How do I choose between a thesis and a capstone?

Some programs have the option to pursue either the Thesis or Capstone track.

A Thesis is the more appropriate choice if:

  • You want to earn a PhD or other advanced degree later on
  • You want the experience of writing for a publication
  • You want to work individually with a Research Advisor and Thesis Director
  • You are more self-directed, are good at managing projects with little supervision, and have a clear direction for your work
  • You have a project that requires more time (9-12 months) to pursue than can be done in a single class

The Capstone route is the more appropriate choice if:

  • You want to focus on a smaller-scale project that highlights your technical skills to a current or future employer
  • You want to work with a client or supervisor on a real-world project that can address a pressing business need
  • You want more input on your project from fellow students and other instructors; you prefer to work in a community instead of alone
  • You want more structure to your project, including more internal milestones and due dates

For more information about the Capstone option in the various programs that offer it, please see capstone.extension.harvard.edu