Capstone Project

Students in the MSCR program are required to complete a capstone project that applies the principles and methods learned in the coursework to a real-life clinical study. The goal of the capstone project is to demonstrate the student’s understanding of the clinical research process from both a theoretical and a practical point of view. The capstone project is not a literature review.

Students conduct their research in a wide variety of settings, including academic medical centers and local drug or device companies. Students generally identify their research mentor and develop their capstone proposal while they are completing their course work or practicum. The capstone research must involve the analysis and interpretation of data. Students are encouraged but are not required to conduct primary data collection. The capstone proposal, research mentors and readers must be approved by the MSCR Program Director and Assistant Director prior to starting the capstone project.

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Capstone Proposal

The first step in the capstone project process is developing and presenting the MSCR-Capstone-Proposal to the MSCR Director and Assistant Director for approval prior to embarking on the project. The proposal is usually 1-2 pages and describes the nature of the research, with a clear statement of the research question or hypothesis. The proposal should include:

  • A clear description of the specific primary outcome measure that will be used to answer the study question
  • A brief description of the planned statistical analysis
  • A description of your role in the research- at a minimum, your role should include formulating and conducting the analysis, and interpreting and writing up the results
  • A proposed timeline for completion

Capstone Readers

Each MSCR student must select at least two readers for their capstone project including the research mentor and a GMS Faculty member.

Capstone Form

After you meet with the Director, the Assistant Director and have identified your readers, the next step is to complete the Capstone Form.

Oral Presentation

NOTE: Students are required to attend at least two Capstone presentations in order to graduate

Once the near final draft is approved by the readers, the student will give a 20 minute oral presentation on the capstone project to the readers, research mentor, MSCR students and faculty members, and any other interested parties. The purpose of the oral presentation is to demonstrate the student’s ability (1) to describe clearly the research question, methods, and results, (2) to demonstrate his/her understanding of study design and analytic principles and methods, and (3) to place his/her research into a clinical context. The presentation is followed by a brief question and answer period.

Capstone Submission for Graduation

The FINAL STEP in the Capstone process is to submit to the Assistance Director a final approved copy of the abstract adhering to the GMS formatting guidelines.  The abstract will then be submitted to the GMS Registrar, along with the requisite graduation paperwork, as confirmation of the successful completion of the Capstone Project.