The Professional Report (PR) is the optional capstone experience in the LBJ School of Public Affairs master's degree program. 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.
Some dual degree MPAff students are required to complete a PR or a thesis, according to the non-LBJ degree requirements.
Professional Report (PR) timelines for May 2023 graduates:
Dec. 9, 2022: Deadline to submit May 2023 PR Committee Selection and Registration Approval Form to the graduate program coordinator in OSAA (for PA 398R registration in the Spring 2023 semester).
Jan. 9, 2023: Spring 2023 PR plan and outline due to readers.
Feb. 13, 2023: Touch base with readers on your progress.
March 17, 2023: First text draft of Spring 2023 PR due to readers.
March 31, 2023: PR text draft comments due back (to student) from readers.
April 16, 2023: Signature page and (final) PR copy due to readers.
April 21, 2023: Final PR deliverables due to the UT Graduate School by 3:00 pm CST.
The LBJ School requires that students follow a specific PR timeline and meet internal LBJ School PR timelines (see dates in the section below). Additionally, the UT Graduate School website explains Graduate School PR submission instructions, procedures, and deadlines.
The PR counts as three credit hours toward 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 toward 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 who are required to complete a PR 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).
Single degree-seeking students and dual degree students that do not have a required PR should submit the PR Committee Selection and Registration Approval Form to OSAA by December 9, 2022, so they can be registered for the PR course at the LBJ School (PA 398R) in the final semester of study.
In the case of multi-authored papers, students are allowed to include any portion of multi-authored works in their reports or theses only after receiving the approval of all other co-authors. In addition, a statement must be included explaining the contribution of the student to each paper. Students who choose to include multi-authored content can obtain the permission of all co-authors via the Co-author Permission Form. The student's supervising committee will be responsible for identifying and ensuring that written permission from all co-authors has been obtained when certifying the approval of the document to the Graduate School.
Examples of PRs
For online Professional Reports please visit Texas ScholarWorks Repository. For bound copies of Professional Reports please visit the PCL Library.
For MPAff and MGPS students, 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 the following requirements:
Dual Degree’s that require PR or a thesis, according to the non-LBJ degree requirements:
- 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.
Dual Degree’s that do not require PR or a thesis, according to the non-LBJ degree requirements:
- The first reader must be an LBJ School tenured or tenure-track faculty member
- The second reader should come from the non-LBJ School unit
Non UT Committee Member?
In general, all committee members should be members of a Graduate Studies Committee. Occasionally, scholars who hold nonfaculty appointments at the University — research scientists, research engineers, or adjunct faculty members — or off-campus scholars are appointed because their expertise would be valuable to the student. Individuals serving as a member of a thesis, report, dissertation, or treatise committee are generally expected to hold a terminal degree in the field and have an earned degree equivalent to or higher than the degree being pursued by the candidate. An equivalent record of exceptional professional accomplishment within the field may be considered in lieu of the terminal degree requirement. The composition of the committee is subject to the approval of the graduate dean.
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."
Office of Research Support and Compliance
Research involving human subjects such as surveys and interviews must meet UT requirements. For more information that may help you maintain the integrity of your research please visit https://research.utexas.edu/ors/.
Helpful forms and templates