DOCUMENT by: *
Subject: Rationale Essay
refers to reasons why
. And that’s the purpose of the rationale essay, to explain the reasons why you've chosen the courses that are listed in the degree plan. You’ll need to provide different types of reasons--personal, academic, and professional--in order to explain the choices for and structure of your individualized degree.
Actually, rationale has a fuller definition than just reasons why. Rationale
refers to logical reasons why
, or evidence
. The concept of logical reasoning especially relates to the academic and professional aspects of the degree. You’ll be asked to provide evidence that your choices are academically and professionally valid--in other words, that your courses meet the expectations of the field and the larger contexts in which you intend to use the degree. Think of the rationale essay, then, as part of Empire State College’s "checks and balances" in a program that allows you to design your own degree.
The rationale essay has additional purposes. One is to help you think through the reasoning behind your degree by getting you to articulate those reasons in writing. (It really is
true that you get to understand something more fully by writing about it.) The rationale and degree plan are two ways of dealing with the same thing--the degree plan shows your choices while the rationale explains and provides evidence for those choices.
Another purpose of the rationale essay is to provide a context for the ESC faculty and professionals who function as an assessment committee to review and approve your degree. For this purpose, the rationale needs to be clear, specific, and comprehensive. It needs to provide substantial evidence that argues for the particular structure you've created for your degree.
In order to address these purposes, the rationale essay includes the following discussions:
- goals - to set a context for understanding the choices you made for your degree
- academic expectations - to show that you've done research into what Empire State College, SUNY, and other U.S. colleges expect of someone with your type of degree; to provide evidence to validate your choices for the degree
- professional expectations - to show that you've done research into what professionals in your field expect of someone with your type of degree; to provide evidence to validate your choices for the degree
- degree structure - to explain the pattern and design of your degree
To get a better sense of the importance and contents of the rationale essay, you can link here to:
Rationale Essays usually average about 5 pages. They can be a bit shorter or longer, but you'll need to include the information listed above.