Drexel University School of Education
What is a Capstone?
A capstone is a term that comes from the field of architecture. A capstone is the final stone that is laid at the top of the wall or building to symbolize completion. In a master’s program, a capstone is the final set of courses and experience in which a student completes a culminating academic project or thesis.
The Drexel University School of Education Capstone Experience
The capstone experience in the School of Education was thoughtfully and strategically designed as a three-course multi-disciplinary sequence where students are expected to demonstrate their competency in understanding, applying and using research in their educational practice. Students from most of the School of Education programs engage in the same course work to expose graduates to ideas that cross disciplines, teach critical thinking skills, and synthesize ideas from different perspectives. All skills valued in today’s world.
As part of the capstone experience, students will participate in one research course and two additional courses in the capstone option of choice. All options prepare students to use and conduct research to solve real-life problems.
Course One: EDUC 780: School Wide Research
All students will participate in this first course. This course is designed to provide the student with an introduction to the purpose and practice of research. Students will be introduced to various types of educational research designs, becoming both consumers and producers of research. By the conclusion of this course, they will have selected from one of the three Capstone options for completing a master’s degree in the School of Education.
Capstone Option One: Master’s Thesis
Students who select this option will be required to complete a Master’s Thesis. A Master’s Thesis is a well-written research project, comprised of five chapters that posits a research question and uses logical arguments and data to address and answer the question. This option allows students to explore and build on current research and to sharpen their academic and practical understanding as they research and study a problem. This track may be of interest to students who are interested in pursuing a research agenda or a terminal degree (EdD, PhD). Courses in this option area:
- EDUT 780: Thesis Capstone Course I
- EDUT 781: Thesis Capstone Course II
Capstone Option Two: Masters Professional Product
Students who select this option will be required to complete a Master’s Project. A Master’s Project provides the opportunity for the student to explore and build upon current research and to sharpen their academic and practical understandings as they develop strategies for researching specific issues, engaging in problem solving, and using data-driven decision-making to inform program improvement or implementation. Examples of a Master’s Project include but are not limited to: a reform initiative narrative, a program or grant proposal, a white paper or policy analysis, an action research project or a program evaluation. This option may be of interest to students who are interested in understanding the role of practitioners as agents of change. Courses in this option area:
- EDUP 780: Practitioner Capstone Course I
- EDUP 781: Practitioner Capstone Course II
Capstone Option Three: Research Based Lesson Design
Students who select this option will be required to complete a Research-based Lesson Design and Analysis Project. A Research-based Lesson Design and Analysis Project is a collaborative team process where students work together to critically and effectively critique lessons with a focus on student thinking and understanding during an intensive analysis of curricular goals, intended student outcomes, lesson planning and development and classroom-based action research. The final product will be a fully developed instructional lesson with supplemental materials. This track is only available to students who are practicing K-12 teachers and who want to be a research-based practicing teacher or leader.
- EDUL 780: Lesson Design Capstone Course I
- EDUL 781: Lesson Design Capstone Course II