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Capstone/Co-op Requirement

M.S. in Human Resource Development

For the M.S. in Human Resource Development program, the Capstone/Co-Op experience can take one of three forms:

  1. A defined capstone research project which is sponsored by a partnering organization. A defined capstone research project must involve a comprehensive front-end assessment or back-end program evaluation – for example:
    • Assessment (i.e., front-end): A strategic needs assessment, performance and root cause analysis, organizational diagnosis, or employee/customer survey effort designed to identify Human Resource Development priorities for learning, development, performance improvement, action planning and change, and/or organizational effectiveness.
    • Evaluation (i.e., backend): A comprehensive evaluation project involving the measurement and evaluation of an existing Human Resources, training and learning, OD and change, and/or performance improvement program, solution, or intervention.
  2. An independent research project designed by the student. For the independent research project option, the Capstone/Co-op instructor serves as the advisor/supervisor of the project in order to simulate the Capstone/Co-op experience. This is a writing intensive option involving: >
    • A thoughtful introduction of the research including the purpose of the study, research question(s), and thesis statement (i.e., a declaration of what you believe and what you intend to prove).
    • A thorough, yet focused review of the literature related to the topic.
    • A synthesis and analysis that advances our understanding of the topic (e.g., provides new insights and conclusions into a pressing problem in the field; offers a new and useful model or heuristic relevant to Human Resource Development).
  3. A traditional Co-op consisting of a part-time appointment and/or internship within an organizational setting (20-25 hours per week, in person or telecommuting online) for at least 10 weeks (i.e., a full term). In addition, this option requires a focused literature review on the work being performed and the development of career plan related to the experience.
    • Note: This option cannot occur within your current place of employment and is generally geared for those who are not employed and/or career changers (i.e., students new to the field and practice of Human Resource Development).

Students who opt to complete a “traditional” co-op (10 week co-op/internship, a focused literature review on the co-op experience and a detailed career plan for the remaining 10 weeks of the capstone experience) are required to complete Student Agreement for Traditional Co-op Form.  Please email completed form to and retain a copy for your records.