What is a Capstone Project in Graduate School?
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In order to successfully finish graduate school, most master’s programs require students to either write a thesis or complete a capstone project. A capstone project serves as another way to prove your understanding of a given subject, but unlike a thesis, you can prove your skills through solutions or new ideas instead of pure analysis.
What is the Purpose of a Capstone Project?
A capstone project is designed to push you to think critically and apply what you’ve learned through your graduate program. It allows you to show the faculty of the department what you’ve learned throughout the program. It also allows the faculty to ensure that you're prepared to enter your chosen careers.
What sets a capstone project apart from just an exam is its real-world application. Rather than just proving you understand the subject matter, a capstone project requires you to apply the knowledge and experience in a way similar to how you would in your career. By integrating basic research skills and practical experience, you can also end up showcasing a competitive portfolio to future employers.
Additional Resource : 5 Topics for a Master’s in Communication Capstone Project
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How Long Does it Take to Complete a Capstone Project?
Although this will vary from school to school, generally a capstone project will be as short as a 10-week quarter to as long as two semesters depending on the rigor and requirements of the graduate program. However, it is common for most graduate programs to require students to take a capstone project course that generally only lasts around a semester.
If you are currently enrolled in a graduate program and you have the option of completing a capstone project, it is best that you start formulating an idea of what you would like to investigate. Waiting to the very last minute to study a particular problem or issue in relation to your graduate program can derail your capstone project. You would need to have a sufficient amount of previous research in order to complete a capstone project proposal.
Which programs usually require capstone projects?
Typically, it is very common for master's programs in social services, public administration , mass communications , and liberal arts to require graduate students to complete a capstone project. This is because these programs are usually geared towards working professionals and capstone projects give students the ability to take knowledge and theory they have learned and apply in a real-world setting.
Additional Resource: Writing a Graduate Capstone Project
Prerequisites for a capstone project?
Before an individual can complete a capstone project, one must take a series of undergraduate or graduate courses that will give one the theoretical and skills-based knowledge necessary in order to formulate an idea for a capstone proposal. Classes that usually are required before taking a capstone course usually center around research statistics, ethics, program theory, leadership and other relevant courses based on the master's program. Also, many programs have a GPA requirement before actually completing a capstone course.
Before a student can actually take capstone course to begin implementing their capstone project, many students would need to come up with a comprehensive proposal that will be reviewed by a professor or instructor. This proposal usually contains an introduction, theories, hypotheses, scholarly literature review, research methods, proposal alternatives and any other issues relevant to the project proposal. Each capstone requirement is unique to the student's program, so it is best that a student continuously consult with a program advisor to make sure their capstone proposal meets the necessary requirements.
Different types of Capstone Projects
There are a variety of capstone projects. Some include case studies, program evaluations, outcomes-based evaluations, surveys, focus groups, etc. Each master's program has a different set of capstone projects that students can complete for graduation. Nonetheless, case studies and program evaluations tend to be the most popular forms of capstone projects completed by students.
Erin Gobler is a freelance writer who covers education topics for Best Value Schools, Graduate School Hub, and Criminal Justice Degree Schools, among others. Her work has been published on sites like Fox Business, Rocket Mortgage, and The Balance.
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Most of our master's programs require students to complete a final project rather than a thesis. This is sometimes referred to as a capstone experience. The project could be a product from an internship, a small applied research experience, a case study, a curriculum plan, etc. Work with your program advisor regarding ideas for, requirements for and evaluation of a final project. Determine which course you should enroll in while completing this assignment. In some cases it will be internship, practicum, project or independent study.
Once completed, we would encourage you to share the project during the annual Graduate Research Fair. In addition, we would encourage submission of the product to the EMU Halle Library Digital Commons site. It would serve as an example for other current graduate students and give new students or applicants an idea of projects completed with your degree. To submit to Digital Commons , email your final PDF version to your advisor, who will send it to the Graduate School. Please include a completed Rights and Permission form [PDF] . The Graduate School will coordinate posting the document to Digital Commons .
