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How to Write a Masters Capstone Project

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How to write a successful Capstone.

How to write a Master's Capstone Project

In order to write an effective and successful Capstone Project it is necessary to be prepared. There are several crucial steps and important information that should be in each Capstone, regardless of the topic of the paper or what degree one is working toward.

Choose a topic:

The very first thing you should do is make sure that you pick a topic. The topic can be about any approved issue that your instructor says is acceptable. You should be certain that you can find a lot of research on this topic, because a Capstone Project is a research paper. If you choose something too obscure in order to be unique, you may find that you cannot find any sources to back up what you are writing about.


You should expect to have no less than twelve (12) references when you are writing your Capstone. The more references, the better, because you'll have more to fall back on. Most of your references should not be more than five (5) years old because research changes with time and new findings, and anything older than 5 years will be obsolete in many instances. That is not to say you should not use older references, just ensure the majority are 5 years old or more recent.

Time allotment:

The Capstone Project is like a Thesis. It is the very most important paper you may write in your Master's Degree Program. Keeping this in mind make sure you give yourself as much time as possible. If you are just starting your MS/MA program, you might want to start thinking of a topic right away and begin compiling resources as you encounter them through your classes. You should know it will most likely take you several weeks to write and re-write your paper to get a passing paper.

Personal space:

Make sure you can shut off the rest of the world when you are writing your Capstone. Interruptions and distractions will just make the process take longer and frustrate the writer, too. If you do not have a place to write in silence travel to the local "Starbucks" and use their quiet tables and free wireless internet.

Construction of Capstone:

Make sure you have at least the following sections when you are writing your Capstone.

  • APA Format:

Cover Sheet

Table of Contents (to be created after the Capstone content is finalized)


Introduction (Center title on Introduction, do not use the word "introduction")

The body of the paper



  • MLA Format does not require a cover sheet or an abstract, but it would be advised to find a way to include the table of contents.
  • Expect your Capstone to be between 25 and 40 pages of written text (not including cover sheet, table of contents (TOS), abstract, and references. Do not repeat what you're saying. You may want to create a chart or outline to organize your thoughts. If you have many references to validate a single statement you may choose to use a chart to be able to list all references to a single thought in one place.
  • Either the outline or the chart will help to organize all the information that will go into this massive undertaking.
  • Write each part of the paper separately and then compile the entire paper. This will also help to organize each section and reduce the chance of repetition.


The very most important part of writing a successful Capstone is to be relaxed and give yourself time to write it. If you try to rush through this process too quickly you will find that you have forgotten something or your paper will not get you the grade that you expect. It is hard work and you should give the Capstone the attention that it deserves, because after all, you deserve the benefits of getting a great grade from your professor.

1 comment

Usman Majeed
Posted on Nov 20, 2011

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Kathryn Perez

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