Thesis vs. Non-Thesis Option

The Capstone Project or Thesis is the culminating academic experience for the MS in Nutrition Science graduate program at the University of Cincinnati. But which one is right for you? 

The scope and presentation of the Capstone Project / Thesis must demonstrate the student’s skills in a variety of areas including formal academic and technical writing, the research process, and the application of nutrition principles in a specific area of nutrition science or dietetics practice.

MS students must complete a Capstone Project or Thesis reflective of 4 or 8 credit hours, respectively to meet graduation requirements. Elective credit hours may be applied to the Capstone Project for more in-depth study of the selected area. Although the goals of both a project and a thesis are similar, the processes, formats, and topics differ. 

Capstone

The Capstone Project might be a good fit for you if you do not foresee yourself engaging in research in your future career.  The Master’s project is usually smaller in scope than a Master’s thesis and it is not published on Ohio Link Electronic Theses and Dissertations repository

Capstone Projects allows you to apply nutrition skills and concepts and further develop competencies essential to nutrition practice. Project topics and formats are varied and allow you flexibility to investigate hot topics in nutrition or dovetail a work project that will serve as your capstone.

Examples of formats or designs for the Capstone Project are: Mini-research project, Literature Review, Program Evaluation Plan, Quality Improvement Plan, Nutrition Education Program Development and more. 

Thesis

If you choose the Thesis option, you will design original research to answer specific questions and synthesize new information contributing to the understanding and solution of a nutrition problem. You may use qualitative, quantitative, or mixed methods approaches for your research design.

The thesis can be submitted in article form for publication in academic journals. You will also have the opportunity to present your work at a state or national professional meeting as a poster or oral presentation.

The Thesis option is appropriate for you if you intend to further your academic career by pursing a doctoral degree, plan to pursue a career in a research setting, and/or if you want more experience in research methods. Many careers in the field of nutrition at the community and clinical level may require a dietitian or nutritionist to collect program evaluation data or write grants to support their work.  These are skills that  you would learn on the thesis track.