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The purpose of this document is to provide guidelines for the preparation of a scholarly paper, which is required of all M.S. students in the Project Management Program pursuing the non-thesis option.

General Requirements

The ability to identify, define and research an issue or problem impacting project management processes is a necessity for an individual engaged in the professional practice of project management. To develop this, the student is required to prepare a scholarly paper that examines, in detail, an issue or problem in project management and provides recommendations or solutions for addressing the issue or solving the problem. The subject of the paper should be relevant to the student’s interest and the Project Management Program No oral presentation to the faculty is required for a scholarly paper.

The level of effort should be at least equivalent to that of a 3 credit hour graduate course (@160 hours).

Selection of Topic and Adviser

The selection of a topic is the responsibility of the student in collaboration with an adviser from the graduate faculty in the Project Management Program at the University of Maryland at College Park. The research should involve the systematic investigation of a topic that is significant and timely and that contributes to the generation of new knowledge and to the solution of relevant project management problems. It is helpful for the student to become familiar with the research interests of the faculty and to discuss tentative topics with them. No later than one semester before the student’s anticipated graduation, the student must choose a topic and select a professor to serve as adviser. The professor must approve the topic and agree to serve as adviser.

Suggestion for Report Preparation and Review

The development of a research study for the scholarly paper can generally be organized into the following phases:

  1. Identification of topic and preparation of project plan/schedule
  2. Literature review – a detailed literature search should be performed to identify prior work in the topic area
  3. Statement of purpose and objective of the study
  4. Development of research methodology
  5. Data gathering
  6. Evaluation of results and formulation of conclusions
  7. Preparation of draft and final report
  8. Presentation of report

These phases are closely related to sections or chapters within the report and indicate milestones at which progress can be evaluated. At the end of each phase, the student should consult with their advisor to insure that the project is progressing satisfactorily. Proper scheduling of the research is very important for its timely completion. It is suggested that, at a minimum, the student perform the research study over one full semester. The study should be conducted in the following general sequence:

1. Approval of Scholarly Paper Topic

  1. Select scholarly paper topic
  2. Secure agreement from professor to serve as adviser
  3. Secure approval of adviser of topic
  4. Prepare project plan

2. Submit Work Plan

A plan must be prepared that specifies the objectives of the study, the activities that are to be performed during the study, how the activities are to be carried out, and a bar chart schedule showing all activities and their schedule dates.

3. Submit Literature Review

A detailed review of the literature relevant to the topic must be conducted. An annotated bibliography, which identifies the work and provides a summary of it, must be prepared and may be submitted to the student’s adviser.

4. Student Adviser Conference

The student should meet periodically with his/her adviser to clarify issues and prevent problems from arising during the study. The student must meet with his/her adviser no later than eight weeks prior to the student’s anticipated graduation to insure that the study and its results will satisfy the scholarly paper requirements and to discuss the current draft of the paper. The student may request comments on the pre-final draft of the paper before producing the final.

5. Submit Scholarly Paper

The final paper should be submitted to the student’s adviser no later than three weeks before the student’s anticipated graduation, preferably earlier.

6. Present Scholarly Paper

Scholarly papers are not presented to a committee of the faculty

7. Sample Format

  1. Cover (60# Stock)
  2. Title Page
  3. Abstract
  4. Table of Contents
  5. Executive Summary
  6. Body of the Report
    1. Description of the Project
    2. Objectives of the Study
    3. Methodology
    4. Results
    5. Conclusions
    6. Recommendations for Future Work
  7. Appendices
    1. References
    2. Literature eview
    3. Notation (if required)

The Manuscript


One hard and soft copy shall be given to the student’s adviser for evaluation and grading.

Application for Graduation

Students need to comply with all the graduation deadlines required by the graduate school. Please refer to for detailed information.


This article was last updated on November 4, 2015.