Thesis or Capstone Project

Thesis / Capstone Project Guidelines. Students will choose to complete a traditional masters thesis or a masters capstone project.  For both options, the student must build a strong rationale using relevant theories, develop a research plan, analyze the data, draw relevant conclusions, and make appropriate recommendations. 

After completing INTD 5020 - Research Methods, students submit a formal proposal for the completion of either a Thesis (Plan A) or a Capstone Project (Plan B).  All proposals should be completed in APA format and must contain the information found in Table 5:

Committee.  Students select a Major Professor and Thesis / Capstone Project committee within the first two semesters in the program.  Each Committee is made up of a minimum of three members including the Major Professor, and at least one approved Interior Design departmental faculty member.  The third member can be an approved faculty member representing the student’s area of specialization/cognate.

 

Thesis / Capstone Project Proposal Format

Title Page

Includes proposed title, Thesis or Capstone Project, the students name, date of proposal meeting, names of committee members.

Table of Contents

Identifies all the major components of the proposal with page numbers.

Introduction

Includes a clearly stated purpose, background, significance, research questions, and key definitions

Review of Literature

Includes a synthesis of relevant scholarly literature.  In most cases, it will also include a discussion of theory or a conceptual framework.

Methods

Includes proposed procedures for data collection and analysis.

Expected Budget

Estimates all expected cost for completion of the study and identifies the source/s of funding.

Timeline

Includes a proposed schedule for completion of various parts of thesis process.  This should include dates set by the Graduate School.

References

Includes only those references cited within the text.

Data Collection Instrument

If appropriate, a draft of the data collection instrument proposed to be used should be included.

Proposal Approval Form

Bring this form to the proposal meeting for completion and signatures.

 

The following policies relate to Thesis / Capstone Project credits taken:

  • Thesis credits are graded on a satisfactory/unsatisfactory basis.
  • Students must distribute a hard copy of the proposal document to all committee members at least TWO WEEKS prior to meetings.
  • Throughout the course of the thesis, it is the graduate student’s responsibility to update his/her advisor as per progress made toward completion, even if the student is not on campus.

 

Thesis Option (Plan A)

      A student choosing to complete the Thesis Option (Plan A) creates a document of formalized research resulting in empirical knowledge adding to the Interior Design Body of Knowledge.  In general, a thesis can be defined as the written product of a systematic research study of a well-defined issue. The thesis will clearly identify the research question, state the major theoretical assumptions, explain the significance of the undertaking, review relevant literature, identify and justify the sources for and methods of gathering information, analyze the information or data, present and discuss results, and offer a conclusion or recommendation.  This document can be submitted in one of two formats:  1) a traditional thesis; 2) manuscript in a format suitable for journal submission (with committee approval).

 

Capstone Project Option (Plan B)

A student choosing to complete the Capstone Project (Plan B) creates a project involving a significant academic and creative undertaking that demonstrates originality and independent thinking, appropriate form and organization, and a justification. A capstone project may have outcomes similar to those of a thesis. However, the capstone project generally presents a working deliverable that is also a significant scholarly effort. Capstone projects take a variety of forms, including the following:

  • Interior design creative project
  • Developing an action plan for an organization
  • Developing a business plan
  • Designing a website
  • Producing a film
  • Developing a course or instructional manual
  • Exhibition of creative scholarship
  • Developing a database
  • Textbook Proposal

The options are wide ranging for a capstone project, and committees can have some latitude in deciding what qualifies. All projects, regardless of the form, should include, either as part of the work or as a separate document, a discussion of the work’s purpose, significance, objectives, literature review, methodology, outcomes, and conclusions.

 

Thesis / Capstone Project Defense Guidelines

  • Students must distribute a hard copy of the thesis / Capstone Project document to all committee members at least TWO WEEKS prior to the defense meeting.
  • Defense meetings should not be scheduled within the last two weeks of the semester, including exam week.
  • Once the student schedules his/her defense, the advisor should provide time/date/location information to the department Administrative Assistant and request an email announcing the defense be sent to all Interior Design faculty and graduate students at least one week prior to the defense.
Graduate defenses within the Department of Interior Design will begin with a 20 minute PowerPoint presentation by the student. This presentation will be open to the public and should focus upon the key points of the thesis, with an emphasis upon the research findings and conclusions. The presentation will be followed by a 10 minute period during which guests will be invited to pose questions. After 10 minutes of discussion, the public portion of the defense will come to an end and guests will be invited to leave. The committee members will then begin their dialogue with the student.