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What is a Capstone Project in Graduate School
Table of contents
As a college student, you may have done several projects, but none will impact your personal and professional development as a capstone project.
This article will help you understand more and give tips on completing such a comprehensive project successfully.
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What is a capstone project.
A capstone project is an opportunity for students to use their knowledge and skills to create a product or solve a real-world problem. It’s often the culmination of a year-long or multi-year project and can take many different forms.
For instance, a capstone project might be a research paper , a business plan, a software application, or a work of art. What’s important is that it allows students to demonstrate what they’ve learned and to apply their skills in real-life situations.
How long is a capstone project?
A capstone project can be anywhere from 10 weeks to two semesters in length. The length of your project will depend on your project's scope and your program's requirements. Most capstone projects range between 10-20 pages.
What is the purpose of a capstone project
As a student in graduate school, the purpose of completing a capstone project is to help you:
1. Apply the lessons learned: A capstone project allows you to apply the knowledge and skills you’ve acquired during your graduate studies to solve a real-world problem.
2. Develop important skills: Through the project, you develop important skills such as writing skills , research, and critical thinking, which are invaluable in any career.
3. Gain hands-on experience: A capstone project also enables you to gain hands-on experience, which can be very helpful when searching for a job after graduation.
Gain hands-on experience: A capstone project also enables you to gain hands-on experience, which can be very helpful when searching for a job after graduation.
What is the difference between a master’s thesis and a capstone project?
A thesis is typically shorter than a capstone project and focuses on demonstrating that you have mastered the theory covered in your coursework. On the other hand, a capstone project is usually longer and focuses on solving a real-world problem by applying the knowledge and skills learned in the classroom.
How do you pick a capstone project topic
For a capstone project, your professor will often allow you to pick your own topic. Picking a topic can be daunting, considering there will be so many options.
Here are five factors that can help you choose the right topic for your capstone project:
Interests and passion
One way to narrow down on your capstone project options is to consider your interests and passions. What are you interested in? What do you enjoy doing or learning about?
When you choose a topic that you're passionate about, you'll be more likely to stay motivated throughout the project.
Consider your strengths
Another way to choose a topic is to consider your strengths. What are you good at? What do you excel at?
By picking a topic that plays to your strengths, you'll be able to produce a high-quality project that showcases your best skills and abilities.
Your personal experiences can also form a good basis for a capstone project topic. Are there any personal experiences that have influenced your academic journey? Has there been an event in your life that has changed the way you think about an issue?
When you go with a topic that’s personal to you, you'll be able to produce a project that’s unique and meaningful.
Talk to friends, family, or professors
If you're still struggling to narrow down your choices, talking to your friends, family, or professors can be helpful. They may have ideas or suggestions that you had yet to consider.
Even if they don't have any specific suggestions, just talking through your options can help you clarify what you should do.
Finally, once you've narrowed down your choices for a capstone project, it's important to do some secondary research .
What has been done in the past? What are the trends? What are the experts saying? By doing some research on your topic, you'll be able to make an informed decision, so you won’t duplicate work.
3 parts of a capstone project
A capstone project consists of three essential parts:
The first part of a capstone project is the proposal. In this phase, you’ll develop your topic and outline your goals for the project. The proposal should be well-researched and include input from your advisor or instructor.
Once the proposal is complete, you’ll present it to a panel of experts for approval before proceeding to the main project.
2. Main project
The second part is the actual execution of the project. This is where you’ll put your knowledge and skills to the test by creating something original.
The main project can take many forms, depending on the student's study area. For example, a nursing student might create a new patient care protocol, while a business student might develop a marketing plan for a new product launch.
The third and final part of a capstone project is the presentation. This is where you showcase your finished product or service to your peers, instructors, and other interested parties.
The PowerPoint presentation should be professional and polished and demonstrate what you’ve learned and how you’ve solved a real-life problem through your project.
