While researching potential graduate degree programs, students may become acquainted with the concept of a capstone experience and may wonder, “what is a capstone project, and why are they required by most master’s programs?” These projects are sometimes called a culminating project or capstone experience. Other programs call their projects senior exhibitions or senior projects. Most graduate school programs require students to write a thesis or complete a Capstone Project. Capstone projects vary from program to program and often are a requirement to provide students the opportunity to use what they have learned and apply it to a specific area of professional practice.
Related resource:Top 20 Health Administration and Healthcare Management Degree Programs Based on Overall Quality Measures
What Exactly is a Capstone Project?
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. In some cases, a capstone project will be geared toward research, while others are more oriented toward problem-solving. Solutions are usually interactive, meaning they can be implemented and used.
What Are the Goals of a Capstone Project?
Typically 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
Who helps me to decide what Capstone is appropriate to select?
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. In some degree programs, the student may need to submit a proposal for their capstone and then wait for approval from their faculty advisor. Other programs may provide a static list of capstone topics or projects, and students will choose the option that aligns best with their personal interests. While researching potential graduate degree programs, students may find it beneficial to investigate the parameters of the capstone experience at their chosen school.
Are There Specific Types of Master’s Programs That Generally Require Capstone Projects?
Most master’s degree programs in public administration, social services, public administration, mass communications, and liberal arts require graduate students to complete a capstone project. This can vary from program to program and usually will be listed in general requirements to complete their masters’ degree. Capstone projects are geared towards working professionals to give students the ability to take knowledge and theory they have learned and apply in a real-world setting. Here are some examples of what programs might require a capstone project:
- Master of Public Health programs often require a Capstone because it provides an opportunity for students to work on public health practice projects that areas of Public Health that are of specific interest to them. A capstone allows the student an opportunity to synthesize, integrate, and apply the skills and competencies acquired to a public health problem.
- Master of Science and Master of Arts in Public Health programs often require either a Capstone or a Culminating Experience.
- Some Master of Business Administration (MBA) programs require student’s completion of a capstone and can be a long-term research project that addresses a specific business problem or opportunity.
- Many of the Master of Healthcare Administration (MHA) programs require Capstone projects, which allows students the chance to apply their coursework in organizational settings of their choice that might include hospitals, community health agencies, local, state, and federal public health agencies, non-profit organizations, research and health policy organizations.
Are There Generally Prerequisites Required For a Capstone Project?
Before choosing a capstone project, students (undergraduate or graduate) will be required to take courses providing them with the theory and skills-based knowledge needed to formulate an idea for a capstone proposal. These classes will be in areas such as research statistics, ethics, program theory, and leadership; they will be relevant courses based on the master’s program curriculum.
How Long Does a Capstone Project Usually Take to Complete?
This will vary from program to program and can be as few as 10 weeks to 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.
What are the Benefits of Capstone Projects?
Capstone projects often fulfill several goals in modern education and are a welcome alternative for many students to the traditional thesis-based degree program. Capstone experiences often increase the rigor of the program by requiring extensive work conducted outside the classroom during internship experiences or time spent in scientific inquiry. The personal nature of a capstone project may also prove beneficial to students who have chosen a project that is particularly important to them. For example, according to an article on Newport Rhode Island, a high school student was recently inspired to complete a capstone experience relating to cancer after being inspired by her mother’s cancer fight.
Another benefit of a culminating experience is that it can offer a student a firm example of their experience and talents that they can offer to a prospective employer. A college degree is an excellent way to secure employment, but a capstone experience may offer the best example of a student’s talents and knowledge on a particular subject. Students who complete a capstone may also feel a sense of self-satisfaction at having finished a complex project on their own.
What Are Some Examples of Capstone Projects?
Capstone projects vary according to the subject matter of the student’s program and often require building something, designing a plan, or conducting a scientific study. Here are a few examples of capstone experiences in graduate programs.
Master of Business Administration: Participate in an internship at a local business where the student will experience real-life business practices and write a comprehensive essay on the experience.
Master of Agricultural Science: Conduct a scientific experiment that measures some facet of farming and determine the effects of a certain agricultural practice.
Master of Computer Science: Design and create a fully-functional computer application that demonstrates a computer science graduate student’s ability to apply the knowledge and concepts they’ve acquired in school.
Master of Theater Arts: Write and direct a stage play that will be performed by fellow students at the conclusion of the student’s final semester in the graduate program.
Master of Electrical Engineering: Complete a project that showcases the student’s ability to conceptualize, develop, design, manufacture, and test an idea, as well as create documentation for the project.
One of the deciding factors in choosing a graduate degree program might be the curriculum or overall format of the curriculum. Some students may pursue programs with thesis projects because they are most comfortable writing about what they’ve learned.
Other students may gravitate toward schools that offer capstone experiences because they have an interest in fieldwork or the creation of a project that may benefit them on their resume. Understanding what a capstone project is and why they are required by most master’s programs can help students make a final decision on their graduate degree program.
