a dissertation, thesis, starred paper, professional portfolio, or creative work.
Our searchable Repository archives culminating projects, which may be a thesis, dissertation, starred paper or creative work, depending on the candidate's program.
Each year the Faculty Association Graduate Committee and School of Graduate Studies recognize one outstanding thesis completed during the last academic year or summer.
This winner may also be submitted as St. Cloud State University's nominee for the Midwestern Association of Graduate Schools Distinguished Thesis Award.
Each master’s program with a thesis option is encouraged to select and submit one outstanding thesis.
Each master’s program with a thesis option is encouraged to select and submit an outstanding thesis.
Submit nomination materials to the School of Graduate Studies by 4 p.m. on Oct. 19.
Formatting and ETD Graduate Assistant
School of Graduate Studies
101 Administrative Services Building
720 Fourth Avenue South
St. Cloud, MN 56301-4498
Each university in the Midwest is allowed to submit one thesis in each category (2024 categories are Biological and Life Sciences; and, Humanities).
From these, the Midwestern Association of Graduate Schools Distinguished Thesis Award is chosen.
If selected by MAGS, the student receives a $750 honorarium and travel expenses to attend the annual Midwestern Association of Graduate Schools conference.