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What Is Capstone Project and How to Cope with Writing It?

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Often, students struggle when it comes to writing capstone project which is the last step prior to graduation as indicated in the degree requirements. In fact, some students would ask if it is necessary for them to embark on this project. Although this project can be a daunting task, it often turns out to be a valuable and rewarding experience to students when it is completed. The last course or class required from graduating students is known as capstone project.

Just like a capstone works in architecture, it stands as a crowning achievement for the graduating student, which is why this final course is called a capstone project. For certain graduate degree programs, writing a project, finding sample capstone paper and literature review sample MLA, and doing a presentation on the project subsequently could be what a capstone course requires.

But, the project may go a different angle for some programs; for instance, an assessment examination may be required to evaluate interdisciplinary skills such as critical thinking, writing,make presentation, and math. It may also require a final research paper that explores a chosen topic in culmination emanating from your own program of study. In the end, this type of project represents fresh ideas and work, and at the same time provides the students with opportunity to show the knowledge as well as skills they’ve acquired in the course of college education. The whole essence of a multifaceted capstone project is to find out if students are acquiring the necessary skills that would lead to success after graduation. That’s not all, the successful completion of this project can increase the chances of being selected during a job interview. It’s a great addition to your employment portfolio in the future.

Common Formats of a Capstone Paper

what is capstone project

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When it comes to the format for writing a capstone, what matters most is to ensure you are consistent. This is especially important for review of literature in capstone project and documentation of sources generally. And it has to be according to the academic department’s recommendation.

Before ever you start the research, you should familiarize yourself with the right style manual. The style manual in most cases needs to meet the college studies and research’s approval.

Here are the frequently recommended formats or style:

  • MLA Style or Format
  • Chicago Manual of Style
  • APA Manual

Margins and placement of page number

  • Left margin – 1.5”
  • Right margin – 1 inch
  • Bottom margin – 1 inch
  • Top Margin – Place page numbers an inch from the top as well as right, ensuring that the text starts a double space beneath the page number.

Title page and endorsement page

Before you start creating your capstone project outline, it’s important to first understand the different segments of the project as well as the format. Just like other dissertations and theses, your capstone project must have title page as well as an endorsement or signature page. And, the title page must have the following features;

  • Full title
  • Author
  • Identifying legend

The endorsement or signature page must have the following;

  • The approval date for the project
  • The name of the student
  • A statement of approval
  • The members of the examining committee’ signatures. The titles and names of the examining members should be written below the signature lines.

Tables and figures

If these are aspects of the main text, ensure they fit within the margins. You can use slightly smaller fonts, but ensuring they are readable. You may include larger figures/tables for printed papers, especially if it is very necessary.

capstone project writing advice

Abstract page

The abstract is an integral part of your capstone project and should be inserted in the dissertation/thesis, preceding the table of contents immediately. This page does not need a page number and it’s not included in the number of pages for your project.

This part of your project should not exceed 350 words and should feature the following;

  • Title
  • Name of author
  • The degree program
  • Name/location of the university/college
  • Year
  • Procedure or methods
  • Statement of problem


There are optional non-textual components of this type of paper, particularly for printed copies;
  • DVDs/CDs – for each copy of the paper
  • Postcards and Brochures – this is usually necessary for art as well as music students
  • Photographs – If you’re including photographs, you should print them on archival-quality paper for photographs.

Additional Tips on How to Write a Capstone Project

  • Select a topic: The topic should match the degree course you’re pursuing. While the coverage of the topic should be broad, you should manage it in such way that you can sufficiently explain the different components.
  • Obtain the professor’s approval: Before even starting your paper, ensure you seek approval from the professor. This is quite necessary.
  • Research your topic: Research your chosen topic both online and offline, taking notes and keeping track of your references and sources while you research.
  • Create your thesis statement: It is the thesis statement that explains the main point or theme of the capstone paper you’re writing. Use one sentence to summarize and capture your thesis statement. It is part of your introduction. Endeavor to create the statement as early as possible, so that you can research and write based on the statement.
  • Segment the content: Capstone papers feature sub-sections just like other research papers. This may be three to four subsections. So, Sort the information from your sources and separate them to suit each subsection.
  • Write your introduction: It should be as descriptive as possible. In essence, it should thoroughly explain what your paper is all about. However, try not to unveil too many details of your theme or topic.
  • Write the body: The body must contain well-documented factual pieces of information. Also, it should feature some of your own interpretations as well as thoughts or opinions.
  • Documentation of all interpretations is necessary: To enable you tell the examining board how you arrived at the conclusions in your paper.
  • Create the conclusion: This should be very strong and should tie the thesis statement and the rest of the paper together. A reader should not be lost regarding any aspect of the paper when reading your conclusion.

In essence, a reader should have a thorough grasp of your paper when reading through the conclusion.

Finally, cite your references and sources. Ensure you follow the recommended literature format for capstone project when making your citation. Review of literature in capstone project is essential and should be accomplished accordingly, just like when you’er doing lab report writing or any other paper.

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