Student Handbook

VI. QUALIFYING PAPERS

C. SIGN ON AND SIGN OFF MEETINGS – ALL STUDENTS

a. Sign-On Meeting – Upon approval of the QP or Second Year Paper committee members, the student schedules a meeting with the committee to discuss the content and direction of the project. This meeting lasts approximately one hour. During the meeting, committee members and the student should discuss and agree upon the research question and conceptual framing of the project as well as the data and methods (when relevant). The committee members and the student should also agree to a written timeline for the proposed work and for communication between the student and committee members (e.g., a progress report every month or two, monthly meeting with the lead reader, etc.). Upon successful completion of the sign-on meeting, the committee members and the Graduate Director sign the Second Year Paper, QP 1, or QP 2 proposal form. This form should be submitted to the sociology graduate administrator.
At the end of the QP sign-on meeting, the committee members should discuss the division of labor and work plan for supervising the student (e.g., work closely with the primary reader before distributing to other committee members, send all drafts to all committee members simultaneously, etc.).

b. Sign-Off Meeting – Upon approval of the QP committee members, the student schedules a final sign-off meeting with the committee. This meeting is scheduled only after the student has completed and revised the qualifying paper in consultation with the committee members. (The process of writing a qualifying paper typically involves multiple drafts and recurrent interaction with your committee members as agreed upon in the sign-on meeting). During the meeting, the student briefly presents the key results and conclusions of the research (about five minutes). The student and committee members discuss whether there are remaining issues to be addressed before the committee agrees to “sign off” on the paper, and discuss strategies for moving the paper toward publication or inclusion in future work (e.g., dissertation). Upon successful completion of the meeting, the committee members and the Graduate Director sign the Second Year Paper sign off form or Qualifying Paper sign off form as well as the MA or PhD Candidacy form. For the Final Qualifying Paper options 2, and 4, the sign off process will take place as the end of a successful oral defense. For option 3, the paper’s submission to an academic publication serves as the sign off process. All option completion forms will first be submitted to the graduate administrator, followed by a signature by the graduate director.

c. Students Entering with an M.A./M.S. from another Program

The department does not accept a prior Master’s thesis in lieu of one of our qualifying papers. A student entering the Rutgers graduate program in sociology with an M.A. or M.S. who wrote a thesis may, however, use his/her thesis as the basis for one qualifying paper. To do so, the student assembles a three-reader committee that reads the thesis and provides feedback on the steps required to make the work into a qualifying paper that meets departmental standards. The conditions may range from minor to more substantial revisions in content, approach, style, methods, etc. All restrictions on committee membership noted above apply.

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