MQP Resources and FAQs

How can I prepare for my PW MQP? 

  • Consult previous Professional Writing MQPs as examples.
  • Consider taking WR 4111 Research Methods in Writing the year before your MQP takes place (to prepare for it) or during your MQP (to support it). 
  • Plan ahead & brainstorm early (see “MQP Questions to consider” below).
  • Begin drafting your MQP Preliminary Preferences during the year before your MQP takes place. You will be asked to provide these preferences in the spring before your MQP begins. 
    • Example: For an MQP that takes place from August 2021 to May 2022, you will be asked to submit your MQP Preliminary Preferences in early spring 2021.
    • For guidance, consult “What Should My MQP Preliminary Preferences Include?” section below.

MQP Questions to Consider: 

  • Conceptual Questions:
    • Which topic(s) are you interested in pursuing in a larger research project?
    • Which research question and/or problem would you like to address? 
    • Which type of project interests you?
    • If you are a double major, how might you answer the above questions in a way that ties your majors together? 
    • Which prior training and preparation do you have that will help you pursue this topic and/or type of project? 
    • Which types of deliverables might this kind of project produce that connect with Professional Writing?
      • Options include but are not limited to: review articles, manuals, reports,  genre analyses.
      • Your PW MQP advisor will work with you to determine which types of deliverables suit your project.
  • Logistical Questions:
    • When will you complete the MQP?  
    • Is it an interdisciplinary 4/3 MQP (i.e., common for double majors) or a PW-only 3/3 MQP? 
    • How quickly will you complete the MQP (i.e., over how many terms)? 
    • Are you interested in having a specific PW faculty member be your MQP advisor? 

What should my MQP Preliminary Preferences include?

Your MQP Preliminary Preferences can be as brief or long as you like. At a minimum you should provide at least one detailed paragraph (i.e., at least 3-5 sentences) that includes:

  • an idea (or two, or three) of the type of project (high-level topic) you might be interested in pursuing
  • a list of PW advisors with whom you would like to work

It may be helpful to think of this as an initial Project Proposal. This proposal might include:

  • a specific research topic and/or question you would be interested in pursuing
  • a problem statement and/or a supporting rationale that explains this project’s exigence (i.e., Why this topic/question/project? Why pursue it now? Who might be invested in and/or benefit from its outcome, besides you and your advisors?)
  • any additional information that can help the PW faculty understand how you are prepared to pursue this kind of project (e.g., previous coursework; related academic and/or professional training and experiences; methods and methodologies you might use; deliverables you’re interested in creating)
  • any additional information about an existing project/team you’re hoping to work on
    • Example: PW double majors often have the opportunity in their other major to work on an existing project and/or team to complete their MQP. In those cases, your PW faculty advisor can help you find a way to apply a PW-approach to that project in order to complete your 4/3-unit interdisciplinary MQP.

Points to bear in mind as you develop your MQP Preliminary Preferences:

  • None of these preferences are set in stone or guaranteed. Your Preliminary Preferences are used for planning and coordinating the MQPs; they are a starting point. The PW faculty will use these preferences to coordinate the MQPs and to work with you on developing a feasible MQP. 
  • Most PW majors are double majors who complete 4/3 MQPs. This means that PW faculty typically work with each student to develop a combined MQP that works with an advisor from your other major. 

What is the difference between a 3/3-unit MQP and a 4/3-unit MQP?

  • PW majors can choose whether to complete a 3/3-unit or 4/3-unit MQP.
    • 3/3-unit: typical for PW single majors. The entire MQP has a PW focus.
    • 4/3-unit: typical for PW double majors. The MQP is interdisciplinary. It combines two majors in one project, and it has at least one advisor from each discipline (e.g., a 4/3 MQP for a BME/PW double major would have a BME advisor and a PW advisor).

Can I complete a 4/3-unit MQP in 3 terms or fewer?

Yes. Typically, 4/3-unit MQPs take place over four terms (i.e., A-D term of an academic year). However, it all depends on the MQP (i.e., the project, the student, the advisors). If it is feasible for you to complete the MQP in 3 terms or fewer, you can do that as long as you have identified a faculty member who is willing to do that.

Sample MQP timeline for a 4/3-unit, double-major MQP

  • Fall 2021:  You begin thinking through questions that will help you plan your possible MQP (see “MQP Questions to Consider” below). You use this time to try identifying a complex but feasible research topic/problem you are interested in addressing in your MQP. If you will be completing a 4/3 MQP that combines two majors, think about how this project might do that. 
  • Early Spring 2022: You are asked to submit an initial project proposal for your MQP (typically only one paragraph). This is only a proposal; nothing is set in stone. 
  • Late Spring to Summer 2022: You are assigned to a PW faculty advisor. Depending on how you and your advisor schedule this work, you may have already mapped out an initial project plan with them 
  • Mid-August 2022: You meet with your PW faculty advisor to begin your MQP.  
  • August 2022 – May 2023: You complete your MQP as a 4/3-unit, double-major MQP. You complete 1/3 unit each term (I.e., 1/3 in A2022, 1/3 in B2022, etc.).