A capstone project and a thesis have a similar goal. The student has the opportunity to show the skills taught throughout the program. It is important for students to choose what suites them best in the way they want to express their knowledge. Many students believe that there are not many differences between a capstone project and a thesis, but there might be more than you know of. Let’s get into it.

Time

A capstone paper is set for 2 semesters to complete, which might seem like a lot of time at first, but the amount of work that goes into such a project is very in depth.

With a thesis, you are also given 2 semesters to complete, but you can take up to a full calendar year to complete. You have more control in terms of working at your own pace.

Length

If you are doing a business capstone project (here is a sample), you are typically looking at around 30 – 50 pages. This seem very doable to many students and thus they opt for a capstone project over doing a thesis.

A thesis usually approximately 100 pages, which does seem excessive, but you do have more time to work on it. The length should not put you off from doing your thesis, because it is a learning curve and it is important to test your own knowledge before you start your career.

Audience

When you are working on your capstone project proposal, try and keep in mind that you are writing for a real person. Be it the instructor or a hypothetical person. You should communicate your message in a manner that is understood by an individual.

A thesis is a bit more technical, because here you will be doing academic writing. This type of writing is more formal and is used for academic purposes only.

Team or Individual

A capstone project consists of 2-5 people working in a team. This is great, because many students function better in groups. You also have the input of your other team members which could result in a higher score.

The thesis is done by one person and should be authored individually. If you work better by yourself and are confident in the knowledge you have gained, you might want to go the thesis route.

Merit

Doing a capstone project is definitely not a walk in the park and does require a lot of hard work. It does seem like it has less merit than a thesis in the academic world. This might also be the reason why many students opt to go for the thesis, because they are so conditioned that a capstone project would be over too quickly.

A thesis will always be something that you can be very proud of achieving and many universities will have your thesis to be used by others. This definitely gives you some bragging rights.

Conclusion

I don’t think it’s fair to favor one over the other, even if it does seem like a capstone project will be slightly easier than the thesis. You have to know your own abilities and be honest with yourself about what you are capable of. I would definitely advice students to not choose the one over the other because it seems easier. This is the last leg of your race and I encourage you to finish strong. Whichever one you decide to go with, give it your all. The end is in sight, but not until you do this last one. Good luck with your capstone project or thesis. When it’s done, you will have enough time to rest and relax. Until then, it’s crunch time.

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