What is a Capstone Project and Why Are They Required By Most Master’s Programs? - Healthcare Management Degree Guide? ›
A capstone allows the student an opportunity to synthesize, integrate, and apply the skills and competencies acquired to a public health problem. Master of Science and Master of Arts in Public Health programs often require either a Capstone or a Culminating Experience.What is a capstone project for Masters? ›
A capstone project for graduate school is a culminating project that has students apply their knowledge, skills, and training to a real-world problem. Many graduate degrees in the field of education, liberal arts, public health, and communication utilize capstone projects for a student's final work to graduate.What is a capstone project and why is it important? ›
A Capstone Project is a multifaceted body of work that serves as a culminating academic and intellectual experience for students.What is a capstone project for MHA? ›
The capstone project is the culmination of your Executive MHA studies, undertaken at the end of your second year. It is designed to provide meaningful hands-on experience solving the kind of real-world problems health administrators face.Do all masters require a capstone? ›
No, not all colleges require capstone research projects. Additionally, some schools and programs may only make them mandatory in certain instances, such as specific degree levels or majors. Generally, a thesis or similar research experience is more common for graduate degrees than undergraduate degrees.What is a capstone project in healthcare administration? ›
The Capstone experience is your final graduate scholarly project. Your work will focus on performing a literature review, working on the project, and interacting with your mentor/organization to progress through your project.What is the difference between a master's thesis and a capstone project? ›
A capstone project attempts to address an issue in the field by applying existing knowledge toward a real-life problem (often in the form of fieldwork). A thesis seeks to create new knowledge through student research, trying to prove or argue a hypothesis, rather than just investigate a topic.What is the main goal of capstone project? ›
The capstone project is designed to consolidate final-year students' learning with valuable hands-on experience to help develop them into well-prepared and well-rounded graduates.Do colleges look at capstone projects? ›
Still, if you take Capstone, aspects of the program—especially the long research paper—will likely look desirable to most colleges. The independent research AP Capstone requires could be the topic of a college essay or at least something substantial to talk about in an interview.How long is a master's capstone paper? ›
A capstone paper may be 25 pages, where a thesis could be 100 or more, and is a more demanding research paper. If an undergraduate student chooses to further their education and enter into a doctoral program, the capstone project could be an invaluable tool in preparing for a thesis.
“Capstones are too easy.”
Rather, they are rigorous, well-rounded academic undertakings. Capstones require research, community input, analysis, experimentation, public speaking and a formal presentation. Many educators compare the project to a National Science Fair presentation—or better yet, a Master's dissertation.
- Parts of a Scientific & Scholarly Paper.
- Evaluation of free clinic process.
- The role of project management in effective political campaigns.
- The practice of ethical thinking in administration.
- Modern strategies for rate of return and capital investment.
- The importance of conflict administration for big companies.
If you have failed your capstone course, or a combination of a comprehensive exam and a capstone course attempt, you are no longer eligible for degree conferral. Upon request, an official letter will be provided confirming your GPA and semester hours completed toward the degree.What are the qualities of a good capstone project? ›
The best Capstone proposals are important but not urgent; achievable within the academic time frame and with the resources available; provide a clear definition of the problem or issue to be addressed; have a realistic scope; and specify tangible deliverables for the Capstone team to provide.What is an example of a healthcare capstone project? ›
Medical Capstone Project Ideas for College
Designing an app for elderly people living alone. Creating a mobile healthcare system to track patients' progress after surgery or treatment procedures. Establishing a brand new method of diagnosing cancer by using artificial intelligence technology.
A capstone course has expectations similar to a project. The difference is that the scope of the project is defined so that the results can be achieved within a semester. Also, students work with the instructor of the course (or another faculty member, if required) rather than a faculty committee.What to expect from a capstone project? ›
The capstone project is a two-semester experiment during the last year in which high school, college, or university students choose the question or a problem and research it. They look for information, analyze it, engage in debates, organize activities.Does your capstone project matter? ›
Why Capstone Projects Matter. Capstone projects provide students with the opportunity to experience real-world issues in their chosen field and demonstrate workforce readiness. A college graduate can share their capstone with potential employers to demonstrate their knowledge and abilities.Should I do a thesis or project for my masters? ›
The thesis option is most appropriate for students who desire to develop additional research skills and who plan on pursuing a Ph. D. or seek a career in research. The project option oftentimes involves the researcher seeking to solve a problem or issue of significance in regulatory affairs or quality assurance.
However, capstone projects differ from dissertations in that they do not follow the five-chapter format, and can take multiple forms–for example, a new curriculum for students, a teacher or staff training plan, a new piece of software that addresses a learning need, or an in-depth research paper on solutions to a ...How do you write a purpose for a capstone project? ›
Purpose (cont.) If completing a capstone, the statement also needs to state what you plan to present as a deliverable for your project. You should mention the intended audience for your deliverable, and mention why the deliverable justifies the intended audience.Is Capstone project work experience? ›
A Capstone Project Enhances Your Resume
A capstone programme can help you gain practical work experience to add to your resume. This can be a great way to show off your skills, learn new ones, and get some experience working in a team environment.
