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MPC field project

MPC Field Project

 

Every student earning the MPC degree must complete a field project. The field project requires you to focus your interests on a specific project that incorporates the knowledge and skills you have learned throughout your studies. This is a great opportunity to concentrate on a communication field that is particularly interesting to you and to add a major component to your professional portfolio.

You may propose a project after you have completed 29 credits. Once your project proposal is approved, you may register for MPC 690; your project should have a scope equivalent to that of your most challenging three-credit MPC class. Field projects are as diverse as our students and their interests. The following is a sample of past projects:

  • user manual for a business database system
  • advertising writing at a local ad agency
  • feature writing for Utah Outdoors Magazine
  • a web site and other public relations materials for a nonprofit organization

Overview 

Planning your project
Important deadlines
Selecting your faculty advisor and supervisor

Writing your proposal
Working on your project
Continuing registration
Completing your project

Because MPC 690 serves as the culmination of the MPC program, students are expected to select a project that challenges them to apply a wide variety of theories and skills learned in the program. Although the field project can be fulfilled by a variety of projects, in general field projects should adhere to these guidelines:

  • Students cannot design projects similar in scope and purpose to projects they currently do at work and/or projects they did for other MPC courses.

    MPC instructor and student

  • The project should integrate a variety of skills students have developed in the MPC program.
  • The project must be approved by all communication faculty members.

Possible field projects include but are not limited to

  • Work completed as a volunteer in a local business or agency that involves extensive application of principles and skills learned in the MPC program. (For example, policies and procedure manuals, survey and analysis reports, etc.)
  • Major research studies involving a significant amount of professional-quality writing and/or editing. (For example, a study of lobbying language, an inventory and analysis of business signs, etc.)
  • Creative communication projects that draw on theories and applications that were the focus of study in the MPC program. (For example, state-of-the-art approaches to PR, multimedia projects, multifaceted exhibits, books, etc.)

Planning your project

Students may undertake a field project after completing 29 hours of course work. The nature and extent of the project should be developed with a communication faculty member. Initial consultation with a faculty member is advised before drafting a field project proposal.

Students who wish to begin the project immediately after completing 29 hours of course work should plan their projects early. Ideally, students develop projects in two phases:

  • Phase one: planning and research (perhaps in the next-to-last semester of course work)
  • Phase two: writing the project proposal (perhaps in the last semester of course work)

Important deadlines

Your proposal must be approved by the MPC faculty (and you must have a signed add card to that effect) before you can register for MPC 690. The following deadlines have been established for final approval of field project proposals:

  • For fall registration: July 1
  • For spring registration: November 1
  • For summer registration: April 1

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Selecting your faculty advisor and field supervisor

Although all members of the department must approve the field project proposal, a faculty member of your choice will serve as your field project advisor. The ideal advisor will have expertise in the area of your field project. This faculty member will provide guidance and feedback on your project, evaluate your final project and determine your grade, and make site visits and/or consult with your field supervisor as necessary. You may also ask your faculty advisor to help you generate ideas and make decisions as you plan your project.

You will also need to identify a field supervisor who should be an expert in at least some aspects of your field project. This individual must be willing to provide you and your faculty advisor with guidance and feedback on your progress towards completion of the project.
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Writing your proposal

Completing a field project proposal serves several purposes:

  • It helps you clarify your project plans, goals, and scope.
  • It helps the MPC faculty determine whether your project will be feasible and acceptable given the purpose of MPC 690.
  • It serves as a planning guide when you begin your project.

In general, you should expect the proposal process (i.e., drafting, revising, reviewing, revising, finalizing) to take one-half to one semester. To ensure that you meet the deadline, you should plan to present your first draft to the communication faculty at least a month before the deadline for approval.

The faculty does not expect a specific proposal format. However, successful field project proposals will meet the requirements of any proposal and will include answers to the following questions:

  • What kind of project do you plan to do?
  • What are the project's objectives?
  • How will the project be used?
  • What is the scope of the project?
  • What resources will you use to complete the project?
  • What activities will you perform to complete the project?
  • When will each activity be complete?
  • What skills must you use to complete the project?
  • Why is the project appropriate for an MPC field project?
  • What final products will be submitted as evidence of your work on this project?
  • In what ways will this particular project be of benefit to you?

Your proposal should be logically organized, detailed, and persuasive.

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Working on your project

Once your field project has been approved, you will be responsible for keeping your advisors informed about the progress of your project; scheduling site visits, consultations, or meetings between your field supervisor and faculty advisor (if appropriate); writing status reports (if appropriate); and completing the project on time.

Continuing registration

If you do not complete your field project during the semester you are registered for MPC 690, you must register for MPC 699. Continuing registration is required each subsequent semester until the field project is complete, and a fee of $250 is assessed each semester.

Completing your project

After you complete the project, you must submit three copies of any documents written, edited, or produced as part of the project. Two copies will be kept on file in the library, and the other will be housed in Helen Hodgson's office. Your grade will be based on your advisor's assessment of the project as a whole, as measured by the deliverables you submit and interviews (as needed) with your field supervisor.

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