Comprehensive Project Guidelines


The comprehensive project provides an opportunity for you to demonstrate an understanding of the knowledge gained through your masters degree program. Your project will focus on a relevant subject area that is of particular interest to you and, if applicable, of benefit to your employer.

Extent of the Project

A comprehensive project must be more than a term paper based on library research. It should involve the application of management and scientific techniques to a unique problem or task with the potential of contributing to the solution of the problem and producing change. However, the comprehensive project is not expected to be an original solution to the problem.

You must document in the project proposal that the comprehensive project will be an original work product that is a result of your own independent investigation and analysis. Factual situations encountered as part of your professional work experience may be used as the basis of a comprehensive project; however, your project will be assessed based on the quantity and quality of independent thought and analysis applied to the facts at issue. In the case where the comprehensive project is involved with or builds on your professional work experience, the resulting comprehensive project must still satisfy the expectations of your advisor, which could mean additional work will be needed beyond that imposed by your employer.

The comprehensive project is completed with ENGR 699, generally during a student’s final semester in the program. For further information related to a specific program’s requirements related to the comprehensive project students should contact their academic advisor.

Applicable Courses (Students in Technology Management Program)

The comprehensive project is completed within the following three credit course:

TM 699 Technology Management Comprehensive Project

A Comprehensive Project Proposal, approved by your advisor, is required prior to registering for TM 699. You must have completed 27 credit hours to register for TM699. Once a Project Proposal has been approved you may begin working on the project prior to registering for TM699. The Comprehensive Project is expected to be completed the semester you are enrolled in TM699. Successful completion of TM 699 requires the Comprehensive Project Final Report and Oral Defense.

Topic Selection

Selection of an appropriate topic is done in consultation with your academic advisor. Typically, this occurs during the semester you are enrolled in TE698. For Technology Management students, topic selection is completed in consultation with your advisor. You must confer with your advisor on possible topics, as your advisor must confirm that a topic is appropriate for the Comprehensive Project. It may be necessary to conduct some preliminary research on a topic to confirm that there is enough information available to complete the comprehensive project. Topic Section is not approved until a written Proposal is submitted and signed by your advisor.

Proposal Format

The proposal provides a summary of the topic, methodology, deliverables and time schedule for the Comprehensive Project.
The Proposal normally should follow the specific format given below, but may be amended at your academic advisor’s request or approval:

  • Cover page
    College name
    Degree you are pursuing, include area of emphasis if appropriate
    Advisor’s name
    Contact information: Name, address, phone, email address
  • Objective
    What you plan to achieve through completion of the project.
  • Background Information
    Factual, descriptive information concerning the situation, processes, etc. that will be involved in the project.
  • Methodology
    Processes, procedures, and resources that will be utilized to complete the project.
  • Relevancy
    How will you utilize and apply information gained during course work.
  • Deliverables
  • Justification of project
    Type of analysis to be employed, expected results (if applicable), project deliverables (i.e., report, computer program, etc.), benefits provided by project)
  • Time Schedule
    Specific date for submission of Project Report.

Approval of Comprehensive Project Proposal

Your academic advisor has the final approval on the Project Proposal. Your academic advisor will review the Project Proposal and notify you if the proposal has been approved or requires revision. When approved, you will receive a signed copy of the proposal. This process occurs during the semester you are enrolled in TE698. For Technology Management students, approval of the Project Proposal must occur prior to registration for TM 699.


For students in Programs other than Technology Management, you must complete a minimum of 17 credit hours of work toward a degree to register for TE698 Comprehensive Project I and a minimum of 27 credit hours to register for TE699 Comprehensive Project II. You can begin work on the comprehensive project before actually registering for the TE699 course. However, you must have an approved Project Proposal prior to starting work on the Comprehensive Project. The Comprehensive Project Report is expected to be completed by the end of the semester you are registered for TE699.

For students in the Technology Management Program, you must complete a minimum of 27 credit hours and have an approved Project Proposal to register for TM699. The Comprehensive Project Report is expected to be completed by the end of the semester you are registered for TM699.

