Synthesis Proposal Approval: You must submit a proposal before 30 Sep (in fall, for spring graduation) or before 15 Feb (in spring, for fall graduation). Graduate Faculty will consider proposals submitted after these dates for the following semester cycle.
First Deposit: No later than the second week of graduating semester (by 5:00pm on Friday). If you are not registered for other courses during the semester you are working on your synthesis paper, please register for COM 598 Synthesis Paper Research for 0.0 credit hours.
Completion of your Synthesis Paper: Please be aware that both the 3 semester rule and the 5 year rule both apply even if all you have left is your synthesis paper. See the Program Timeline for more information.
Your synthesis paper is a culminating manuscript demonstrating your understanding of communication theory, research, or practice. Its purpose is to exhibit knowledge of the academic discipline of communication and confirm effective analytical abilities and writing competencies. Because your synthesis paper should reflect your approved plan of study, it must be a substantially original work of scholarship, as opposed to a cosmetic revision of a paper previously completed for a course.
The requirements for your synthesis paper include:
A 1-2 page description of your synthesis project including, but not limited to:
a tentative thesis, purpose statement, or research question
a proposed methodology (i.e., extended literature or the use of empirical, interpretive, critical, or historical methods)
an explanation of the significance of this issue
a working bibliography
Must not exceed 25 pages (excluding reference list and appendices)
Must include review of literature demonstrating awareness of the appropriate literature in a specific area(s) of communication
May be a review essay, a limited original research project, or other project acceptable to your advisory committee
Your advisory committee will judge the work to be acceptable or unacceptable in four areas:
Quality of Thesis: Have you identified an important concept? Have you articulated an original thesis? Have you focused on critical relationships or critical concepts?
Quality of Supporting Arguments: Have you referred to the appropriate literature addressing the topic? Have you developed the arguments in support of the thesis with cogent reasoning and relevant evidence?
Quality of the Conclusions: Have you concluded with worthwhile ideas?
Overall Quality of the Writing: Have you provided a rationale as necessitated by your topic? Is the essay free of tangential material that is not in service of the argument? Do you use appropriate academic style? Do you support your assertions? Do you document correctly? Is your documentation in the right place? Is the paper clearly organized in a manner that serves the writer's argument?