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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.

Official Course Descriptions

The following course descriptions are excerpts from the 2013-2014 Undergraduate & Graduate Catalog:

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: 3 (see the ED 695 Continuous Enrollment Requirement note below)

ED 695 Continuous Enrollment Requirement

Beginning Fall 2016, ED 695 will require 6 credits.

The 6 credits should be distributed over two (2) consecutive semesters whereby students will enroll in ED 695 for 3 credits the first semester and enroll in ED 695 for the final 3 credits during the second semester. Spring/Summer is considered by GVSU as one full semester and is therefore included as a consecutive semester.

For students who need more time than the above-mentioned 2 semesters, to remain in good standing they must enroll in ED 696 for 1 credit each semester until the thesis is complete.

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.

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