How to do a capstone project in 9 steps
The following is a step-by-step guide on how to complete your capstone project in 9 distinct steps.
View Our Free Samples Written by Professional Academic Writers
Choose a topic.
The first step in completing a capstone project is to choose a topic. The topic you choose should be something you are interested in that will allow you to showcase the skills and knowledge acquired during college.
Once you have chosen a topic, you will need to define the scope of your project.
How do you start a capstone project?
The first step is identifying a problem or question you want to address. Once you've done that, you'll need to conduct research and develop a proposal for your project. After your proposal is approved, you can begin working on your project.
Define the scope of your project
The scope of your project will determine how much work you’ll need to do and how long it will take you to complete the project. Be sure to choose an achievable scope, given the time frame and resources available to you.
Develop a proposal
Once you have chosen a topic and defined the scope of your project, it’s time to develop a proposal.
Your proposal should outline your plan and why it’s important. Your instructor or professor must approve the proposal before you begin working on your project.
Create a detailed plan
After receiving the green light to proceed, it’s time to create a detailed plan. Your plan should include everything from what research needs to be done to what deadlines need to be met and what deliverables need to be produced. A detailed plan will help keep you on track as you work on the entire project.
Conduct your research
This is the most crucial step in the process, as it will determine the success of your project. Make sure to consult with experts in your field and use reliable sources for your information. Remember that this is not an opinion piece—it should be based on facts and evidence.
For your project to stay on track, it’s important to set deadlines for each task that needs to be completed. This will help you give each task the appropriate amount of attention so that one task does not take longer than expected.
Write your findings
Once you’ve conducted research, it’s time to write up your findings. This is where all of those notes come in handy.
Be sure to clearly communicate what you found and why it’s important. Remember, the goal of your capstone project is to showcase what you’ve learned during your time in college—so make sure that comes out loud and clear in your writing!
Present your findings
Now that you have written up all your findings, it’s time to present them!
Depending on the requirements of your particular program, this may be done orally or through some other type of presentation (e., poster, video). No matter what form the presentation takes, be sure to practice beforehand to be comfortable with the material and confident when presenting it.
Get feedback from others
After presenting your findings, take some time to get feedback from those involved in reviewing or approving your proposal and those who heard or saw your presentation.
Use this feedback constructively as you reflect on what went well with the project and what you could improve next time.
A capstone project is an excellent way for college students to showcase the knowledge and skills acquired in the classroom. However, such projects are normally extensive and require proper planning and commitment for you to finish successfully.
Though it may seem like a daunting task, completing the project becomes simpler if you break it into manageable chunks. If you’re planning to begin your capstone project in graduate school, follow the steps outlined above for your project to run smoothly from the start to the final presentation.
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Last edit at Jan 18 2023
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What Is A Capstone Project In Graduate Schools? And Its Importance
November 29, 2022 by Ajah_Excel
As a student, you might have heard about the capstone project and a question that might pop in your mind is “what is a capstone project?”.
Capstone projects, while they vary from university to university, are usually more “experiential” projects where students take what they’ve learned throughout the course of their graduate program and apply it to examine a specific idea.
The reason it’s called a capstone is because it is the crowning project that marks the completion of all requirements to graduate with a Masters Degree.
However, to understand why a capstone is required in so many programs, you need to know what it is. This article will cover what a capstone project is all about and also its importance.
Here is a review of what this post looks like:
What Is A Capstone Project?
A capstone project also called a (capstone experience, culminating project, or senior exhibition) is an assignment that has many aspects that serve as a culminating academic and intellectual experience for students, typically during their final year of high school or middle school, or at the end of an academic program.
It is similar to a thesis, but usually results not only in a report, but in a product, a performance or in giving a presentation.
Why Is It Called ‘Capstone’?
The philosophy behind it is quite simple and interesting as well. A capstone, in architectural terms, is the final stone that is laid right on top of a concrete structure to symbolize the completion of the said structure. Apply that to academics, and the capstone project becomes the final stone in the path of your education, signifying its successful end.
