Senior Project/Research Paper Policy and Guidelines

Application for Senior Project/Paper

  1. Application for a senior project or research paper will be submitted by the student prior to the semester in which the student will begin the project. The student’s application must meet all requirements and deadlines as established by the Program’s faculty in which the student is matriculated.
  2. The Senior Project/Research Paper application must be approved by the Program Advisor, Department Chair, and/or School Dean.
  3. All projects/research papers are to be completed during the semester specified on the application.

Assignment of Faculty Project Advisor

  1. Students request a Faculty Project Advisor (hereafter referred to as either Project Advisor or Advisor). Selection depends upon availability of the faculty member and the faculty member’s acceptance of the assignment.
  2. Faculty advisors may be assigned; however, acceptance of the assignment is voluntary.
  3. The Advisor must receive a signed statement from the student that the student understands the time commitment for Independent projects before the selection of the Faculty Review Committee begins.

3 cr. = 7.5 hrs/wk for 15 weeks (112.5 hours)
6 cr. = 15.0 hrs/wk for 15 weeks (225 hours)
9 cr. = 22.5 hrs/wk for 15 weeks (337.5 hours)
12 cr. = 30.0 hrs/wk for 15 weeks (450 hours)
15 cr. = 37.5 hrs/wk for 15 weeks (562.5 hours)

A maximum of 15 credit hours towards graduation may be earned through completion of the senior project/paper.

Selection of Faculty Review Committee

  1. The Review Committee will be comprised of three SUNY Canton faculty members: the Project Advisor, a faculty member selected from within the student’s School, and a faculty member selected from another School within SUNY Canton.
  2. Either the student or the Advisor may nominate the members of the review committee; however, the final selection requires approval of the Project Advisor.

Proposal Guidelines

  1. The student will discuss and plan their project/paper under advisement of their Project Advisor.
    1. A discipline-related issue must be selected for study.
    2. Existing research and publication on the topic must be collected and evaluated.
    3. The student will consult with the Advisor regarding the overall program design process. Students may seek research help from and librarians as needed.
    4. An initial annotated bibliography must be prepared.
  2. The student, in consultation with the Advisor, will prepare a detailed project/ paper proposal plan for review by the Advisor.
    1. The topic or project must address a significant issue or problem.
    2. A timeline for the project from beginning to end must be developed, including notation of phases: an organized plan of investigation, study, and project/paper development.
    3. The proposal plan must discuss any particular challenges that need to be overcome.
  3. The Project Advisor will review and approve the proposal for review by the Review Committee.
  4. The Review Committee will accept the proposal or make recommendations for revision of the proposal.
  5. Review Committee acceptance of the Senior Project or Research Paper proposal is necessary prior to the student beginning the project or paper.

Project/Research Paper Implementation Guidelines

  1. Following the guidance of the Project Advisor, the student will implement the project/research as detailed in the proposal.
  2. The student will meet with the Advisor periodically, as determined in the project plan, to present portions of work, discuss the project, and seek input assistance from the Advisor.
  3. Progress Reports
    1. Students are to write a midterm progress report to be submitted to the Advisor one week prior to the due date for midterm grades.
    2. The Advisor will use the progress report and any other available indicators to assign a midterm grade.
  4. Review Process
    1.  Written paper/project report
      1. Project Advisor will review and approve the paper/project report for presentation to the Review Committee.
      2. Committee members will review and evaluate the written project based on a standardized rubric agreed upon by the Program’s faculty to score the written text prior to and anticipating the oral defense.
    2. Oral defense of project/research paper
      1. Student will arrange the location and time of oral defense by contacting all committee members.
      2. Student will orally defend the project.
      3. The Review Committee will use a standardized, oral-presentation, defense-scoring rubric agreed upon by the Program’s faculty to evaluate the student.


  1. Senior paper/project grade will be based on the average cumulative scores determined by the members of the Committee in review of the oral defense and written report.
    1. Projects/papers will be graded in accordance with all proposal agreed upon conditions and expectations.
    2. Students are to write a midterm progress report to be submitted to the Advisor one week prior to the due date for midterm grades.
    3. The Advisor will use the progress report and any other available indicators to assign a midterm grade.
  2. Students will be eligible to receive credit hours as established in the project proposal. The quality of work will neither increase nor decrease credit-hour eligibility.

Project/Research Paper Proposal; Written Report; and Oral Defense Recommended Structure, Format, Process, and Definitions

  1. Title Page
    Includes short descriptive title of the proposed project, author, college, department, Project Advisor, and date of delivery
  2. Abstract
    1. Contains brief summary of the study proposal
    2. 200 words or less
    3. Brief introduction to the issue under study
    4. Provides summary of how the student addressed the study
  3. Table of Contents
    1. Lists all headings and subheadings
    2. Indented subheadings
  4. Introduction
    1. Sets the context for the proposal and should capture the reader’s interest
    2. Explains the background of the study from a broad picture narrowing to the specifics of study
    3. Reviews what is known about the subject specific to the proposed study
    4. Includes relevant citations
    5. Written at a level that makes it easy to understand for readers with a generalist background in the topic
  5. Thesis Statement
    1. Brief paragraph stating the position of the study
    2. Can take the form of a question, project statement, or goal statement
    3. Should capture the essence of the intended study and help put boundaries on it
  6. Approach and Methods
    Determined by discipline
  7. Findings and Discussion
    1. Presents information obtained
    2. Discusses how the results/findings fit into the framework of the project
  8. Implications of Study
  9. Reflective Statement
    1. The purpose of the reflective statement is for the student to reflect and discuss the learning process inherent in the project.
    2. The elements contained in the reflective chapter can include: value, challenges, and learning consequences of a senior project; what the student discovered in the process of developing a senior project about his/her understanding of the subject matter, working with mentoring faculty, themselves as a learner; and upon reflection, how the experience may be of value to them in their future occupational and professional development.
    3. The reflective chapter, although noted in the outline and project proposal, is not completed by the student until towards the end of the project; it is recommended that the student keep a “journal” of reflection to assist in the development of the chapter.
  10. Reference/Works Cited List
    1. Appropriate documentation style on all project documents
    2. Statements supported with data or a reference
    3. Parenthetical in-text citations
  11. Grammar and Spelling
    The paper/project report will be evaluated for format, grammar, and spelling.

The paper must be written clearly enough to help the reader understand the material, summaries, conclusions, and linking of information.