The 15 page Capstone paper is a culminating experience whereby students choose to research a topic that is relevant to the field of dentistry. The paper is overseen by a faculty mentor.
Following choosing your topic, the Capstone form must be submitted online by May 1st for September graduation (or by April 1 if walking in May commencement.
In most cases, the paper will be completed over the summer. Capstone papers will be graded as Pass/Fail and are designed for students completing the degree in 12 months.
The topic chosen is open-ended but should be a reasonable scope for the length of the paper. Topics can cover almost any field related to dentistry such as:
· Community or public health dentistry
· Dental disparities (US or abroad)
· Hot topics in dentistry (e.g. stem cell research, teeth whitening, fluoridation)
· Current clinical approaches and practices
All Capstone papers are required to follow the content and format guidelines and to contain a comprehensive literature review of the chosen topic, followed by a discussion that reflects overarching insights and a broader evaluation of the studies presented in the literature review. In addition, the completed Capstone submission checklist has to be submitted together with the Capstone paper.
Grade of Pass/Fail will be posted in the month of graduation.
Content and Format
- Length: Minimum 15 pages (including title page but not including the list of references).Page layout and font: Letter-sized pages in portrait orientation with 1 inch margins all around. Page numbers should be included in the footnotes but omitted from the title page (with the Literature Review section starting on page 2). Use Calibri, Arial, Times or Times New Roman font in point size 12 for the main text. Figures/tables, labels and legends may contain smaller font sizes but all writing must be easily legible when printed at 100% size.
- Title page: List Capstone Title, Name, Graduation date (not the submission date). Title page also contains the complete abstract.
- Abstract: Include an abstract of no more than 300 words on the title page. The abstract should be single-spaced, provide a brief summary of the background and define the question or problem addressed and the goal of the paper.
- Literature Review: Commonly 10-12 pages, double-spaced. This section should describe the background needed to understand the topic and justify why the topic is important, followed by a presentation of published results. Make sure to cite references where needed but do not directly quote from your sources. This section can and should include figures and/or tables relevant to the background and the studies reviewed.
- Figures and Tables: Each figure and table has to be accompanied by a single-spaced legend containing a title, description of the figure/table content (including explanations for labels and abbreviations), and source information. In addition, each figure and table needs to be cited at least once within the main text but can be cited in several places when appropriate. You cannot include more than two items (figures or tables) from the same source. There is no maximum or minimum number of figures that you can use; some papers have only 2-3 while others have as many at 6-8.
- Discussion: Commonly 3-5 pages double-spaced. This section must extend beyond merely summarizing the literature review section. Connect across studies or to other work to provide a broader evaluation of the findings presented, which may e.g. include strengths and weaknesses in study design or scope of a study, your evaluation of the authors’ interpretation of results, arising or remaining questions for the field, contrasting findings or conclusions to other fields or patient groups, recommendations for future directions, etc.
- References: A minimum of 15 peer-reviewed references should be utilized (this excludes most web sites and online resources). Format references and in-text citations following APA style, the reference list at the end of the paper should be double-spaced.
- Capstone checklist: Use the Capstone submission checklist to verify the content and formatting of the Capstone paper. Submit the completed checklist together with your Capstone paper.