3.6.2 Graduate Curriculum

Comprehensive Standard 3.6.2: Graduate Curriculum

The institution structures its graduate curricula (1) to include knowledge of the literature of the discipline and (2) to ensure ongoing student engagement in research and/or appropriate professional practice and training experiences.

Compliance Partial Compliance Non-compliance


The graduate students at the University of South Florida Sarasota-Manatee (USF Sarasota-Manatee) participate in graduate curricula that includes knowledge of disciplinary literature, along with research and/or appropriate professional practice and training experiences.


The faculty at USF Sarasota-Manatee structure the graduate curricula to include knowledge of the literature of the discipline. In addition to reading lists in course syllabi and assessments of understandings gained during the required courses, the program assessments provide opportunities for students to synthesize across the knowledge base. Below is a summary of how faculty members have structured the curricula to meet this section of the standard in each of the graduate degree programs.

Master of Arts in Criminal Justice Administration (MA)

The curriculum of the MA in Criminal Justice Administration covers major ideas, issues, theories, and research in the field. Faculty intend the curriculum to develop theoretical reasoning and research skills, as well as the application of theory to practice. A carefully constructed core sequence of courses, leading students through the “real world” experience of creating and presenting a grant proposal, develops the competencies needed by those with administrative responsibility in public agencies. Because this proposal must begin with a theoretical premise based on a literature review, the students are introduced early to the necessity of critical engagement with the current literature shaping the theories and principles of the discipline in Theoretical Approaches to Criminal Behavior (Syllabus CCJ 6118). Next, students take a course in sociological research methodology and careful documentation of sources (Syllabus CCJ 6705 Research Methods in Criminal Justice). This course is followed by a course in Quantitative Analysis to assure that their proposals are based on data used well (Syllabus CCJ 6706 Quantitative Analysis in Criminology I), as well as a course in Grant Writing (Syllabus CCJ 6459), a vital application of research, reasoning, and communication skills needed by public administrators. In the penultimate term, advanced students return to the study of literature engaging the challenges and best practices in the field (Syllabus CCJ 6932) in preparation for producing an original grant proposal applying all the knowledge and skills they have developed over the courses of the program (Syllabus CCJ 6935 Capstone Course).

Master of Business Administration (MBA) 

Students in the Master of Business Administration (MBA) program review current literature and research in all fields of business. For example, in courses such as Organizational Behavior and Leadership (Syllabus MAN 6055) and Organizational Change and Development (Syllabus MAN 6289), students must complete research presentations where their team summarizes recent articles from leading journals in management to integrate the ideas and findings from the article with other course materials. Throughout the MBA program, students frequently review and discuss articles and case studies relevant to course content and current business practice.

Master of Arts in Teaching Elementary Education (MAT)

The curriculum of the Master of Arts in Teaching Elementary Education (MAT) is structured to ensure candidates learn the research that informs the models of the discipline of education. Due to the nature of elementary education, candidates must know research in specific disciplines of instruction (language arts, mathematics, science, social studies), assessment, diverse learners, and effective instruction. Candidates complete courses in each discipline through which they learn the research that defines models used in teaching. For example, in the language arts candidates learn research about reading acquisition (Syllabus RED 6514 Reading Process), tools to measure student reading abilities (Syllabus RED 6540 Assessment in Literacy), and writing development (Syllabus LAE 6315 Writing and Writers). Research on assessment is incorporated in Foundations of Measurement (Syllabus EDG 6432). Research on teaching diverse students and on language acquisition is embedded in Foundations of Teaching ESOL in Mainstream Classes (Syllabus TSL 5085) and Applied Linguistics in Teaching Diverse Students (Syllabus TSL 5242). All candidates must demonstrate proficiency to “make professional educational decisions drawing on analysis of data and research from a variety of sources” (MAT Proficiency 3). Faculty make a summative assessment of candidate ability to analyze research through an MAT Action Research Project that requires them to create and implement an instructional plan.

Master of Education in Educational Leadership (M.Ed.)

