M.Ed. Capstones - Choosing Project or Thesis

Candidates for advanced degrees must demonstrate their mastery of the subject matter and their ability to generate new knowledge or to apply existing knowledge to specific practical situations. This demonstration may take the form of a research project or thesis, planned with and directed by a faculty supervisor.

A project involves curriculum or program development and applies theory to practice, while a thesis is a traditional research capstone where a candidate for an advanced degree gathers data, analyzes that data, and presents the results along with their interpretations. Whereas a project creates a product that is often used in a professional capacity by the student, a thesis uses data analysis to answer a research question or test a hypothesis of interest to the student.

Candidates who are unsure which capstone to select should consult with their program advisor prior to submitting their application.

NOTE: The * next to ED* 693 and ED* 695 indicates that students must register for the College of Education course specific to their academic program as indicated on this list of Capstone Course Codes.

Official Course Descriptions

ED* 693 - Master's Project

The student identifies a problem, reviews literature, creates a product based on applicable literature, research or theory that addresses the problem, and develops a plan for implementation and evaluation. Offered every semester. Prerequisites: 27 Credit hours; EDF 660; Application Required

Credits: 3

ED* 695 - Master's Thesis

Involves either theoretical research or empirical research that identifies an issue or question, reviews literature, designs a study, gathers and analyzes data or evidence, and presents interpretations or conclusions. Offered every semester. Prerequisites: 27 Credit hours; EDF 660; Application Required

Credits: 6 


Variable Credits Option and Continuous Enrollment Requirement

Students should meet with their advisor midway through their program to decide on a capstone (ED* 693 or ED* 695) and discuss plans for completion. Subject to department approval, capstone course credits may be taken in variable amounts from 1-3 credits (ED* 693) or 1-6 credits (ED* 695) and require continuous enrollment each semester until completed.

Students who need more time than the above-mentioned 3 credits for ED* 693 or 6 credits for ED* 695 must enroll in ED* 696 for 1 credit each semester until the capstone is complete.


Responsible Conduct of Research (RCR) Requirement

College of Education graduate students must complete “Epigeum RCR Training and Certification program - Social and Behavioral Sciences Module” prior to completion of 50% of the graduate program or prior to engaging in any research activity (including prior to enrolling in ED* 693 or ED* 695). Certification expires after 3 years and must be current while engaging in any research activity.

Additional information on Responsible Conduct of Research may be found at http://www.gvsu.edu/rcr/. Students can access the Epigeum RCR Training and Certification program at http://www.gvsu.edu/rcr/epigeum-rcr-training-and-certification-29.htm.


Guidelines for Theses

The Guidelines for the Preparation of Theses and Dissertations, along with supporting electronic forms, are available on the The Graduate School's Thesis and Dissertation Information page. Candidates considering completing ED* 695 should review these guidelines.

See Also



Page last modified August 10, 2017