Need help with capstone project? Find it here – from topic ideas to research proposal and writing tips!
“Do I need help with my capstone project?” I hear you saying. “I don’t even know how to make sense of it all!” Do not worry! Everyone gets a bit nervous facing a big project.
It will take work, planning, and discipline, but it isn’t something extraordinarily difficult. Definitely not something beyond your reach. Let’s start from the very beginning.
Capstone project: meaning and purpose
The capstone project definition seems a bit elusive. Generally speaking, it is a big and laborious academic project required from you before you obtain your degree or diploma.
The name comes from a “cap-stone” – a flat piece of masonry used on top of the finished wall to protect it and to show that the work is done. Therefore, the capstone is a vivid metaphor for a project that is your crowning achievement, something that your entire education has been building towards. It is meant to test and show off the skills and competencies you’ve developed during the course.
“Isn’t that just a synonym for a thesis, then?” you might ask. The capstone project vs thesis relationship is confusing for many undergraduate students. Yet these two are not exactly the same.
Students planning to continue their education in grad school and get a Ph.D., or willing to pursue a career in research, usually required to write a thesis. Students, who want to work after graduation and apply their knowledge practically, should do a capstone project.
What is a capstone project exactly?
What is a capstone project in college, then? It’s important to understand the difference between a capstone paper and a thesis, especially if you need to choose which one you are going to perform for your final college evaluation.
Although their purposes are very similar, the ways they are performed and submitted are different. A thesis is first and foremost a research work. You have a hypothesis and you try to prove it by collecting and processing data from research literature and your own independent field and lab work. A thesis shows off how good a researcher you are.
A capstone project, on the other hand, is more practical. Usually, it is associated with Humanities and Liberal Arts degrees. However, many business degrees, being highly application-oriented, often require an MBA capstone project rather than a thesis.
For example, for your art degree, a capstone project might be to organize an exhibition or shoot a short film. For business administration, you will need to implement and test a theory and measure the impact it had on a real enterprise.
You will still need to do research and sum up your work in a paper or a series of essays, but those papers will only be a part of the entire project. They will most likely ask you to make a presentation, but unlike with the thesis, you rarely must defend your project or pass any such examination.
How to write a capstone project
Assuming you know how to do what you want as your capstone project, the writing part is fairly simple. First, it’s shorter than a thesis and can be way under one hundred pages. In fact, the contents of the paper on your capstone project depend on what you have specified when you submitted your proposal.
Usually, you will be required to present a list of components of your project complete with an explanation of how they relate to each other. For example, a paper outlining the concept of the future exhibition, a photo report from the exhibition, an essay detailing the impact that exhibition had on the local community with critical reviews attached.
You also will need to describe where you found all necessary information, for example, monographs on aesthetic principles and manifests of the artistic movements you will represent in your exhibition.
Can I buy capstone project write-up?
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How does a sample capstone project outline look?
Capstone project outline, aka proposal, is usually a short paper that follows a standard template:
- General information: project title, your name, the name of your advisor and the second reader.
- Project description: a short overview of the work you intend to do.
- Project components: all necessary papers and other materials that you will submit when your project is complete, including any product, presentation, or performance that must be a result of your work.
- Special skills you will need to complete the project: explain also how you acquired them and how they relate to your educational program.
- Justification: how will your capstone project demonstrate your proficiencies and subject mastery.
- Project timeline.
- Resources: any books and materials you will need for your project.
Ideas for capstone project high school student can tackle
Usually, capstone projects are elective in high school. That means such a project isn’t required for graduation. However, many students choose to undertake a capstone project as a chance to prove their preparedness for higher education and to impress college officials with another achievement.
It is also an integrative experience where students explore their interests and apply the knowledge and skills they have received at school to suggest an actionable solution to a problem they care about.
Guidelines for high-school capstone projects are usually more flexible than for college ones. Here are some examples of topics to explore:
- STEM: Learn about game design and app development and build a game or app
- Community: Come up with and implement a community service project that will benefit your school or neighborhood
- History: Conduct interviews with older members of your community and present a short documentary on the recent past of your town
- Business: Create a business plan for your future enterprise or come up with a marketing plan for a local business that will benefit from more awareness
Senior capstone project examples for college students
If you are about to graduate from college, it makes sense for your capstone project to be connected with your chosen career path. Therefore, the specific ideas will depend on it and on your passions greatly. However, here are some examples for inspiration:
- Education: Lesson plans for intermediate level English course (EASL)
- Business: New virtual recruitment policies for a Company A: implementation and impact on remote workers’ retention
- History: Participation in the reenactment of a significant battle from the American Revolution with the interpretation of its historical significance and political outcomes
- Athletics: Building a nutrition plan and a training program that prepares beginners for their first marathon
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