Thesis & Capstone Seminar

Capstone Seminar & Thesis

Capstone Presentations

The Fall 2023 Capstone Presentations will take place on Tuesday, December 5 from 5:30pm to 7:00pm in the Academic Office Building.  

Course Overview

Graduate Student Capstone Seminar & Thesis

Graduate students are required to complete a graduate-level project which demonstrates their ability to integrate the knowledge and skills they have gained from their program.

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 College of Public Service faculty to ensure 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 the 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.

Course Goals

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 student's skills in each of these areas so that students are able to effectively contribute to their fields and improve programs and policies.

How to Enroll

To enroll in CJ/PAD 5361, Capstone Seminar, you must:

1. Attend Capstone Orientation. If you are unable to attend, you must contact a spring 2024 instructor, Dr. Henriikka Weir or Dr. Robin Kempf, to discuss requirements before completing the Capstone Checklist.

2. Complete the Capstone Checklist (including obtaining the electronic signature of your second reader) and email it to

3. Upon receipt of your completed Capstone Checklist and verification of eligibility, a permission number will be provided to you to enroll in the Capstone Seminar.

4. For spring 2024 enrollment, your Capstone Checklist is due by Friday, December 1, 2023.

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.

Capstone Orientation

Capstone Orientation is held each fall and spring semester. 

For this semester: Capstone and Thesis Orientation was held on October 18, 2023. If you were unable to attend the orientation, please view the recording (Capstone segment starts at 23:00), then contact a spring 2024 Capstone instructor, Dr. Henriikka Weir or Dr. Robin Kempf, for instructions.

Due Date: Your completed Capstone Checklist must be submitted to by Friday, December 1, 2023.

Spring 2024 Course Information:  For planning purposes, spring 2024 Capstone will accommodate both in-person and online students.

Instructional Videos


Capstone Presentations

Fall 2023

Date: Tuesday, December 5, 2023

Time: 5:30 pm to 7:00 pm

Location: Academic Office Building on the 3rd floor

Thesis Option for MPA Students

In PAD 6950: Master's Thesis, students conduct a comprehensive review of the theoretical and research literature in the subject area of their thesis and collect original data or analyze existing data in new ways. The thesis requires 6 hours of credit that span two semesters. The thesis option is available to MPA students who have achieved an exceptional academic record and who wish to pursue independent research in greater depth than would normally be possible in Capstone Seminar. It is suited for students who intend to pursue a PhD degree or to enter a research or policy environment upon completion of the MPA degree.

Minimum eligibility requirements for pursuing a thesis include:

  • Matriculation in the MPA program
  • Successful completion of all core courses
  • Overall GPA of 3.5 or higher
  • Demonstrated ability to pursue research work, as evidenced by two submitted research papers developed in CPS courses or elsewhere
  • Preliminary identification of a thesis topic or area of interest
  • Agreement from a CPS faculty member to serve as the thesis committee chair along with two additional faculty members to serve on the thesis committee
  • Minor exceptions to the above criteria may be made in exceptional circumstances

A student desiring to pursue the thesis option should meet with their faculty advisor to establish eligibility under the above criteria. After establishing eligibility, the student should recruit three faculty members to serve on the student's thesis committee -- one to serve as the committee chair and two to serve on the committee -- and then complete the thesis application form. Once complete, the thesis application form should be submitted to the MPA program director for approval.

Although the formal procedures entail application through the faculty advisor, the student is encouraged to make informal contacts with appropriate subject-matter faculty to determine interest and availability.

Please complete the Thesis Application Form

For more information about the MPA Thesis Option, please watch the video below:

Thesis & Capstone Seminar FAQs