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Competence Options: M.S.Ed. Capstone, Comprehensive Exam, and Master’s Thesis Questions

Option one: Capstone (CAHA 598)

CAHA 598 is one of three competence options for M.S.Ed. students. Students in this class will be able to fulfill their competence requirement by participating in all class activities and writing a paper that is blind-reviewed by three faculty members from the program. CAHA 598 is only available during Fall and Spring semesters. For more specific information about this option, please visit the M.S.Ed. forms page and click on Guidelines under ‘598 Capstone Experience Comprehensive Paper’. Students who choose this competence option must enroll in it the semester before they wish to complete it.

Option two: Take-Home Master’s Comprehensive Exam

The Take-Home Master’s Comprehensive Exam is one of three competence options for M.S.Ed. students. Students who choose this option will be able to fulfill their competence requirement by completing and passing the five-day take-home essay exam within parameters outlined in the exam guidelines. For more specific information about this option, please visit the M.S.Ed. forms page and click on Guidelines under ‘Take-Home Master’s Comprehensive Exam’. Students who choose this competence option must enroll in it the semester before they wish to complete it.

Option three: Master’s Thesis (CAHA 699)?

CAHA 699 is one of three competence options for M.S.Ed. students. The topic of the thesis must be in the area of the student’s major and approved by the student’s thesis chair. The document may not have been published previously, and the research must be successfully defended in an oral examination. In order to enroll in the Master’s Thesis, students must have the consent of the department, completed ETR 520, and have a Program of Study on file. Students must also identify a committee of three NIU graduate faculty (including a thesis chair who agrees to help guide the student’s research) to evaluate their thesis. Students who choose this competence option must enroll in it the semester before they wish to complete it.

More detailed information about the CAHA 699 can be found via these links: 

  • Thesis requirements can be found in the Graduate Catalog. Be sure to read the sections entitled Thesis, Course Number 699 and Composition of Examination and Thesis Committees.
  • Another NIU site exists that is completely dedicated to Thesis and Dissertation including an in-depth look at the requirements for the thesis and dissertation including calendars, IRB requirements and examples.