Master's Project

Master's Project

Masters Project

Purpose of the Master's Research Project

Inquiry and reflection are essential tools for educators. That's why all students in Northwestern University's School of Education and Social Policy complete a Master's Research Project, which involves conducting original research on a topic of genuine interest related to higher education.

Using a unique collaborative approach, students gain the tools and ability to systematically analyze issues and to continuously improve their practice. Some students publish their Master's Project research findings or present their research at professional conferences.


Master's Research Project Course Work

A three-course sequence guides students through the Master's Research Project. In the first course, Research and Analysis I: Question Development and Literature Review (MS_HE 406), students identify the central question that will guide their research. Often, the research question grows out of a student's own experiences in college, at work or during an internship. Students then complete a literature review to assess previous research and create a data collection plan to help answer the Master's Project question

In the second course, Research and Analysis II: Research Methodology and Data Collection (MS_HE 407), students learn data collection methods, including surveys, interviews, observation and archival analysis. Students then collect data and begin to summarize and analyze that collected data.

In the third course, Research and Analysis III: Analysis, Interpretation and Dissemination (MS_HE 408), students learn how to systematically analyze those data. The final course of the Master's Project sequence culminates with a written research report and formal presentation of findings. 

Collaborative Model

Students work with a coach and a cohort of six to eight students for the duration of the Master's Research Project sequence. Research team members read each other's proposals and project drafts, discuss research articles, and provide feedback, encouragement and support.

Research groups can be a tremendous help to participants. Additionally, working in a team gives students the opportunity to learn about the topics their colleagues are researching. This collaborative model is unique to Northwestern University and consistently allows students to produce high-quality research.

Contact Us

MS in Higher Education Administration and Policy Program

2120 Campus Drive
Evanston, IL 60208
Northwestern University

Phone: 847/491-7526

Email: ms-highered@northwestern.edu