Applied Research Project Track

Visit the Program Requirements for core course work information.

The Applied Research Project (ARP) is a major research paper completed under the guidance of an MPA faculty member supervising their work, culminating in an oral defense.

Building research experience and skills, our graduates have obtained superior positions when hiring managers deemed these ARPs to be demonstrative of great ideation, rigor and relevance, good quality writing, effective project management and critical thinking.

Why Choose to Complete an ARP?

Read first-hand accounts from our alumni about their success after graduation, and how their ARP papers brought together their courses and focused their research, leading directly into the positions they hold today. 

Also, visit Texas State's Digital Library for completed ARP papers from previous students.


The Applied Research Project (ARP) is completed over two courses. In PA 5397: Research Design and Proposal Development for Public Administration, the student completes a literature review and decides on the research paper and research design for their ARP. Before enrolling in PA 5398: Applied Research Project, the course during which students write the applied research paper, the student should have completed 33 to 36 hours of MPA coursework, including both PA 5390: Applied Research Methodology and the above PA 5397.

Please note, you must contact your supervising professor PRIOR to registering for PA 5397 and PA 5398.

Expectations and Requirements

Students registered for PA 5398: Applied Research Project will meet at regularly scheduled hours with their supervising professor. At the beginning of the semester, professors will establish deadlines and procedures for submission of the research paper. As a general rule, students should be prepared to turn in their paper in final form by the last day of classes for that semester. 

If a student fails to turn in an acceptable first draft of the paper, they will be advised to drop the course and re-register the following semester. Failure to drop by the required deadline could result in a grade of "F" for the course.

Three copies of the final draft should be prepared for the committee review one week before the oral exam. If the student submits an acceptable first draft but fails to complete an approved final draft before the established end-of-the-semester deadline, the student may receive a grade of "I" (incomplete) for the course. Students must complete the applied research project within 12 months or the "I" grade will revert to an automatic "F".

The Applied Research Project requires the review and signature of two committee members. The committee is assigned during the semester the student is enrolled in PA 5398: Applied Research Project.

The paper should contain an extensive bibliography, appropriate citations, and normally be formatted according to the APA style guide.

The student must turn in one copy of the paper in final form to their supervising professor. Upon approval of the paper, the professor will assign a letter grade to the student.

Learn More

Visit the graduate catalog for additional information about the program.

Ready to Apply?

Visit the Graduate College for deadlines and to begin an application.