Capstone Seminar for Graduate Students

Thesis and Capstone

Thesis & Capstone


Students will complete a graduate-level project which demonstrates their ability to integrate the knowledge and skills they have gained from their program.  Students will demonstrate their mastery in the following areas:

  • Knowledge of theory, research, and practice
  • Oral communication skills
  • Written communication skills
  • Critical thinking skills


Capstone/Thesis Orientation

Capstone/Thesis Orientation is held each fall and spring semester.  

FALL 2022 VIRTUAL ORIENTATION:  Capstone/Thesis orientation for the Fall 2022 term will take place virtually by watching the orientation videos listed on our website. Please click on the Virtual Capstone Orientation link directly below to watch the videos. 

Virtual Capstone Orientation

Learn More

Learn More About the Project

About Capstone Seminar

For graduate students, the Capstone Seminar is designed to integrate and synthesize the student's entire course of study. The course provides a process and structure for the School of Public Affairs faculty to be able to ensure that all graduates can demonstrate knowledge of the concepts and principles conveyed in the core curriculum of their degree and can apply that knowledge, and that gained from elective courses to analysis of contemporary issues in public administration (including the administration of nonprofit organizations) or criminal justice. The products of this seminar will be tangible evidence of a degree candidate's qualifications and expertise.

Students will complete a graduate-level project which demonstrates their ability to integrate the knowledge and skills they have gained from the Master of Criminal Justice (MCJ), Master of Public Administration (MPA), Dual MPA/MCJ, or Dual MPA/MA Sociology (SOC) programs. The project will enable students to demonstrate their:

  • Knowledge of theory, research, and practice in public administration and/or nonprofit management and/or criminal justice
  • Oral communication skills
  • Written communication skills
  • Critical thinking skills

The goals of the MPA, MCJ, Dual MPA/MCJ, and Dual MPA/MA SOC programs are to enhance students' skills in each of these areas so that students are able to effectively contribute to their fields and improve programs and policies.

MPA Students
Thesis Option for MPA Students

Spring 2021 Capstone Presentation

How to Enroll in the Capstone Seminar

In order to enroll in CJ/PAD 5361, Capstone Seminar, please complete the following steps in the semester before you are to take Capstone:

  1. Complete the Capstone Checklist
  2. Meet with Capstone Instructor for final signature
  3. Turn completed checklist into Graduate Student Services in ACAD 303, or by email at
  4. Upon verification of eligibility, a permission number will be provided to you to enroll in the Capstone Seminar.

When dealing with human subjects and other sensitive information, it is important to know the policies and procedures that UCCS and federal regulations follow. The Institutional Review Board for the Protection of Human Subjects(IRB) is a committee dedicated to upholding these policies in order to protect human subjects. More information on this can be found on the Office of Sponsored Program's website.

Completed Capstone Projects

Kayah Swanson Headshot
Kayah Swanson
We Keep Discovering New Ways that it Helps: A library social worker can address increased and unique needs of modern public libraries
Mike Seeger Headshot
Mike Seeger
Community Paramedicine: A feasibility Study for Fountain Fire Department
Craig Williams Headshot
Craig Williams
Care and Share Food Bank of Southern Colorado Commodity Supplemental Food Program (CSFP) Red (Low Food Security) County Evaluation
Rebecca Gianarkis
Rebecca Gianarkis
The Thin Gold Line: Analysis of Emergency Communications Operator Applicant Fit and Implications for Employee Recruitment
Jerome Young Headshot
Jerome Young
Colorado Springs Veteran Homelessness Age 50 and over: Recidivism into Homelessness after exit from “The Supportive Services for Veteran Families (SSVF)” Program
Kasey Constantino Headshot
Kasey Constantino
Assessing the Impact of the Colorado Springs Police Department Gang Unit on Juvenile Gang-Related Crime
Frequently Asked

Frequently Asked Questions

Capstone Frequently Asked Questions
What is the Capstone?
Am I responsible for finding my own project or will SPA help me find a project?
How long is a capstone paper?
When should I start thinking about my capstone project?
Do I have to wait until the start of the semester to start work on my project?
Can I complete a project with an agency if they are also my employer?
Will I need to go through the IRB?
Why do I have to take the course on campus with other students, instead of just doing it as an independent study?
I'm confused about the structure of the class. Who are my readers? Why are there so many of them?
Should I do a capstone or a thesis?