Why Do Schools Assign Capstone Project?
Although the projects do showcase your educational accomplishments, they are more about demonstrating that you know how to learn. They are intended to encourage students to use the critical thinking skills they have acquired through their degree programs to solve problems.
Schools also want to see their graduates develop and use public speaking skills. Writing proficiency plays a great part in the assignments because the presentation must usually be accompanied by a portfolio that details the steps you took to reach your conclusion or to create your product.
What Are The Types Of Capstone Projects?
Capstone projects are of many types, and your school has the authority over deciding which type of project you are assigned to. Some of the common types of capstone projects include the following:
- Program evaluations
- Focus groups
- Case studies
- Outcome-based evaluation
There can be other kinds too depending on what your school prefers. However, program evaluations and case studies are the commonest forms.
What Is The Importance Of A Capstone Project?
The main purpose of a capstone project is career advancement. This project has been designed to prepare you for future challenges that come across in your career. In fact, even the topics you are assigned (or even the ones you choose for yourself) are meant to help you analyze real-life problems so that you can find out suitable solutions for them, thereby adding to your wisdom, knowledge, and problem-solving skills.
A capstone project can help to sharpen your research-making skills. Since there are tons of research work when it comes to composing a capstone project, a student is required to search for something authentic, and this leads to them being able to improve their research-making skills.
It can also offer an excellent platform for you. This means that it can strengthen your basic knowledge in a specific course and offer alternatives as to which academic profession to pursue once you complete your studies.
It can help students discover their interests and pursue the academic field accordingly.
What Are The Goals For A Capstone Project?
There are several goals for a capstone and they often include:
- Defining an information problem or opportunity.
- Decide what techniques are required in order to master this information problem or opportunity.
- Include all aspects of the information problem – using people, technology, and information.
- Make a positive difference for the community whether it is a business, school, library, hospital, or other organization.
- Choose a topic or focus area the students are enthusiastic about.
Before a student can actually take a capstone course to begin implementing their capstone project, many students would need to come up with a comprehensive proposal that will be reviewed by a professor or instructor.
This proposal usually contains an introduction, theories, hypotheses, scholarly literature review, research methods, proposal alternatives, and any other issues relevant to the project proposal.
Each capstone requirement is unique to the student’s program, so it is best that a student continuously consults with a program advisor to make sure their capstone proposal meets the necessary requirements.
What Are The Steps Students Need To Take To Do A Capstone Project?
Irrespective of the form of the capstone project you have been assigned, you will have to take certain steps to complete your project. Here, we will discuss the important steps you need to take:
Step 1: Pick A Topic
Whether you have been asked to write an assignment or anything else, you will have to pick a topic. But be wise when choosing one. Experts suggest that you do not choose topics that involve the analysis of statistical data as well as complex concepts and ideas that are too hard to fathom for the readers.
Instead, you should choose topics that focus on real-life situations and one that involves the application of a specific principle that you learned during your course.
Step 2: Submit Your Proposal
Once you have chosen a topic, you will have to come up with a proposal and submit it to your supervisor, or advisor. Yes, much like the thesis, you have an advisor for your capstone project too.
Your proposal should be nearly 40 pages long, and it should adequately introduce the topic you have chosen. You will also have to state the pre-existing theories on your topic as well as your own hypothesis in this proposal. The sections of the literature review and methodology will also be a part of it.
Step 3: Start Working On It
If your proposal gets accepted, you should start working on your capstone project immediately. You may have to conduct a little bit more research than you already have.
Start writing immediately because finishing a capstone project will take a very long time. This is because these projects can be listed as courses in the academic catalog of your school academic catalog, and you will have to devote a semester or a year to it.
What Are The Requirements For A Capstone Project?
Before an individual can complete a capstone project, one must take a series of undergraduate or graduate courses that will give one the theoretical and skills-based knowledge necessary in order to formulate an idea for a capstone proposal.
