Both the dissertation and the doctoral capstone result in the completion of important and impactful work, but the emphasis of each is different.
Below is a discussion of the structure of doctoral capstone projects, and important considerations for students who are interested in programs that offer the doctoral capstone as an option in place of a dissertation.
Similar to Ed D programs, doctoral capstone projects require a great deal of intensive research and writing.
However, capstone projects differ from dissertations in that they do not follow the five-chapter format, and can take multiple forms–for example, a new curriculum for students, a teacher or staff training plan, a new piece of software that addresses a learning need, or an in-depth research paper on solutions to a particular education issue.
Capstone projects tend to focus more on developing an implementable solution to an existing problem in education.
In contrast, dissertations tend to focus on innovative research that furthers education leaders’ understanding of a particular problem in education.
Typically called a doctoral capstone, this project requires similarly rigorous research, but focuses more on the application of research to an implementable education solution that can take multiple forms.
Examples of doctoral capstone projects may include but are not limited to proposed curriculum plans, education technology solutions for the classroom, community education initiatives, or a proposed teacher training plan.
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Candidates for a Doctor of Education in Educational Leadership (Ed.