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Program of Study

Final Project

CSPAThe purpose of the master's Final Project in the College Student Personnel Administration program is to allow the student the opportunity to engage in basic research that addresses a relevant educational issue in a parsimonious, coherent and documented manner resulting in a finished product that leads to increased knowledge in the field and prepares the student for future research endeavors. Additionally, students will develop basic research skills that apply to the work of student affairs professionals. A student may select from the following projects categories including: (1) action research or (2) qualitative (5-6 interviews/2-3 focus groups).

The final project sequence consists of EPFR 503 (Research in Higher Education) (3 credits) followed by EDAD 594 (Final Project) (6 credits).  IN EPFR 503, students will learn qualitative research methods to prepare and begin to consider their research topic. In EDAD 594 students prepare a proposal for the final project and then carry out the research, write a paper reporting on the research, and orally defend their paper. The final project paper is intended to be completed in three semesters, generally during the final semester of the program unless otherwise approved by the student’s faculty advisor or Graduate Program Director. 

The Oral Defense of the Project will normally take place at the end of EDAD 594. Students will participate if their Final Project Chair deems their project to be ready for the defense. The form of the defense varies, and the EDAD 594 instructor will provide students with the format and guidelines for that particular semester.

CSPA students can also apply for funding for a small research grant through a program Research Grants for Graduate Students (RGGS). A few CSPA students are often selected when they apply because of the quality of our final projects!

Past Student Topic Examples

  1. Experiences of Deaf Students with College Student Affairs Departments
  2. Barriers of Career development and Success among African American women at Historically Black Colleges and Universities and Predominantly White Institutions
  3. An Examination of Transfer Students and How They Form a Sense of Belonging
  4. Working Twice as Hard: Examining the Lived Experiences of African American Students at Predominantly White Institutions Based on Campus Racial Climates
  5. Moral Development of Sorority Women: A Qualitative Study
  6. Build It For They Will Come : How LGBTQ Centers and Campus Resources Support and Enhance the Experiences of LGBTQ Students
  7. Test-optional Admissions and its Use at Universities 
  8. How Are Students with Learning Disabilities Perceived in Higher Education
  9. The Experience of African African Women Working as Student Affairs Professionals at Predominately White Institutions (PWIs)
  10. Live-in Staff Satisfaction within Residence Life

Recent Student Publications

Some CSPA students even publish their research in peer-reviewed journals with our CSPA full-time faculty! 

Gilbert, M., Sasso, P. A., & Puchner, L. (in press). Stress Management & coping strategies in undergraduate students at a Midwestern state university.  New York Journal of Student Affairs

Arnold, M. & Sasso, P. A. (2018). Institutional differences in accommodation and outreach of non-traditional spiritual belief groups. Journal of College & Character, 19(2), 122-145.

Schneider, D. & Sasso, P. A. (2017, November). Benefits and feasibility of intrusive advising:  Advisor and faculty perceptions. The Mentor: An Academic Advising Journal, 1-25.

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