Capstone for the MA Learning, Developmental and Family Sciences 

All students must complete a final capstone experience in the MA in Learning, Developmental and Family Sciences, Human Development and Family Relations and Learning tracks. 

Students must choose between an applied project or thesis. Students should consult with their faculty advisor as they weigh their options for the capstone to choose the option which best matches the academic and professional goals.

Option 1: Applied Project

An applied project may take the form of an action research project, an applied development project, or an applied evaluation project. The applied project allows for considerable flexibility in the type of project undertaken.

Applied Research Project

This type of applied project is specifically focused on solving, or investigating, site-specific, practical problems using the conceptual and methodological tools of the researcher. It is less formal than academic research and typically takes place within real world settings such as the workplace or classroom. For example, the researcher may wish to examine the effects of the new technologies integrated into a school or corporate training setting.

Applied Development Project

This type of applied project often involves the development of instructional materials or an instructional system, and the formative or summative evaluation of that product as it is employed with a target audience. These projects are developed to solve or resolve a particular instructional problem. For example, the student may wish to conduct an instructional analysis and then design, develop, implement, and evaluate a specific training or instructional project. Or he/she may wish to research and then create an instructional tool (such as a needs assessment or staff development instrument), test the tool, and use the results of the tool’s implementation to create a comprehensive plan that will solve a variety of instructional problems for a particular audience.

Applied Evaluation Project

This type of applied project involves the evaluation of a program. Evaluation projects seek to make a judgment concerning the merit or worth of the program being evaluated. Such programs may be school-based, industry-based, or software-based.

Option 2: Thesis

The thesis provides experience in conducting an empirical investigation, but provides a great deal of flexibility based on students’ interests. The investigation may be qualitative (involving interviews and observation) or quantitative (involving measured variables) or mixed-methods and should address a question of practical importance to the student. 

The student will work out a research plan with their faculty advisor and produce a thesis to the specifications of the Graduate School’s Style and Policy Manual for Theses and Dissertations.

Please visit the Master's Thesis page for additional information on the thesis.

Registration for Capstone

All students are required to register for LDFS 6950 Culminating Capstone Experience as part of their degree requirements. LDFS 6950 is offered in fall semester only and should be taken in students’ final fall in the program. 

Please note that this is a variable credit course and requires that you select the proper amount of credits using the “Units” drop down menu at the time of registration. The default number of credits is 1 credit, so please verify you are registered for the correct number of credits. Students must have a total of 3 credits in LDFS 6950 to meet degree requirements. Please contact your faculty advisor if you anticipate registering for less than 3 credits in LDFS 6950. 

Students who do not complete their applied project or defend their thesis in the fall semester they are registered for LDFS 6950 are able to continue working on their applied project or thesis beyond the fall semester. 

University policy requires that you be registered for at least one class the semester you complete your applied project or defend your thesis. If you have completed all other coursework, you will need to register for CAND 5940 Candidate to Degree if you are not taking any other classes. If you are registered for any other course, you do NOT need to register for CAND 5940. If you register for CAND 5940, you will be charged for 1 credit worth of tuition and fees, but it shows up on your transcript as 0 credits and there is no actual class to attend. Registering for CAND 5940 is considered full-time for financial aid and enrollment verification purposes. Please contact your academic advisor for more information on registering for CAND 5940.

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