MA.LET Final Capstone or Thesis Project

MA.LET Final Capstone or Thesis Project


As the concluding course in the Master of Arts program the student will prepare a Final Project based on this general final project learning contract and the Final Project Proposal (FPP) which is on file in the Graduate Studies Office. The master’s level final project is a self-directed, integrative and culminating educational activity. It has multiple purposes: Demonstration of a nuanced comprehension of a complex body of knowledge at the forefront of the student’s field of study along with the ability to critically evaluate current scholarship, Exhibition of the student’s creativity and originality in applying knowledge to a research question or problem, Demonstration of the student’s facility in using established inquiry techniques in creating and interpreting new knowledge.

It is a challenging piece of work that draws on and brings together the skills and concepts the student has learned through the master’s program. It can be an applied or real world project, an academic research project or a creative project. This learning contract describes the requirements for a MALET capstone project that can take the form of either a professional or creative project.


The student will undertake this study under the direction of his or her First Reader, listed on the FPP. A second reader will be appointed to assist with the project. The student will begin this contract by reviewing the approved FPP, clarifying the focus of the study, and developing a detailed plan for the execution of the creative or professional project. If human subject research is used during the project, the student is bound by the specifics of methodology as approved by the Institutional Review Board on human subjects.

Types of projects
A professional project should meet a clear need or address a problem in the student’s community, school or work environment. It demonstrates practical application of theory to practice. It is based upon independent research and analysis of the various approaches to the problem, and the proposed solution. Professional projects can take many forms, including the development of a curriculum or course (with evaluative components); case study; position paper.

A creative project should demonstrate the student’s ability to integrate his or her course work with an actual creative product. It involves:

  1. Approximately 240 hours of work on the creative project during the FP term
  2. Reading and research during the term to provide theoretical insights and a broader context for the work that the student will be doing
  3. A log or journal of the student’s project development activities and the insights gathered during the creative experience

Critiques and creative supervision by an appropriate professional

For both professional and creative projects, the student must demonstrate the successful completion of the proposed creative or professional project, in alignment with the stated project goals and objectives.

An analytic essay is also required. This should be 20-40 pages, written using the APA style, in which students: Analyze the experience, and provide a theoretical framework for the student’s work.


The student’s First Reader will use the telephone conversations, other conferences (if held), the successive drafts of the Final Project, and the oral defense to evaluate the student’s :

-theoretical understanding of the issues involved in the topic of the Final Project;
-ability to use carefully scholarly material, other appropriate resources, and solid research techniques;
-ability to place the research materials into an appropriate context;
-ability to undertake serious and sustained independent research or practicum activity;
-ability to link learning to professional and program goals
-ability to develop and sustain a clear argument;
-ability to use appropriate sources to support the argument in the paper; and
-ability to write clearly.