Do Online Master’s in Healthcare Require a Capstone Project?

Healthcare degrees earned through virtual programs are nearly identical to traditional programs in curriculum, but do online Master's in Healthcare require a capstone project? These experiences can present a challenge to any student. They are a significant investment of time and energy. Taking on a project of that magnitude is an accomplishment for a student in a traditional program, with peer and instructor support, but tackling it as an online student might seem unmanageable. The fact is there are different types of capstones and students can develop their own projects.


What Are Capstone Projects

At the end of your degree program you are expected to exhibit the skills and knowledgebase you have acquired as a student. You may have to present a project as an undergraduate, but most graduate programs require one. The idea behind the assignment is to apply education in practical ways. Students take anywhere from about ten weeks to a year to complete them, but most of these culminating experiences are finished in a semester's time. Programs require them for several reasons: they showcase the student's academic accomplishments; they address actual problems and provide needed solutions; and, more importantly, they prove that the student can apply the theories and principles of the program to real-life problems.

What Types of Capstones are There?

Some programs require students to work with small teams on a prescribed problem or task. Several business schools take this option, allowing a semester for the assignments and expecting the teams to function the way a corporate board would. Some capstones require research and a written report; others may involve creating and managing a virtual project. Still other experiences could require actual research and field work. Because a Master's in Healthcare is basically a business degree, capstones might revolve around real facility problems like establishing a better communication system between practitioners, facilities and patients, or improving accountability in cost of care.

Is the Procedure Different From Campus-Based Student Capstones?

All students first select a topic. This will center on the profession for which the student is preparing. Although the presentation takes place during the last year of the degree program, most students begin them at the end of their first year. The projects are included in the curriculum as a course with allotted time for completion and credit. After selecting a topic, students write a proposal in which they explain the problem and form a hypothesis that they will explore. All proposals require the approval of an advisor, so students not completing the degree traditionally will have to email their assigned advisor with their proposals. After the proposals are accepted, the student embarks on research, completes the analysis and presents his findings in a 30 to 50 page report. As most of these reports are presented orally, students in the virtual programs will have to arrange for campus presence or another accommodation if this is required by their programs.

Though some schools require capstones that are simply the completion of a series of advanced classes, most graduate programs expect the student to complete a project that will contribute to the discipline either by authoring literature or providing research. Most Master's in Healthcare Require a capstone project.

Additional Resources:

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