Improving Students’ Professional Development through Capstone Projects in Health Sciences Higher Education


  • Radmila Razlog
  • Zijing Hu


capstone projects; health sciences; research; higher education


There is a dire need to improve students’ professional development at higher education institutions (HEIs) through appropriate modes of delivery, such as capstone projects. Literature reveals that capstone projects afford a high-impact transformative outcome. However, there is a lack of studies focusing on health sciences students’ views and experiences on capstone projects at South African HEIs. This study aimed to explore health sciences students’ views and experiences on capstone projects. The theoretical framework anchored in this study was the Concerned-Based Model of Student Development. The authors employed a qualitative single case study design within an interpretivist paradigm. The research setting was an identified public university in Gauteng province. Six participants were recruited, and data were analysed through thematic analysis proposed by Creswell. Findings from this study highlighted that participants shared ambivalent views and experiences on capstone projects. They believed that capstone projects benefited them and enhanced their learning experiences; therefore, empowering and capacitating them for the world of work. They agreed that capstone projects improved some of their skills and competencies, thus preparing them for the clinical practice. However, participants also expressed challenges in the implementation of capstone projects in their programmes. These primarily focused on the quality of supervision, time constraints, and methodological complexities during the capstone project. This study provides valuable insights into the views and experiences of students regarding capstone projects in health sciences education. While participants reported positive outcomes and personal growth, they also encountered challenges that highlighted the need for enhanced support and supervision.


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