MSSE Requirements

The MSSE Office requires its graduates to go through the ETD process with the professional paper. Students will still have to adhere to the Graduate School's formatting and accessibility guidelines, but due to the volume of MSSE students, the MSSE Office will assume the formatting advisor responsibilities.

The MSSE Office will inform students of deadlines and will take care of the Certificate of Approval form for students.

Please contact your Project Advisor with questions on the ETD process.


The formatting and accessibility standards set forth by the Graduate School are to ensure consistency and professionalism. All ETDs are published on ScholarWorks by the Library after you submit it. You can use the template provided by the Graduate School, listed below. The formatting requirements are listed in the Sample Pages.

Word Template

MSSE students can use the MSSE Body Template to get started with their writing.


Please do your best to address accessibility in your paper, so that it may reach a wider audience. Read more about Accessibility on the Graduate School's webpage. It is recommended to watch the following video on accessibility before starting the formatting process:

Sample Pages

The Sample Pages (PDF) explain a majority of the formatting requirements in the text and yellow boxes.


Suggested Outline

The MSSE Office suggests the following outline for an MSSE professional paper:

  • Chapter 1 = Introduction & Background
    • Level 1 heading: Context of the Study
    • Level 1 heading: Focus Statement/Question
  • Chapter 2 = Conceptual Framework
    • Level 1 headings: Up to 5-6 headings based on the theme titles from the literature
  • Chapter 3 = Methodology
    • Level 1 heading: Demographics
    • Level 1 heading: Treatment
    • Level 1 heading: Data Collection and Analysis Strategies
  • Chapter 4 = Data Analysis
    • Level 1 heading: Results
  • Chapter 5 = Claim, Evidence, and Reasoning
    • Level 1 heading: Claims from the Study
    • Level 1 heading: Value of the Study and Consideration for Future Research
    • Level 1 heading: Impact of Action Research on the Author


For the references list, please follow the APA Guidelines by referring to the Reference List: Basic Rules provided by Purdue Online Writing Lab.

Notes on Reference Formatting

  • To properly format the second line of a reference, search YouTube using the keywords "Word hanging indentation."
  • Double space between reference entries.
  • Single space within reference entries.

FAQ Links

For help with formatting, you can refer to the Formatting FAQ provided by the Graduate School.