Texas Tech University

Master's Report vs. Thesis Project: What’s the Difference?

Alana Krafsur

January 10, 2020

CoMC Office of Graduate Studies

In the College of Media & Communication Graduate Program, master's students must complete a final research project in the form of a master's report or thesis project. Find out which of the two options is the best fit for your aspirations.

Master's Report

The master's report, MCOM 6050, is the final course which all master's students on the professional track or sports media track must complete before attaining their degree. Completing an applied research project provides portfolio material and proves that students are masters of their crafts. Similar to an independent study, this course is completed with the help of a professor who serves as an adviser and helps oversee the research project. A “6050 project” takes one semester to complete.

There are three different forms of 6050 projects:

  1. A project completed for an organization as an employee, intern or volunteer.
  2. A project completed for an organization not as an employee, intern or volunteer.
  3. A project in an area of student interest.

Required elements:

  • Secure an idea.
  • Choose a CoMC faculty adviser.
  • Complete an approved project proposal.
  • Collect original data.
  • Write a report.
  • Present work in an oral presentation.

Previous master's report projects have included:

  • Politics, Social Media & the 2020 Democratic Primary – Logan McDonald
  • An Analysis of Best Practices in Industry Application of Neuromarketing Research – Linh Nguyen
  • Reestablishing Trust in News Media – David Olshansky
  • Crisis Management in International Non-Profit Governmental Organizations – Simranjit Singh

Student Testimonials

Casey Montalvo, Sports Media Focus:

"My 6050 project focuses on comparing male and female sports fans based on how the media frames them, specifically Texas Tech fans. As a woman who wants to work in the sports communications industry after I graduate, this topic intrigued me. I am a communications intern for Texas Tech Athletics, and since my research is tailored to TTU specifically, I can give them my results."

Alana Krafsur, Professional Track:

"With a passion for the women's rights industry, I am focusing my 6050 project on a large-scale event I coordinated, “Female Genital Mutilation: A Survivor's Story.” My research seeks to find ways to market human rights issues to increase emotional engagement and generate action. What I like most about the CoMC graduate program is there are many directions you can take for a 6050 project. You can tailor your interests to align with your professional aspirations."

Thesis Project

Master's students on the thesis track must complete original research that increases our understanding of media and communication phenomena and theory. Completing a thesis prepares master's students for in-depth studies in theory and research, and provides the foundation for the pursuit of a Ph.D. degree. A thesis project takes at least two semesters to complete.

Required elements:

  • Secure an idea.
  • Choose an adviser and faculty committee.
  • Complete an approved thesis proposal.
  • Collect original data.
  • Write a report.
  • Present work in an oral presentation.

Previous thesis projects have included:

  • Why do People Use Memes to Talk About Politics? Application of Uses & Gratifications Theory to Political Memes – Bingbing Zhang
  • Transporting, Identifying and Expanding: Superheroes in Series Television – Jeanette Moya
  • Creativity and Healing: How Creative Media Help Us Cope with Mental Illness – Bethany Pitchford

Student Testimonials

Bethany Pitchford, Thesis Track:

"While I started out on the 6050 track, I realized early on that I was probably going to want to pursue a Ph.D., so I switched to the thesis track. The overarching question of my thesis relates to how creativity helps people cope with, and communicate about, their mental illness to others. Ultimately, I enjoyed writing a thesis because it provided me the space to explore questions I was, and still am, highly curious about."

Camden Smith, Thesis Track:

"I believe a thesis is absolutely preparing me to go into academia and enroll in a doctoral program. I think if I was more eager to get back to the industry, I would be on the 6050 track; however, this track is really helping keep my eyes on the prize – which is a doctoral dissertation."

To learn more about the graduate program, email graduate.comc@ttu.edu


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