The curriculum of the Master’s in Educational Leadership (M.Ed.) program is designed to build candidate knowledge supportive of future roles in the field of educational leadership. Candidates study and apply research throughout their courses and ultimately synthesize it in a final portfolio (Educational Leadership Portfolio Guidelines). Within an electronic portfolio created at the conclusion of the M.Ed. Program in Educational Leadership is a “demonstration of knowledge and skills across the seven (7) domains incorporating Interstate School Leaders Licensure Consortium (ISLLC), Educational Leadership Constituent Council (ELCC), and the Council for Accreditation of Educator Preparation (CAEP), and Florida Leadership Standards” (Educational Leadership Portfolio Guidelines p.4). For each domain, students make connections among theory, research, and practice by “writing what he/she knows using theory, research and current literature to support explanations.” Students then submit and reflect upon two (two) artifacts for each domain, one of which is academic in nature and the other from practice to demonstrate understanding of the concepts of the knowledge base.

Master of Arts in Education, General (MA)

Faculty designed the MA in Education, General, to build candidate knowledge of the literature of the discipline of education (learners and learning) in one of two concentrations, Online Teaching and Learning (OTL) or Human Resources (HR).  In OTL, candidates study effective strategies to teach online learners, evaluate pedagogical components for quality, and understand online research theories (Syllabus EDG 6931 Culture of Online Learning).  Through Development of Technology-based Instruction (Syllabus EME 6613) candidates become familiar with competing perspectives on social media practices. In the Human Resources Concentration, candidates learn the research behind effective group processing (Syllabus EDF 6165 Group Processes for Education Personnel) and organizational behavior (Syllabus MAN 6055 Organizational Behavior and Leadership). Faculty require candidates to synthesize the literature of the fields through two culminating projects. The first, Transition Point Project 1 (MA in Education, General), requires an extensive review of literature pertinent to an issue in their discipline using peer-reviewed journal articles as primary sources.  The second, Transition Point Project 2 (MA in Education, General, requires candidates design and present an applied educational project in their area of concentration.

Master of Arts in Secondary Education, English Education (MA)

The MA in Secondary Education, English Education, builds candidate knowledge in the disciplines of education and English studies. In the discipline of education, candidates develop the conceptual understanding necessary to measure and evaluate learning theory (Syllabus EDF 6432 Foundations of Measurement), models of culturally responsive management (Syllabus ESE 5344 Classroom Management for a Diverse School and Society), and language development and instruction (Syllabus TSL 5085 Foundations of Teaching ESOL; Syllabus TSL 5242 Applied Linguistics in Teaching Diverse Students). In the discipline of English, each candidate masters advanced literary research and conducts an original literacy argument that is supported by appropriate sources through a MAEE Master’s Portfolio.

Master of Science in Hospitality Management (MS)

Because of the Research Thesis or Professional Project Requirement, students in the MS in Hospitality Management program must take Research Methods for Hospitality (Syllabus HFT 6586) in which they review literature relevant to research methods and a topic of their choosing to develop a research proposal. This research proposal is refined as they progress through the master’s program. In addition to the Research Methods course, current literature is an important part of the presentation of course materials and concepts throughout the MS in Hospitality Management program. For example, review of relevant literature is an important part of the work required in such courses as Graduate Seminar in Lodging Management (Syllabus HMG 6259), Hospitality Information Systems and Technology (Syllabus HFT 6507), and Organizational Effectiveness in the Hospitality Industry (Syllabus HFT 6246).


USF Sarasota-Manatee’s graduate programs structure the graduate curricula to ensure ongoing student engagement in research and/or appropriate professional practice and training experiences. Below is a summary of how faculty members have structured the curricula to meet this section of the standard in each of the graduate degree programs.