- What is the Capstone Project/Course? ...
- What are some of the advantages for students? ...
- How big are the project teams? ...
- Where do projects come from? ...
- What background will the students bring to the Capstone Project? ...
- What is the process for getting a project submitted as a potential Capstone Project?
Most graduate school programs require students to write a thesis or complete a Capstone Project. Capstone projects vary from program to program and often are a requirement to provide students the opportunity to use what they have learned and apply it to a specific area of professional practice.How long is a capstone project? ›
Capstone Projects vary in length, but you can expect to spend about 4 to 8 weeks working on your project, making revisions, and reviewing the work of your peers. Most Capstone Projects require about 40 hours of total work time.What is the final project for a Masters degree? ›
A capstone project is the final project before graduation from grad school. It is an in depth study of a topic selected by the student which showcases the students' skills and knowledge.What is the difference between research and capstone? ›
Research projects focus more on developing or proposing theories, whereas capstone projects focus more on achieving tangible or intangible results through research.What is another name for a capstone course? ›
A capstone might be called a culmination project, senior thesis, or a final exhibition.How many people fail capstone? ›
Fail rate: 87.03%.
To pass the Capstone Exam course and earn a certificate, you need to achieve a total score of at least 50%.What should students do before they start their capstone? ›
Before you start working on your project, it is essential to do your research. This will help you better understand the problem you are trying to solve and give you direction on how to solve it. Not doing your research can lead to wasted time and effort spent on something that may not even be possible to solve.How do I choose a topic for a capstone project? ›
Choosing a topic
For a capstone or thesis topic consider: Issues that are relevant to your workplace, classroom experience, or career goals. A topic that has caught your eye in your textbook, a journal article, or an issue that you explored for previous classwork or projects and would like to pursue further.
Body of Thesis/Capstone
The text is to be double spaced with paragraph indentions. Margins are one-inch at top, bottom and right. A one and one-half inch margin on left side of the paper will allow for binding.
- Cover page with: Title. ...
- Project Summary. A brief summary of the overall goal of the project and the final outcomes to be developed from. ...
- Literature Review or Annotated Work to Support the Project. ...
- Methods of Project. ...
- Timeline. ...
- Final Product. ...
- Dissemination. ...
In most cases, the capstone project will be an interdisciplinary study of approximately 25-35 pages in length that demonstrates graduate level research and writing skills.Can the capstone project go on resume? ›
A capstone, thesis or senior project can be included if your major had one. ←WORK EXPERIENCE: Use action verbs to describe your experience.What happens if you don't pass your capstone? ›
Can you fail a capstone course? Yes, you can fail a capstone course. However, failing a capstone course at some universities could disqualify you from graduating from that particular major or program. Other schools could require you to revise your capstone project until it's approved or you receive a passing grade.How long should a capstone proposal be? ›
The length of a good capstone project proposal should be between 1 and 4 pages. Anything longer is discouraged unless your instructor says otherwise. Thus, refine it until it is concise, clear, and direct.What are the two required components of the capstone project? ›
The Capstone Project consists of two components: (1) a written portion and (2) a presentation of the research in a public academic, professional, or creative forum.
How Long Does a Capstone Project Usually Take to Complete? This will vary from program to program and can be as few as 10 weeks to 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.What is an example of a capstone project? ›
Capstone project examples
Analyze soil samples from different areas or over time; study the population of a local animal; experiment with plants and seeding; run a summer camp for children to encourage science and outdoor exploration; found a community garden.
In most cases, the capstone project will be an interdisciplinary study of approximately 25-35 pages in length that demonstrates graduate level research and writing skills.Is a Masters capstone hard? ›
The Capstone Project
This project can be challenging and rewarding since it may require extensive knowledge of the specific field of study. Moreover, it's a key component in preparing students by helping students learn professional skills and gain hands-on experience.
While a project of this scope and scale can be challenging, it can also be very rewarding. The capstone project is usually the final assignment and plays a vital role in preparing students for the world of work thanks to its practical applications and ability to help hone students' professional knowledge and skills.How many pages is a master's capstone? ›
“The time and detail that is required of a master's thesis is greater.” A capstone paper may be 25 pages, where a thesis could be 100 or more, and is a more demanding research paper.What is the final project for a masters degree? ›
A capstone project is the final project before graduation from grad school. It is an in depth study of a topic selected by the student which showcases the students' skills and knowledge.What are the deliverables for a capstone project? ›
Your capstone requires execution of a project in which the final product is a potential deliverable for a work- place audience accompanied by a rationale report. Example deliverables include a training manual, a set of public relations materials, a website (design and content), or a usability assessment.
A capstone is a multilayered project that serves as a culminating academic experience for students, typically at the end of an academic program, whereas a thesis is a long research paper that typically serves as the final project for a university degree.