A draft of the Final Project Report should be submitted to your advisor for review at least six weeks prior to the end of the semester. This will allow your advisor to return the draft Report for revision. If a substantial revision of the project is required, you may be asked to withdraw from the course. The final date for withdrawal is the tenth Friday in a regular term. A grade of “W” is assigned. If you choose not to withdraw and substantial work remains, you may risk receiving a failing grade on the project.

When all revisions to the Final Project Report are completed, submit three (3) copies of the Final Project Report to your advisor. These copies will be distributed to your Comprehensive Project Committee. The Committee should be given one (1) week to review the Final Project Report. After review by the committee, a Project Defense (oral examination) is scheduled, unless the previous review indicates that significant revisions to the report will be needed; in the case where significant revisions are needed, a revised submittal to the committee for review may be required before scheduling the Project Defense. After the project defense, make any requested changes to the Final Project Report and submit three (3) revised copies to your advisor prior to the end of the final examination period.

Comprehensive Project Committee

A Comprehensive Project Committee composed of your academic advisor and two additional faculty will evaluate the Final Comprehensive Project Report and the Project Defense. All formal committee members must have Graduate Faculty status at Marshall University.

Comprehensive Project Report

The Comprehensive Project Report is a scientific report documenting your work on the comprehensive project.

The Report should follow the specific format given below, unless modifications are approved/requested by your academic advisor:

  • Cover Page
    College name
    Degree you are pursuing, include area of emphasis if appropriate
    Advisor’s name
    Contact information: Name, address, phone, email address
  • Abstract (with keywords)
  • Acknowledgements
  • Introduction
  • Literature Review
  • Research Methods
  • Results
  • Discussion (Evaluation of Results)
  • Conclusions and Recommendations
  • References
  • Appendices

The report is written in the style of a Master’s thesis. Style manuals, such as the APA Style Manual, are available for guidance. The Comprehensive Project report should be written in a convincing manner, with good grammar, punctuation and spelling. It should be written clearly and without jargon.

It is recognized that not all Comprehensive Projects will fit the specified report format. You must confer with their advisor on the proposed format for the comprehensive project.

Literature Review

A literature review will be conducted to determine what is already known about the problem. This is a very important part of the project. It often happens in industrial settings that someone will carry out an entire project, from beginning to end, without a search of the literature.

Data Collection

Data collection is usually a major undertaking in a final project. Projects are carried out by collecting data from the place of employment, library materials, from government agencies, or from other such sources. Sometimes surveys will be used, and would have been described in the research method step. It is acceptable to use existing data, clearly identifying the source of data in the proposal and research method steps.

Evaluation of Results

This is the heart of the project. You will use the tools and skills learned in the program, as well as those tools and skills from their previous experience and education. It is common to request and receive help your advisor and from others involved in the program.

Conclusions and Recommendations

The conclusions are statements, observations, determinations and inferences that are possible because of the work you have done. Recommendations for further work that might be carried out as a result of your work are include in this section.

Final Oral Project Defense

When your advisor thinks the Project Report is ready, submit three (3) copies of the report your advisor, one for each member of the Comprehensive Project Committee. At this time the final oral defense can be scheduled, unless the committee determines that significant revisions to the report are needed. Allow the committee members at least a week to review, or re-review if needed, the material before the defense. During the defense, Committee members will ask you to make a short presentation on the project (usually 20 to 30 minutes). This presentation should demonstrate your understanding of the project. During and after your presentation, the Committee members may ask comprehensive questions regarding your project or other subject matter relevant to your course work in the program. The questions are usually related to the project itself. You will be well prepared if you can defend the quality of the work using concepts learned in your courses.

Corrections to the Report

Committee members almost always ask the student to make some corrections to the report after the defense. Scheduling of the Project Defense should allow for these changes to be made to the Final Project Report prior to the end of the semester.
Satisfying Degree Requirements

At the beginning of your final semester of courses, an approved plan of study must be on file and current with regards to the classes taken for the degree requirements. If a plan of study has not been completed, or it is not current, please consult with your advisor to update your student file. You also need to apply for graduation as the beginning of your final semester of courses. The graduation deadline is typically around September 17 for the fall term, and January 22 for the spring term. Please consult the academic calendar to confirm the specific date for the semester in which you anticipate graduating. To be sure that you are ready for graduation, check carefully the catalog in effect when you were admitted as a degree student to ensure that all requirements have been met, and discuss any questions with your advisor.


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