Graduate Studies

Capstone, Thesis, & Dissertation Guidelines

Depending on your graduate program, you may be required to complete a capstone, thesis, or dissertation as part of your degree requirements. This page is designed to help you determine which, if any, of these you will need to complete for your program, and provide guidance on department and campus resources available to you.

The Different Types of Culminating Projects

See each section below for details on what comprises each type of culminating project.

Typically completed during the final semesters of a graduate degree program, a Capstone project serves as the culmination of a student’s educational experience. Usually, the Capstone project is completed alongside a semester-long seminar course designed to help a student workshop and fine-tune their ideas with their peers.

Specifications for the Capstone project will vary by department. Please see your academic department’s website or your faculty academic advisor for additional details.

A thesis is a final research paper required for the completion of many master’s degree programs. All students completing a thesis should follow University guidelines for preparation and submission.

Your department may also have specific requirements that you should be aware of. Please see your academic department’s website of your faculty academic advisor for additional details.

A dissertation is a final research paper required for the completion of many doctoral degree programs. Dissertations usually call for doctoral candidates to conduct their own research, and offer the opportunity to contribute new knowledge to their field of study.

Internship or Field Experience

Academic Portfolio

Comprehensive Exam

 

Program Information

Use the table below to find out what the project requirements are for your specific degree program. Also linked are any available program resources. We recommend referring to your department, faculty academic advisor, or thesis/capstone advisor for additional information.

 

Program

Degree

Culminating Project

Department Resources

Biology

MS

Thesis (Research or Literature Review)

Program Requirements

Business Administration

MBA

Capstone (Practicum)

MBA 698 Course Description

Business Administration - Engineering

MBA

Capstone

EGN 602 Course Description

Business Administration - Accounting

MBA

Capstone (Practicum)

MBA 698 Course Description

Business Administration - Business Analytics

MBA

Capstone (Practicum)

MBA 698 Course Description

Business Administration - Finance

MBA

Capstone (Practicum)

MBA 698 Course Description

Business Administration - Health Management

MBA

Capstone (Practicum)

MBA 698 Course Description

Business Administration - Sustainability

MBA

Capstone (Practicum)

MBA 698 Course Description

Creative Writing

MFA

Thesis

None

Adult and Higher Education

MS

Internship/Directed Study and Professional Portfolio

Current Student Resources

Counseling - Clinical Mental Health

MS

Internship and portfolio

Program Requirements

Counseling - Rehabilitation

MS

Internship and portfolio

Program Requirements

Counseling - School Counseling

MS

Internship and portfolio

Program Requirements

Educational Leadership

MSEd

Tk20 Subscription

Program Requirements

Educational Psychology - Applied Behavioral Analysis

MS

Culminating Project (SPY 607)

Program Requirements

Educational Psychology - School Psychology

MS

Internship

SPY 688 Course Description

Literacy Education

MSEd

Practicum (EDU 639)

EDU 639 Course Description

Montessori Early Childhood Education

MSEd

Capstone

EDU 643 Course Description

School Psychology

MS

Internship

SPY 688 Course Description

Special Education - Effective Instruction and Assessment for Students with Suspected and Identified Disabilities

MS

Capstone

SED 699 Course Description

Special Education - In-Service

MS

Capstone

EDU 600 / SED 699 Course Description

Special Education - Integrated General Education and Special Education Education Initial Teacher Certification

MS

Capstone

SED 699 Course Description

Special Education - Pre-Service

MS

Capstone

SED 699 Course Description

Teacher Leadership

MSEd

Capstone

Current Student Resources

Teacher Education - Extended Teacher Education Program

MSEd

Capstone

EDU 643 Course Description

Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages (TESOL)

MSEd

Practicum (EDU 623)

EDU 623 Course Description 

Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages (TESOL) - K-12

MSEd

Practicum (EDU 623) and Internship (EDU 640)

EDU 623 Course Description and EDU 640 Course Description

Leadership Studies

MA

Capstone project OR thesis

Thesis Guidelines

Music - Composition

MM

45 Minute Recital

Program Requirements

Music - Conducting

MM

Exit requirements vary by department

Program Requirements

Music - Jazz Studies

MM

Recital and written exam

Program Requirements

Music - Music Education

MM

Professional Portfolio (MUE 615) or Thesis (MUE 695); Tk20 Subscription

Course Descriptions

Music - Pedagogy

MM

Final lecture, recital, or thesis; written or oral exam

Program Requirements

Music - Performance

MM

Written or oral exam; recital varies by degree

Program Requirements

Nursing - Adult-Gerontology Acute Care Nurse Practitioner

MS

568 clinical hours; Clinical Project

Program Requirements

Nursing - Adult-Gerontology Primary Care Nurse Practitioner

MS

568 clinical hours; Clinical Project

Program Requirements

Nursing - Education

MS

224 experiential hours (Practicum); Clinical Project

 

Nursing - Family Nurse Practitioner

MS

Practicum and clinical project

NUR 667 / NUR 668 / NUR 669 / NUR 658 Course Descriptions

Nursing - Option for Non-Nurses

MS

Practicum and clinical project

NUR 667 / NUR 668 / NUR 669 / NUR 658 Course Descriptions

Nursing - Psychiatric-Mental Health Nurse Practitioner

MS

Practicum

NUR 673 / NUR 688 / BUR 686 / NUR 658 Course Descriptions

Nursing - RN to Master of Science Degree Program

MS

According to APRN track above

As above according to SPRN track

Occupational Therapy

MOT

Fieldwork

MOT Student Handbook

Policy, Planning, and Management

MPPM

Capstone, Internship, or non-credit Portfolio

Dept website, Academic Resources and Internships

Public Health

MPH

Capstone

Dept website, Capstone (MPH)

Social Work

MSW

Research Project or Thesis Option

Thesis guidelines under "MSW Program"

Statistics

MS

Project or Thesis (up to 6cr) option

Program Requirements

Leadership

PhD

Dissertation

Program Requirements

Nursing

DNP

DNP Project

NUR 705 / NUR 706 Course Descriptions

Public Policy - Educational Leadership and Policy

PhD

Dissertation

Program Requirements

School Psychology

PsyD

Dissertation

Doctoral Dissertation

Campus Resources

Listed here are a few of the resources available for students who working on their capstone, dissertation, and thesis guidelines. This list is by no mean exhaustive, and we recommend referring to your department, faculty academic advisor, or thesis/capstone advisor for additional suggestions.

Office of Research Integrity and Outreach (ORIO) - ORIO can assist students who are conducting research to navigate complicated issues such as:

  • Using human or animal subjects
  • Biosafety
  • Avoiding and managing conflicts of interest
  • Adhering to guidelines for responsible research

USM Libraries - See the library for assistance with:

  • Locating research articles
  • Questions regarding binding and printing
  • Publishing your capstone, thesis, or dissertation to the Digital Commons

Contact: Jessica Hovey, Library Specialist - Digital Initiatives and Access Services