Some students may prefer to write a theoretical paper with demonstrable application whereas others may prefer to complete a practical project with solid theoretical foundations. While both of these are encouraged, it is important to remember that the Final Project is expected to have both a theoretical and applied component. It is not required that these two components be equally weighed in each project.
Leading up to and during their last module residency and before beginning the Final Project, students:
- Participate in the Research Methods Module and Final Project Orientation online,
- Attend a full-day Final Project Orientation on-campus,
- Electronically submit a project proposal,
- Determine a mentor for the final project [subject to approval by IMES Leadership].
Once the student’s final project has been approved by MRel Leadership the student is free to start working on it. The written component of the final project is approximately 20,000 words in length and needs to demonstrate a certain level of creativity and innovation, although not one comparable to a doctoral level project.
It is expected that the final project be submitted within one year of completion of the last module. Students are able to apply up to two times for extensions up to three months at a time for a fee. Extensions beyond 18 months must be accompanied by a letter demonstrating extenuating circumstances.
Before starting the final project, students must complete the following:
- Research Methods Module
- Final Project Orientation
- Final Project Proposal
Within the research methods module, students will be introduced to the basics of conducting text-based library research and the development of quality reports based upon that research, and touches upon other relevant topics. Students will be introduced to specific elements of historical, social, and religious/theological research within specific core modules of the MRel in MENA Studies program.
As part of the Final Project Orientation (taken during a student’s final core module) students:
- Interact online with instructors and fellow students,
- Attend a full day orientation on campus,
- Are assigned a faculty mentor,
- Submit the first draft of their project proposal and receive feedback from instructors and fellow students.
For their Project Proposal, students are to submit a two page report answering the following questions:
- Will the project be a theoretical paper with demonstrable application or a practical project with solid theoretical foundations?
- What topic/problem is to be addressed by the project?
- How, or by what methods, does the project plan to address the topic/problem described?
- Which resources will be used to address the topic/problem?
During the on-campus orientation students will share a draft proposal with fellow classmates and program instructors to receive advice and feedback. Within two weeks of enrolling for the Final Project, students must submit the final draft of their Project Proposal and await approval from IMES Leadership. Once the proposal has been approved, student are free to begin working on the Final Project.
 Additional details and assignment instructions will be available to students upon enrollment into the final project orientation.