Master of Arts in Criminal Justice Administration (MA)

Students gain professional practice experience in Criminal Justice Administration through preparing a grant proposal that could be submitted to various agencies, such as the National Science Foundation, the National Institute of Justice, or the National Institute of Mental Health. All students begin their course of study for this degree with Research Methods in Criminal Justice (Syllabus CCJ 6705) and Grant Writing (Syllabus CCJ 6459). In these courses, they begin work on a research project in the form of an original grant proposal that includes (a) a theoretical introduction and literature review, (b) the construction of a hypothesis, (c) methodology, (d) analysis of variables and data, (e) conclusion, (f) references, and (g) appendix of research tools. Following Research Methods, students take a course in Quantitative Analysis (Syllabus CCJ 6706), in which they reconsider their proposal data as they gain competency in data management using computer statistical packages, inferential and descriptive statistics, group comparisons, and measures of association. In the final Capstone Seminar (Syllabus CCJ 6935), students revisit the grant proposal that they developed in the Research Methods course, working individually with the course professor to improve and expand it in light of what they have learned through the courses taken subsequently. Sometimes, the student takes on a totally new project/proposal, either because the previous one lacked enough merit to continue or because the student developed a new focus for pursuit.

Master of Business Administration (MBA)   

Throughout the Master of Business Administration (MBA) curriculum, faculty require students to demonstrate their abilities to engage in research and appropriate business practices. For example, to complete the required projects, students taking International Marketing (Syllabus MAR 6158) must research and become expert on marketing in another country. In Financial Statement Analysis (Syllabus FIN 6465), students must research and analyze the financial performance of multiple companies competing in the same market space. In the MBA capstone course, Integrated Business Applications (Syllabus GEB 6895), for which the students must develop a complete business plan, students must research the environment, competition, target market, and financial situation to justify the viability of their plan. They also must present their plan to a panel of faculty and business experts.

Master of Arts in Teaching Elementary Education (MAT) 

Candidates in the Master of Arts in Teaching Elementary Education (MAT) complete 500 hours of supervised internship in public schools, including a final full-time, full semester MAT Internship as a student teacher.  In addition, candidates complete an MAT Action Research Project during their final internship that requires them to create and implement an instructional plan.

Master of Education in Educational Leadership (M.Ed.)

The Master of Education (M.Ed.) in Educational Leadership requires aspiring principals to complete a practicum with a principal. Students engage in administrative tasks and accomplish specific goals related to the domains described in section (1) above. The Educational Leadership Portfolio Guidelines serves as a handbook that details faculty expectations for the practicum .

Master of Arts in Education, General (MA)

For their final transition point project, candidates in the MA in Education design and present an applied educational project that incorporates technology and which pertains to their area of concentration (Transition Point Project 2 – MA in Education, General).  In addition, candidates in the Online Teaching and Learning concentration complete a field experience (EDF 6944 Field Experience Requirement).

Master of Arts in Secondary Education, English Education (MA)

Candidates intern under the supervision of two faculty teaching undergraduate English courses at USF Sarasota-Manatee to fulfill the MA in Secondary Education, English Education Internship Requirement.

Master of Science in Hospitality Management (MS)

The MS in Hospitality Management program requires graduating students to complete either a Research Thesis or Professional Project. Students in the Master’s Thesis track must conduct theory-based research where they test hypotheses derived from theories relevant to the hospitality industry. The thesis should make a contribution to the body of knowledge in the field of hospitality management and emulate the style of academic journal articles. Students in the professional project write a paper designed to demonstrate analytical skills that students have acquired during their graduate education. For example, students working in hotels may conduct an evaluation of some program or policy that is relevant to their hotels. Ideally, the professional paper should be a study of an issue that can be applied to the student’s professional job. A student who is not working in the industry can complete the professional paper by evaluating a general issue in the hospitality industry (e.g., consumer behaviors, sustainable development, technology adoption, etc.).

With regard to training experiences and professional practices, students practically apply course concepts through the use of case and research article discussions across the curriculum: Hospitality Information Systems and Technology (Syllabus HFT 6507), Graduate Seminar in Lodging Management (Syllabus HMG 6259), Hospitality Revenue Management (Syllabus HFT 6938), Strategic Management & Competitive Strategy for Hospitality & Tourism (Syllabus HFT 6296), and Marketing Leadership for Hospitality (Syllabus HFT 6596).


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