Best Master’s Thesis Award

To recognize and encourage graduate study and scholarship in public relations through an annual award for an outstanding master’s thesis

The winner receives a $2,000 grant. The winner’s faculty advisor receives a $1,000 cash grant.

Deadline: This program is currently not open for entries.

Criteria

Entries are judged on their contribution to the advancement of research-based knowledge in the field of public relations practice, philosophy, education and/or professional development.

Entries should test or develop theory within the public relations context; systematically test an applied public relations principle, case study or practice; analyze a legal, historical, or societal question in the field; or critically review an issue relevant to public relations practice, research and/or teaching.

Entries should conform to scholarly study and legal research methods. Potential significance of the study and quality of the research methodology and written presentation are also judged. These should have applicability beyond the confines of a given campus.

Rules
A blind judging procedure is followed so please pay close attention to the rules.

  • Application form must be completed online and submitted at www.instituteforpr.org
  • Since the judging is blind, it is important that you include the final title of your thesis or project in the application form, and that same title in the paper you submit. The paper should not contain any reference to the author’s name, the advisor’s name, the educational institution or other identifiable information. Leaving such identification visible in the thesis will be grounds for disqualification.
  • Your actual thesis or written project must be written in English language, submitted electronically, and in one file (Microsoft Word or other standard word processing program). Email submissions to Jenn Moyer are strongly encouraged, but we will accept submission by CD or DVD.
  • IMPORTANT: Include an executive summary of your thesis or project, written in English, as a separate electronic file. Judges rely heavily on the executive summary in first-round judging. The summary should provide a synopsis of your work and may not exceed 1,000 words. The executive summary should not contain any reference to the author’s name, the advisor’s name, the educational institution or other identifiable information. Leaving such identification visible in the executive summary will be grounds for disqualification.
  • The thesis must be authored as part of a master’s degree (i.e., MA, MS, MBA, MJ, MPR, etc.) awarded by an accredited college or university.
  • The thesis must by authored by one student. Group papers or projects are not allowed.
  • A letter of endorsement from a public relations faculty member of the student’s school attesting to the eligibility and qualifications of the entry must be included in the application packet. This letter must also be submitted electronically by the deadline, but in a separate file from the actual thesis or project.
  • All entries become the property of the Institute for Public Relations and cannot be returned. By entering the competition, you grant the Institute permission to publish your case on its website and through any other means.

Judging
The panel of judges includes representatives from the Institute for Public Relations and the Public Relations Division of the Association for Education in Journalism and Mass Communication (AEJMC).

Application

Applications are currently closed.

Address for Submission
Master’s Thesis Award
The Institute for Public Relations
University of Florida
PO Box 118400
Gainesville, FL 32611-8400

Past Winners

[2010] Rowena Briones, University of Maryland

Rowena Briones, University of Maryland
How Young Women Make Meaning of Sexual Assault Campaigns

[2009] Moonhee Cho, University of Florida

Moonhee Cho, University of Florida
Top Corporate Donors and Charitable Organizations: Utilizing the Coorientation Model to Examine Benefits and Relationships

Faculty Advisor: Kathleen S. Kelly, Ph.D., Professor, Department of Public Relations, College of Journalism and Communications, University of Florida

[2008] Hye Kyung Kim, Syracuse University

Hye Kyung Kim, Syracuse University
“Stakeholders’ Evaluation Processes of a Racial Crisis”

[2007] Major Chad G. Carroll, University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill

Major Chad G. Carroll, University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill
“The U.S. Army Public Diplomacy Officer: Military Public Affairs Officers’ Roles in The Global Information Environment.”

[2006] Catherine Sheldon, University of Georgia

Catherine Sheldon, University of Georgia
“Image Repair on the Political Front: An Experiment Testing Effects of Communication Strategy and Performance History in a Political Faux Pas”

[2005] Yimin Wang, Univeristy of Florida

Yimin Wang, Univeristy of Florida
“Cross-National Conflict Shifting: A Case Study of the DuPont Teflon Crisis”

[2004] Marcia Watson, University of South Florida

Marcia Watson, University of South Florida
“Organizational Uncertainty Management: Developing a Framework for Public Relations Practitioner Involvement”

[2003] David Youngmeyer, University of Maryland

David Youngmeyer, University of Maryland
“The Development of Reputational Relationships and Perceived Sources of Out-Group Attitudes in the Professional Socialization of Journalism and Public Relations Students”