Classes that are usually required before taking a capstone course usually center around research statistics, ethics, program theory, leadership, and other relevant courses based on the master’s program.
Also, many programs have a GPA requirement before actually completing a capstone course.
Which Programs Usually Require Capstone Projects?
It is very common for master’s programs in social services, public administration, mass communications, and liberal arts to require graduate students to complete a capstone project.
This is because these programs are usually geared towards working professionals and capstone projects give students the ability to take knowledge and theory they have learned and apply in a real-world setting.
How Long Does It Take To Complete A Capstone Project?
This normally will vary from program to program and can be as few as 10 weeks or as many as two semesters depending on the requirements of the program.
It is most common for graduate programs to require a capstone project course that lasts for one semester.
Do Online Students Complete Capstones?
If the program requires one, they do. Online degrees usually follow the same curriculum as traditional degrees, but the material is normally presented differently.
That means if capstones are required of traditional programs, they will be required in online degree paths as well. Although they may, however, be completed in a different format.
What Are The Benefits Of A Capstone Project?
Capstone projects require in-depth research on the chosen topic. They can be frustrating and seem like an unnecessary requirement, but they are beneficial for the student to develop skills.
Students learn to become more inquisitive, develop research plans, and carry out an entire project on their own.
Some of the benefits of capstone projects include:
- The opportunity to explore a topic of your interest.
- The chance to practically apply your skills and knowledge.
- You will get research experience in case you want to pursue more advanced degrees.
- You will increase your employability through the research experience.
- If you are required to work in a group, you will also improve your teamwork skills and will be better at managing people and deadlines.
A capstone project or capstone experience involves the identification of an existing problem in a real-world setting and the application of learned skills and methods to develop a solution that addresses the problem directly.
A capstone project can also expose you to the latest trends in your field as you will have to carry out extensive research to come up with the solution to the problem you intend to address in your paper.
Capstone Project In Graduate Schools FAQs
Most students will have an advisor who is a faculty member in their program who will help them select a capstone that is most relevant to their career goals.
This normally will vary from program to program and can be as few as 10 weeks or as many as two semesters depending on the requirements of the program. It is most common for graduate programs to require a capstone project course that lasts for one semester.
If the program requires one, they do. Online degrees usually follow the same curriculum as traditional degrees, but the material is normally presented differently. That means if capstones are required of traditional programs, they will be required in online degree paths as well. Although they may however be completed in a different format.
It is very common for master’s programs in social services, public administration, mass communications, and liberal arts to require graduate students to complete a capstone project. This is because these programs are usually geared towards working professionals and capstone projects give students the ability to take knowledge and theory they have learned and apply in a real-world setting.
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Choose a Capstone Project
Note the following requirements.
- Students must have completed or currently be enrolled in all required courses prior to making the formal application for a capstone project.
- Students must have completed at least 27 credits prior to making a formal application for a capstone project.
- Students must pay the tuition for all 3 or 6 credits of the capstone project prior to its start.
- Students have up to 12 months to complete the capstone project. If after 12 months the project is not finished, students must register and pay tuition for a 1-credit continuing project course. This registration and tuition charge continues each subsequent term (fall, spring, summer) until the project is completed or the student drops out of the program.
- 3-credit internship required for teachers preparing for Special Education with MN Learning Disabilities Licensure.
- 6-credit internship required for teachers preparing to be a principal.
- 6-credit internship required for people preparing to be an early childhood director.
- MA in Theological Studies may only choose from Field Project and Thesis.
Descriptions of Capstone Projects
Thesis, 6 credits
(Apply for EDU6500 Thesis or THE6500 for MATS)
The thesis is the most traditional format for investigation of an issue in education by means of data gathering and analysis. The research design for this option may be experimental, quasi-experimental, or descriptive, and may employ qualitative, quantitative, or mixed method data collection. The following sections may be adapted to a specific research project, but the general content of the chapters applies.
CHAPTER 1. INTRODUCTION This section informs the reader of the research topic being studied, the significance of the research, the scope of the study, and the setting and participants in the study.
