What is a Capstone Project and Why Are They Required By Most Master’s Programs? - Healthcare Management Degree Guide (2024)

What is a Capstone Project and Why Are They Required By Most Master’s Programs? - Healthcare Management Degree Guide (1)

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.

Featured Programs

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 (2024)


What is a Capstone Project and Why Are They Required By Most Master’s Programs? - Healthcare Management Degree Guide? ›

Many of the Master of Healthcare Administration

Master of Healthcare Administration
The Master of Health Administration, Master of Healthcare Administration (MHA), or Master of Health Management (MHM), is a master's-level professional degree granted to students who complete a course of study in the knowledge and competencies needed for careers in health administration, involving the management of ...
https://en.wikipedia.org › Master_of_Health_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 ...

What is a capstone project in healthcare management? ›

The capstone project and accompanying research paper serve as the culminating assessment in the MHA program. Examples of capstone projects: Create a marketing campaign for a healthcare facility. Work with management to revise existing policies and procedures and maximize operational efficiency.

What is a capstone project and why is it important? ›

A capstone project aims to demonstrate a student's mastery of a particular subject or field of study. It is typically a culminating project that integrates and applies the knowledge and skills acquired throughout the course of a degree program.

Do all masters require a capstone? ›

Master's programs usually require a capstone or culminating experience that indicates the ability to synthesize material from course work and to apply information and knowledge to a specific issue or problem, although some programs may require only completion of course work.

What is the main objective of the capstone program? ›

Capstones, as culminating educational experiences, are expected to meet many purposes: synthesis and application of prior learning, developing skills and attributes related to employability, and more recently, quality assurance.

What is a capstone project for a master's degree? ›

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 are the examples of master's capstone projects? ›

They include small-scale field research projects, library studies of a topic, designing and implementing a training program, analysis of social media, doing a participatory action project, or analyzing nonformal education programs.

What makes a capstone project different from a thesis? ›

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.

Do capstone projects look good on resume? ›

But if you just finished college, a big project—whether you did it for a class, an honors or capstone program, an internship, or your own research—can show that you have a lot of valuable workplace skills such as leadership, collaboration, presentation, and public speaking, Goodfellow says.

What makes a capstone project successful? ›

What makes a good capstone project? Engaged sponsors, clear deliverables, proper scope, non-critical to clients' long-term success, and finding the correct department for the project all contribute to success.

Can you fail a capstone project? ›

If students do not meet the learning outcomes and assessment requirements, they will fail the capstone.

Is a Masters capstone hard? ›

Taking on a big, longer-term academic or professional project can be very challenging. So when you complete a capstone project, it can provide a confidence boost by demonstrating to yourself and your peers, professors and future employers what you're capable of accomplishing in your field of study.

How long is a Masters capstone? ›

The capstone project will typically be a digital project related to the student's area of study, accompanied by a 20-25 page double-spaced white paper.

Is a capstone course hard? ›

I would say that AP Capstone is worth it ONLY if you're very much interested in it and not only doing for the sake of whichever college you wish to be in. The program is definitely tough and demanding.

What is another name for a capstone project? ›

Also called a capstone experience, culminating project, or senior exhibition, among many other terms, a capstone project is a multifaceted assignment that serves 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 ...

How long is a capstone project? ›

However, most capstone projects are generally around 20-50 pages long when written as a research paper. For the undergraduate level, a capstone project is usually around 20-30 pages long, while graduate-level capstone projects tend to be longer, around 30-50 pages.

What is the difference between a capstone project and a normal project? ›

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.

How many hours should a capstone project take? ›

Students are not required to track the time they spend on their capstones. However, the expectation is that students spend no less than 30 hours working on the project. Ultimately, a capstone is meant to be a significant endeavor to produce a high-quality product--not something that can be done in a few evenings.

What is the difference between a capstone project and a research project? ›

Research projects focus more on developing or proposing theories, whereas capstone projects focus more on achieving tangible or intangible results through research.

What are the 4 steps in conducting a capstone project? ›

Steps in doing a capstone paper or project
  • Select a topic area. ...
  • Do a literature review. ...
  • Doing primary research (for those students required to do so). ...
  • Present your results.
Mar 21, 2024

Top Articles
Latest Posts
Article information

Author: Carmelo Roob

Last Updated:

Views: 5892

Rating: 4.4 / 5 (65 voted)

Reviews: 88% of readers found this page helpful

Author information

Name: Carmelo Roob

Birthday: 1995-01-09

Address: Apt. 915 481 Sipes Cliff, New Gonzalobury, CO 80176

Phone: +6773780339780

Job: Sales Executive

Hobby: Gaming, Jogging, Rugby, Video gaming, Handball, Ice skating, Web surfing

Introduction: My name is Carmelo Roob, I am a modern, handsome, delightful, comfortable, attractive, vast, good person who loves writing and wants to share my knowledge and understanding with you.