[2002] Rocky Cabagnot, University of Florida

Rocky Cabagnot, University of Florida
“Celebrities and the Right of Publicity: A Study of Economic Damage and Moral Rights”

[2001] Tina Carroll, University of South Alabama

Tina Carroll, University of South Alabama
“How Public Relations is Perceived and Taught in MBA Programs: A Survey of Business School Professors”

[2000] Kimberly Gill, University of Florida

Kimberly Gill, University of Florida
“Seeing the Forests for the Trees: Communication and Relationship Building Tactics of Activist Groups and Forest Products Companies”

[1999] Yunna Rhee, University of Maryland

Yunna Rhee, University of Maryland
“Confucian Culture and Excellent Public Relations: A Study of Generic Principles and Specific Applications in South Korean Public Relations Practice”

[1998] Christopher Knaus, Washington State University in Pullman

Christopher Knaus, Washington State University in Pullman
“The AIDS Memorial Quilt on a College Campus and its Implications: An Analysis of the Effectiveness of Alternative HIV Prevention Education and Awareness Building Events”

[1997] Carol Ann McKeown, San Jose State University

Carol Ann McKeown, San Jose State University
“Candidates’ Web Site Use During the 1996 Presidential Campaign”

[1996] Virginia Sheng, University of Maryland

Virginia Sheng, University of Maryland
“Multicultural Public Relations: A normative approach”

[1995] Murvyn Callo, University of Southern California

Murvyn Callo, University of Southern California
“Total Quality and Excellent Public Relations: An Analysis of Total Quality Management Practices that Impact Performance of Corporate Public Relations Practitioners”

[1994] Martha Lepore, Boston University

Martha Lepore, Boston University
“Professionalism and the Public Relations Body of Knowledge: Implications for an Emerging Profession”

[1993] Gregory Smith, University of Minnesota

Gregory Smith, University of Minnesota
“Making Medicine Matter: A Study of Hospital Communications”

[1992] Zoraida Rosario, Syracuse University + Jo Nell Miettinen, San Diego State University

Zoraida Rosario, Syracuse University
“The Utility of Ehling’s Means-Ends Paradigm of Public Relations Management: A case study Approach”

Jo Nell Miettinen, San Diego State University
“Intent and Behavior: A Prediction Model Examining the Gap Between Stated Intent and Actual Behavior”

[1991] Eric Haley, University of Georgia

Eric Haley, University of Georgia
“The Relationship of Organizational Structure and Communication: A Study of Daily and Crisis Communication Activities of Hospitals”

[1990] Kerry Humphrey, University of Maryland

Kerry Humphrey, University of Maryland
“Entrepreneurial Women in Public Relations: Why Open Collars?”

[1989] Barbara Lynn Wetherell, University of Maryland

Barbara Lynn Wetherell, University of Maryland
“The Effect of Gender, Masculinity, and Femininity on the Practice of and Preference for the Models of Public Relations”

[1998] Jody Buffington, University of Maryland

Jody Buffington, University of Maryland
“CEO Values and Corporate Culture: Developing a Descriptive Theory of Public Relations”

[1987] John Gibbs, University of Florida

John Gibbs, University of Florida
“An Evaluation of Grunig’s Decision-Situation Theory of Communication”

[1986] Marianne Portugal Dayrit, University of Florida

Marianne Portugal Dayrit, University of Florida
“Boundary-Spanning Roles: Public Relations and Media Practitioners”

[1985] Mark E. Cattell, University of Georgia

Mark E. Cattell, University of Georgia
“An Assessment of Public Relations and Issue Management in Relation to Strategic Planning in American Business Corporations”

[1984] C. Del Galloway, University of Florida

C. Del Galloway, University of Florida
“Dimensions of Media Credibility as Contingent Conditions in the Agenda-Setting Process”

[1983] James B. Cook, University of Wisconsin-Madison

James B. Cook, University of Wisconsin-Madison
“Public Relations Roles and Practitioner Communication Behavior”

[1982] David Micklos, University of Maryland

David Micklos, University of Maryland
“Constraints on the Social Responsibility of Public Relations Science Writers”

[1981] Alan W. Jensen, Brigham Young University

Alan W. Jensen, Brigham Young University
“Functional or Functionary: An Examination of the Status of Public Relations in Large U.S. Banks”