CHAPTER 2. LITERATURE REVIEW This chapter provides an overview of what other researchers have determined in regard to the study.
CHAPTER 3. METHODOLOGY This section describes everything done to conduct the research.
CHAPTER 4. RESULTS This section presents the data and discusses the data’s relevance to the research question and/or the hypothesis of the research and the review of literature.
CHAPTER 5. SUMMARY, CONCLUSIONS, AND RECOMMENDATIONS This is a summary of the project, the implications of the results, and suggestions for further study.
REFERENCES APPENDICES One copy of the thesis is hard-cover and bound by the Office of Graduate Studies for placement in the MLC Library.
CLICK HERE to begin.
Curriculum Development, 6 credits
(Apply for EDU6201 Project/Professional Paper)
Curriculum development projects include designing new courses or units of instruction. They may include new instructional techniques and/or teaching materials. These courses or units must be described, evaluated, and documented in such a way that they could be applied and taught in a classroom by other teachers. Curriculum development projects involve constructing curriculum, teaching it, and assessing it. The report follows this format.
PART I: INTRODUCTION Problem/Purpose of the Study Introduction Importance of the Study Procedures Project Goal
PART II: LITERATURE REVIEW Introduction Heading Heading Summary
PART III: IMPLEMENTATION Introduction Procedures Artifacts Results
PART IV: REFLECTIVE ESSAY Introduction Conclusion Recommendations
Internship, 3 or 6 credits
(Apply for EDU6300 Internship – 3 credit, EDU6301 Internship – 6 credit, or *EDU6302 Internship – 3 credit)
- CLICK HERE for EDU6300 Internship Handbook for Principals and Directors
- CLICK HERE for EDU6301 Internship Handbook for Principals and Directors
- CLICK HERE for EDU6301 Internship Handbook for Technology Directors
- CLICK HERE for EDU6302 Internship Handbook for Special Education Learning Disabilities
The internship is completed in an educational setting. Consult the specific internship handbook for the time requirement. The internship is done under the supervision of a field supervisor who is approved by the student’s advisor and by the director of graduate studies. For example, an internship may be completed under the supervision of a principal, experienced teacher, special education teacher, early childhood education teacher, or another educational leader.
Students seeking to fulfill the requirements for EDU6300 or EDU6301 through an administrative internship need to complete all aspects of the internship as outlined in the internship handbook. However, they may utilize previous experiences to demonstrate competence in the standards required for the portfolio. Evidence from experiences outside of the internship may not exceed 50% of the overall evidence submitted.
The report follows this format.
PART I: INTRODUCTION Purpose/Goals of the Internship Importance of the Internship Connection to Standards
PART III: JOURNAL (See Template)
*Those completing the post-baccalaureate licensure or learning disabilities licensure with their master’s degree should consult the MLC licensure office for specific directions relative to EDU6302.
Field Project, 3 credits
(Apply for EDU6200 Project/Professional Paper or THE6200 for MATS) A field project is an investigation of an educational issue or implementation of a strategy that has meaning within the student’s local context. The format for written work will vary according to the project and will be determined in consultation with the advisor and committee. In general, the report follows this format.
PART I: INTRODUCTION Identify the Issue Importance of Project Project Purpose or Goal
CLICK HERE to begin.
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All candidates for the MA in Education must complete a Capstone Project as part of their program of study. This implies a combination of practice and theory and the ability to think critically about one’s work based on both experience and knowledge. The candidate will prepare an APA style paper and a power point presentation.
The purpose of the Capstone Project is that of a final performance assessment to demonstrate candidates’ proficiency with regard to standards for their area of study and the mission of the School of Education Graduate Programs. The assessment will consist of a 20 minute presentation and an APA style paper that provides an overview and synthesis of the program of study.
The candidate will prepare an apa style paper and a presentation to demonstrate the answer to the following question.
