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Northwest Missouri State University


List of Graduate Directed Projects

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Frequently Asked Questions

What is Graduate Directed project?

Graduate Directed Project replaces the thesis requirement in the MS-ACS program. Over a two-semester period, students work with either internal (university) or external (business) clients to complete a project. The projects are very close to a real world software engineering experience. Students work in teams of three to ten, with a faculty mentor guiding the team through the entire software lifecycle. Students experience all aspects of software engineering including interviewing a client, domain analysis, requirements gathering, specification, design techniques including UML and ER diagrams, use cases, paper prototypes, iterative development, and user acceptance testing.  In addition, students develop valuable communications skills and learn how to properly interact with a client and how to work effectively in a team.

Why do students have to take Graduate Directed Project?

The two-semester Graduate Directed Project is in lieu of the normal thesis requirement for master’s level programs. Since our program is applied in nature and is designed to prepare you for the job market, engaging in a software development project better fits the goals of the MS-Applied Computer Science program.

What are students required to do in Graduate Directed Project?

Students are assigned to teams of 3-10 each. They are also assigned a faculty member to serve as their mentor. Projects are assigned to each team, and students normally are involved in all steps of a software development project, from gathering requirements from the client to deploying the finished product.

Can students pick their own teams?

A faculty committee assigns students to teams. Students may request to work with certain students, but there is no guarantee that their request will be honored. Many factors must be considered when teams are formed, including the balance of expertise and the background of the students involved.

Can a student suggest a project?

Anyone can suggest a project for a graduate directed project team. However, the proposal must be in written form and must supply sufficient detail for the faculty committee to make a decision.

What if a team starts on their project in the spring and some team members are planning to continue in the summer, but others do not want to attend during the summer and want to wait until fall to complete the project.

When teams are initially assigned, we make every effort to ensure that all team members have the same completion date in mind. If circumstances change, and some team members want to complete in the summer, with others completing in the fall, we will work out a solution. No student will be forced to attend in the summer, or to wait until fall, for completion of the project.

How are clients chosen?

We solicit clients from our own school, from other offices in the university, and from companies and businesses off-campus.  Potential clients submit a proposal, and a faculty committee selects those proposals that seem to be suitable for a Graduate Directed Project team.

List Of Projects