As an online accelerated degree programs provider, many times, we receive questions about dissertation and doctoral capstone projects on a daily basis. If you ask the most commonly asked question, it would be “what’s the difference between a dissertation and a capstone project?” Hence, in this exclusive guide, we’ll clear it up, once and for all.

Before knowing the major differences, it is significant to understand the major similarities between these two terms.

Similarities Between Dissertations And Capstone Project

Let us understand what both of these are and what they have in common.

The objective of professional doctorate programs is to formulate students to apply research skills in the community as well as the workplace. Finishing both dissertation or capstone project needs all-embracing preparation.

You need to have a strong foundation in critical thinking, writing, and research to be fruitful in this job. The concluding project that finishes from this validates how much you have educated. It correspondingly shows your willingness and competence to lead in your selected career path.

Important Differences Between Dissertations And Capstone Project

The major differences between Dissertations and Capstone Project are divided into the following areas –


When we talk about a dissertation, it is a research that usually includes five different chapters. On the other hand, a capstone project is entirely made up of two parts. First is the deliverable, it could be a paper long enough to be printed or a portfolio. The second part is the final presentation or report. It fundamentally enlightens the development behind the deliverable along with the knowledge that was functional.


Both of them have different focuses. A dissertation is an entirely original input to a specific body of literature. It recognizes a research topic or a gap in the present research. This too contributes to the evidence of that discipline.

On the other hand, a doctoral capstone aims to apply or encompass the research to deliver a solution within the real world. A capstone project deliverable is adequate in numerous arrangements.

Time Frame

Both of these have a massively diverse time frame throughout which they need to be finished. A capstone project can take you around 6 months or more than a year to complete. A dissertation in contrast takes around 1-2 and a half years to finish. However, please note that these time periods also depend on the capstone project that you are taking.


A capstone project can include conducting action research or assessment of certain notions you have learned. A capstone project’s deliverable contains a paper, portfolio, or product. On the other hand, a dissertation contains:

  • Introduction and thesis statement
  • Literature review
  • Methodology
  • Data Analysis and Result
  • Conclusion and Recommendations

Each of these needs to be tremendously well-written in order to get your point across.

The capstone project can also be a good option if you are working on a team which is already conducting research. The dissertation may be a good option for you if you are not affiliated with a particular organization.

To End With

Capstone project vs dissertation is easy to distinguish. We hope from the above-mentioned information, you have a certain knowledge about the differences between Dissertations and Capstone Project. We are here to direct you when you need to select between either of them. The copyright to work is entirely yours. We offer Online Degree programs for professionals. Regulate what your long-term goals are.

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Written By : Rebecca Wilson