How has the program of study influenced your development as a reflective decision-maker who demonstrates leadership, is a competent professional, and facilitates learning for all students?
For the APA style paper, candidates should plan to expand upon and identify key points that stood out to them throughout their program of study. The paper needs to be at minimum ten pages using APA style and utilizing academic language. The paper should also identify artifacts, citing references and theorist, and inform the readers of key areas of weakness and growth.
Indicators may include, but are not limited to, these criteria
- For the powerpoint presentation, candidates should plan to use selected artifacts from coursework and/or their professional activities as part of the evidence presented.
- The Capstone Project will be evaluated within the context of the program of study as to the extent to which the presentation provides evidence of the candidate’s abilities. Indicators may include, but are not limited to, the criteria listed below.
- Demonstrates initiative and strategic planning to improve student achievement
- Uses collaboration and facilitation skills in managing change
- Uses relevant data in decision-making
- Communicates respect for individual differences
- Promotes supportive & positive classroom/school environment
- Uses inclusive communication strategies to involve school communities
- Models integrity, fairness, and ethical behavior
Facilitates Learning for all Students
- Demonstrates a personal belief system regarding how people learn
- Engages in practices that support that belief
- Articulates the theories or theorists that inform the understanding of learning
- Explains how instructional practices provide for needs of diverse learners
- Provides evidence of learning gains
- Demonstrates appropriate classroom management
- Shows proficiency as a consumer of relevant data in decision-making
- Demonstrates familiarity with instructional strategies
- Demonstrates knowledge of standards, and
- Demonstrates knowledge of field/content
The Capstone Project Panel may consist of some combination of these individuals
- An Adams State School of Education faculty member from the relevant area of emphasis (Educational Leadership, Special Education, Culturally & Linguistically Diverse Education, Curriculum and Instruction, or Reading Teacher)
- Practicing administrators or teachers
- Professors outside the area of emphasis
After the candidate has completed the CAP exercises, they will be sent a letter informing them of their grade, Pass or Fail. This evaluation summary may be mailed to the candidate upon request. The candidate may also be provided with a summary of the evaluators’ comments to the candidate’s performance citing both strengths and areas needing improvement. If the candidate’s performance on any section of the Capstone Project is considered “below proficient”, a remediation plan will be developed by the CAP Panel Chairperson, jointly with the candidate in order to remedy the identified weaknesses. The candidate must then satisfy the requirements of that plan before a passing evaluation of the CAP is awarded.
Candidates must receive a rating of “proficient” or above in order to graduate.
- Capstone Project Eval Rubric
- Capstone Project Rubric Support
- Education /
- Graduate School /
- Public Health /
- MPH Program /
- Culminating Experiences /
This course allows the student to demonstrate public health competencies through the completion of a major written paper on a significant public health issue or topic. The Capstone Project should be taken as the last course of the MPH program, and it requires substantial preparation; the student is expected to begin planning more than three months before enrolling in the course. A Timeline of Responsibilities 2021-2022 (PDF) lists activities and deadlines several semesters in advance. This website describes the course and its responsibilities in detail. For further information, please contact the MPH Program at [email protected] or (414) 955-4510.
Preparing For Your Capstone
Overview (PDF) - Provides a general explanation of the Capstone Project course. Planning your Project (PDF) - Describes the first steps in Capstone Project planning. Explains the website and course prerequisites, and introduces the major component of the course, the writing of a Master's Paper. Developing a Proposal (PDF) - Provides general information about the development of a proposal as well as specifics regarding the proposal form and submission process. Working on your Project (PDF) - Describes the submission and formatting processes as well as the other final responsibilities of submitting a PowerPoint presentation and the Graduating Student Final Competency Self Assessment. Sections of the Master's Paper (PDF) - Explains how to organize your Master’s Paper and create an outline as well as the different sections of the paper: title page, abstract, introduction, purpose statement, literature review, methods, results, discussion, conclusion, references, and appendices
An original Master’s Paper on a significant public health or community health issue or topic will be the primary component of the Capstone Project. All papers are required to contain a comprehensive literature review. The Master’s Paper can take many forms and may include:
- Program Development. Students work to develop a program in areas such as health promotion or a community intervention.
