Return to: Final Projects
The doctoral capstone demonstrates a student’s skill and ability to examine, critique, research, and synthesize knowledge so that new ideas can be tested; best practices identified, established, and verified; or theoretical or policy constructs evaluated and advanced. In this sense, the Ed.D. capstone is not a traditional doctoral dissertation; rather, the project study aims directly at the improvement of educational practice in the day-to-day environments where educational leaders work. The project study provides the educational leader with a new product to improve teaching or learning in a designated community of practice. The project study is context-based within the organizational setting and linked to social change.
For more details about the doctoral study, refer to the doctoral study portion of the Walden Research Center website and the Doctoral Research Sequence of this Walden University Student Handbook.
Doctoral Study Timing
It is difficult to schedule completion of the doctoral capstone process for a specific semester. Students can begin thinking about their capstone project early in the program as they learn more about their field and research approaches. While the student must complete at least two semesters (12 credits) of doctoral study coursework, the process may take longer, depending on the required background work, the research design, and the nature of the project study itself. University faculty and staff will make every effort to help the student complete a high quality capstone project in an efficient manner.
Students need to complete the process by the close of business (5 p.m. Central time) on the final business day of the semester in which they intend to graduate. Completing the process means that the doctoral study has received final approval from the chief academic officer of the university.
Note on commencement deadlines: Students who want to participate in the summer commencement ceremony must have their doctoral study approved by the chief academic officer no later the last business day of the spring semester. Students who want to participate in the winter commencement ceremony must have their doctoral study approved by the chief academic officer no later than the last business day of the fall quarter.
Registering for Doctoral Study Credits
The final two semesters of the Ed.D. program are dedicated to the doctoral study. Registration for doctoral study credits (EDUC 8090) takes place during the regular course registration period. Once students initially register for 8090, with their supervisory committee chair, they are automatically registered for the course until the doctoral study is formally approved by the chief academic officer. Students earn a total of 12 semester credits (i.e., 2 semesters of 6 credits per semester) for the doctoral study. Additional semesters needed for completion of the doctoral study do not earn credit.