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.

For more information please see:

Capstone Proposal – Due 2 MONTHS PRIOR to the Capstone Due Date:

  • January 2022 Graduation – Proposal due date 10/4/21
  • May 2022 Graduation        – Proposal due date 2/4/21
  • August 2022 Graduation   – Proposal due date 5/15/22 *Capstone Due 8/3/22

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.

IRB Review

The IRB must pre-review any activities that meet the definition of research involving human subjects or the definition of clinical investigation if these activities will be conducted by anyone acting as an employee or agent of Boston Medical Center or Boston University Medical Campus. The IRB must also pre-review any activities involving the use of protected health information (PHI) by anyone acting as an employee or agent of Boston Medical Center or Boston University Medical Campus, even if the use does not constitute BMC or BU engagement in human subjects research. For more information.


  • 1st Draft of Capstone Paper is due 2 weeks prior to the final due date
  • Each section of the Capstone Paper should be submitted upon conclusion so that the paper is developed with the Readers input throughout the process

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. Oral presentations will take place 1-2 weeks after the Capstone due date.

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. **Please note, you will submit your abstract after your Readers have agreed that your Capstone paper is in its near final form.