Research Requirements Policy

Op3.19-5 Research Requirement

Most of the Missouri State University master’s programs provide for either a Thesis, Seminar/Degree Paper Option, or Internship Option as the research component to be completed in partial fulfillment of the degree requirements. Refer to specific departmental regulations in this catalog regarding their research requirements.

Thesis option

A maximum of 6 hours of thesis credit shall be applied toward the minimum hours required for a master’s degree. Guidelines explaining the requirements for the preparation of a thesis are available in the Graduate College or online at (under Current Student Resources). Registration in a course number 799 and title designated "thesis" is limited to students pursuing completion of a thesis. A thesis is supervised by the student’s advisory committee, which consists of three to five persons. A minimum of three, including the chair of the committee, must be members of the Missouri State University Graduate Faculty. The thesis shall be approved by the committee and by the Graduate College before the degree is granted.

Seminar/degree paper option

This option requires the completion of an extensive seminar/degree paper or creative work. The advisor for the degree paper must approve the final research paper. In some cases, evidence of fulfillment of the research requirement is shown through the successful completion of a certain course. In other instances, evidence requires the advisor to complete a Seminar Report form that is approved by the Graduate College. Students should check with their academic department to determine if this form is required. Departments may or may not require an advisory committee for students electing the seminar/degree paper option for meeting the research requirement.

Internship option

A maximum of 6 hours of internship credit can be applied toward the minimum hours required for a master’s degree. Guidelines explaining the requirements for the completion of an Internship will be outlined by the department. An Internship receives prior approval, and is supervised by a MSU graduate faculty member and the internship site supervisor.

Research compliance requirements

Missouri State University requires that all research involving human subjects in any way, regardless of the source of support funds, must be reviewed by the Protection of Human Subjects Institutional Review Board (IRB) before it is undertaken. Applicants are required to complete online training before engaging in projects involving human participants. The Privacy Rule of the Human Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) contains additional requirements for anyone conducting human participant research that involves protected health information; online training is available on HIPAA for researchers. Research involving recombinant DNA techniques and other biohazards (e.g., infectious or venomous agents) must be reviewed by the Institutional Biosafety Committee (IBC). The IBC reviews the proposed research and consults with researchers on biosafety procedures; trains faculty, staff, and students involved in biohazardous research to obtain compliance with appropriate rules; and does surveillance of laboratory accidents involving biohazardous agents. The U.S. Public Health Service (PHS) Policy on Humane Care and Use of Laboratory Animals requires institutions to establish and maintain proper measures to ensure the appropriate care and use of all animals involved in research, research training, and biological testing activities conducted or supported by the PHS. In accordance with this policy, the University requires that all projects proposing to use live vertebrate animals be reviewed and approved by the Institutional Animal Care and Use Committee (IACUC). Participation in animal care and use training is required for anyone involved in using animals in research or teaching. Students, faculty, and staff who work with animals in educational and research activities are required to enroll in the Animal Occupational Health and Safety Program. This includes those who handle or are exposed to animal tissues, fluids, secretions and/or excretions, as well as those who handle cages and other equipment potentially exposed to animal tissues or excretions.

Graduate College

Complete information on training and documentation requirements can be found online through the Office of Research Administration. All required training and documentation must be done prior to initiating research. No research will be accepted by the Graduate College if these requirements are not met.