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The Professional Report

The Professional Report (PR) is the capstone experience in the M.P.Aff. and M.G.P.S. degree programs. It is an individual-based written project in policy analysis completed in the final semester of the program and counts as your thesis. Each student selects his or her own topic and obtains the consent of two faculty members to serve on the supervising committee.

MPAff students completing a specialization are required to complete a PR. MGPS students must complete either the writing series for Global Policy Studies or the PR. Dual degree students must complete either a PR or a thesis, according to the non-LBJ School degree requirements (excepting Business, Law and Social Work dual degree students who must complete a PR at the LBJ School in the final semester of study).

Academic Requirements

The PR counts as three credit hours towards the master's degree requirement in the department/program for which the PR is listed (e.g. LAS 398R, PA 398R, etc.) on a credit/no credit basis. The thesis counts as six credit hours towards the master's degree requirement in the department/program for which the PR is listed (e.g. REE 698A/B, MES 698A/B, etc.) on a credit/no credit basis.

You must be registered for the Professional Report (or "thesis," as appropriate) in the semester in which you graduate. Dual degree students in Communication, Community and Regional Planning, Engineering, Energy and Earth Resources, and Area Studies should register for the PR course in the non-LBJ School department in the final semester of study (or, as appropriate, the thesis in the final two semesters of study). Business, Law and Social Work dual degree students should register for the PR course at the LBJ School (PA 398R) in the final semester of study.

Supervising Committee

The first reader on the supervising committee must be an LBJ School tenured or tenure-track faculty member. The second reader may be any member of the UT-Austin teaching faculty. For dual degree students, one supervisor should be selected from each department according to following requirements:

Communication, Community and Regional Planning, Engineering, Energy and Earth Resources, Area Studies:
  • The first reader must come from the non-LBJ School department where the student registers for the PR or thesis (for example: dual PA/LAS students will select the first reader from ILAS and register for the LAS 398R Professional Report course).
  • The second reader must come from the LBJ School.
Law, Business and Social Work:
  • The first reader must be from the LBJ School Faculty.
  • The second reader should come from Law, Business or Social Work (as appropriate).

Non UT Committee Member?

The Office of Graduate Studies (OGS) and the appropriate LBJ School program Graduate Adviser must approve. A non-remuneration letter is required from your prospective  2nd reader stating their willingness to serve at no expense to you or the University. Both the letter and a curriculum vita should be attached to the PR Committee Selection and Registration Approval Form submitted to the graduate program coordinator prior to pre-registration for the semester in which you intend to graduate.

Human Subject Review

Research involving human subjects such as surveys and interviews must meet UT requirements. See http://www.utexas.edu/research/rsc/humanresearch/.

Format Requirements

The Office of Graduate Studies (OGS) requires you to arrange and format your PR in a particular way. Meeting OGS submission deadlines and format requirements involves four steps:

  1. Review OGS' Master's Graduation Guidelines and Deadlines informational page at the beginning of the final semester of study.
  2. Read the Format Guidelines for Master's Theses and Reports to learn about Graduate Studies' PR formatting requirements.
  3. Use the OGS Thesis Template.
  4. Obtain formal formatting approval from an OGS Degree Evaluator in Main Building, 101 prior to completing your PR. To do so, submit a PDF of your PR complete with front matter and a generated table of contents to a Degree Evaluator in OGS by e-mail or in person to obtain approval.

Associated Forms & Procedures

As part of the graduation application and PR/thesis submission process, the following forms need to be submitted to either the LBJ School Graduate Program Coordinator or OGS at various times over the course of your last two semesters:

Specific due dates

The LBJ School requires that students follow a specific PR timeline and meet internal PR deadlines based on the LBJ School timeline. Additionally, the Office of Graduate Studies (OGS) website explains Graduate School PR submission instructions, procedures and deadlines.

Examples of PRs

Check the PCL Library for bound copies of Professional Reports. According to the Librarian, the reports are requested from all over the world.

The Emmette S. Redford Award

The Redford Award has been awarded to a member of the graduating class since 1976 for outstanding research. A professional report can be nominated by the faculty. The recipient receives a monetary award at the LBJ spring graduation convocation.

For the purposes of the award, "outstanding research" is defined as an "original study, by an individual, that is of practical significance to policy makers; or develops insights, ideas, or concepts of significance to the understanding of the public policy process or the solution of a public problem. Furthermore, the study must manifest a high quality of research execution and preparation."