Doctoral capstone decorative

Doctoral capstone

A successful doctoral capstone expands or applies existing knowledge, research and scholarship to solve real-world professional problems in your field. Capella’s program courses provide resources to focus on your capstone topic, methodology, literature review and project plan to move steadily toward your goals.

What is a doctoral capstone?

A doctoral capstone extends or applies knowledge to deliver a solution to an issue within a real-world setting. That’s why, unlike the dissertation, the doctoral capstone deliverable can take on different forms. For example, it may be writing a manuscript suitable for publication or building a curriculum designed to solve a specific educational problem.

Capstone competencies

As you advance through the program courses, you will strive for mastery in each of these critical areas:

Scholar-practitioner development

Identify and cultivate the skills required to implement your project design ethically.

Critical thinking

Apply critical-thinking skills to integrate ideas and concepts from previous research – guide and support the development of your project.


Study existing literature to propose a plan that will answer important questions using ethical and sound project design.

Scholarly communication

Cultivate communication skills in verbal and written interactions necessary to advance scientific research.

The Capella capstone experience

Doctoral capstone requirements

In your program, you’ll complete courses with specific assignments to help you work on your doctoral capstone early and continuously throughout your program.

How can I fit doctoral studies into my life?

Set milestones
Break your research down into manageable steps. See what you’ve accomplished, where you are and what’s next in your plan.

Make weekly targets
Set reminders based on your to-do list and receive notifications in your inbox.

Connect with faculty
Stay on the same page. Share your plan. Your faculty will guide you through your checklists, goals and timelines.

Access resources
Our resources can point you in the right direction to meet your goals and keep you on track. 

Ready for the next step?

Learning online doesn’t mean going it alone. Help is here, from faculty, coaches, advisors and more. Plus, a supportive community of students who are as passionate about their careers as you are about yours.