- Program Evaluation. Students conduct an evaluation of a public or community health program to determine effectiveness and outcomes.
- Community Assessment. Students conduct various aspects of a community health assessment.
- Community Health Planning. Students develop various aspects of a community health plan.
- Public Health Policy. Students research and develop a public policy analysis or an advocacy statement related to a significant public or community health issue.
- Applied Research. Students conduct research on a public or community health topic of interest.
Presentation: Working on your Project (PDF)
Writing Your Master's Paper
Presentation: Sections of the Master's Paper (PDF) Formatting Standards of Capstone Paper (PDF)
The paper should be of publishable quality and include the following:
- Title Page – Include name, title of project, Faculty Advisor’s name, and project’s time frame. Title Page Template (PDF)
- Abstract – Provide an overview of the paper. The abstract should not exceed 300 words.
Sample Abstract (PDF)
- Introduction – A brief overview of the paper including a summary of the background leading to the research question or purpose of the paper. Sample Introduction with Purpose Statement (PDF)
- Purpose Statement or Research Question(s) – If more than one purpose or question is applicable, limit the description to one brief paragraph each. Sample Introduction with Purpose Statement (PDF)
- Literature Review – Identify and review literature and previous research applicable to the paper topic. This section should include a synthesis and discussion of the reviewed literature to identify strengths, weaknesses, trends, opportunities, etc. The review should provide the basis for the paper.
- Methods – Describe the methodology utilized in the development of the paper. This might include the design, setting, participants, intervention, and main outcome measures of the Capstone Project, or it might provide details regarding sampling, measurement, data collection, and analysis of research.
- Results – Present the results of the Capstone Project. Explain the product of the effort put forth.
Sample Results (PDF)
- Discussion – Discuss, in detail, the results. Place the results in the context of the existing base of knowledge on the topic, and discuss limitations. Sample Discussion (PDF)
- Conclusion – Provide discrete conclusions supported by evidence. Express any further study or effort implied by the conclusions, and give equal attention to positive and negative conclusions.
- References – Properly and consistently cite references in a reputable format of the student’s choice.
Citation Guide (website)
- Appendices – Support materials may include IRB letters, survey/interview instruments, letters of support, data analysis coding sheets, or others.
Examples of Previous Students' Abstracts & PowerPoint Presentations
Required 10 weeks before enrollment.
Early Capstone Request Form (PDF)
Required before the end of the final semester.
Permission to Post Form
Required at least six weeks before enrollment.
Capstone Project Proposal (DOC) Capstone Project Proposal Sample (PDF)
Begins three months before enrollment.
Timeline of Responsibilities (PDF)
Review more than three months prior to enrollment in Capstone Project course.
Capstone Project Handbook (PDF)
Required two weeks prior to end of semester.
Master's Paper Title Page Template Sample (DOC)
Required by the end of the final semester.
Graduating Student Final Competency Self-Assessment (DOC)
Required before the end of the semester.
Faculty Advisor Evaluation of Student's Capstone Project (DOC)
In order to successfully finish graduate school, most master's programs require students to either write a thesis or complete a capstone project. A capstone project serves as another way to prove your understanding of a given subject
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Students must have completed or currently be enrolled in all required courses prior to making the formal application for a capstone project. Students must pay the tuition for all 3 or 6 credits of the capstone project prior to its start
The capstone project is designed so that students gain practical professional experience in the field of economic development and innovation. Once you identify a supervisor, you will complete the 'change of supervisor' form
All candidates for the MA in Education must complete a Capstone Project as part of their program of study. This implies a combination of practice and theory and the ability to think critically about one's work based on both experience and knowledge
The Capstone Project should be taken as the last course of the MPH program, and it requires substantial preparation; the student is expected to begin planning more than three months before enrolling in the course