Capstone: Digital Communications Strategy and Entrepreneurship


All students in an online program at the Newhouse School take the capstone course during their final term.

The culmination of all prior coursework, this course requires students to complete an independent project focused on digital communications innovation within their specialized area. Students complete the project individually but are encouraged to collaborate with peers from other specializations.

The Capstone Project

Students identify a key issue within their specialization and develop an innovative approach that adds value for stakeholders. After their innovation has received faculty approval, students develop and present a strategic communications plan that defines the

  • scope and context of the innovation;
  • business model(s) required to deploy the innovation;
  • value the innovation will provide to its intended client and stakeholders; and
  • means by which the plan will be communicated to its audiences.

Learning Outcomes

After completing the capstone, students will have developed, tested and communicated the value of an innovation within their specialized area. Learning objectives include the ability to

  • utilize relevant research and design-thinking methods that will help them identify ongoing opportunities for innovation in their field;
  • identify and conduct participatory research with key stakeholders (including the primary audiences for the innovation);
  • develop a business model that highlights the values of an innovation for key stakeholders;
  • translate a business model into a strategic communications plan; and
  • understand and practice methods for presenting a communications plan to its primary audience(s).

Frequently Asked Questions


  • How much time is needed per week to complete the capstone?
    We recommend that you budget nine hours each week in addition to live class time.
  • Can I take another course while completing the capstone?
    Ideally, you will take the capstone as your only course during the final term. However, we understand that may not always be possible. If you plan to take the capstone while taking another specialization course, contact Kelly Lux at for suggested course sequencing.


  • Does the capstone have live sessions?
    Yes, the capstone includes weekly live sessions.
  • Is the capstone project an individual or group effort?
    You will complete the capstone project individually.
  • Will I complete fieldwork for the project?
    Depending on your capstone idea, you may find it beneficial to complete digital fieldwork to support your final project.


  • What are the learning objectives?
    The capstone prepares you to develop and test the value of an innovation in your specialization area. You will also communicate this idea to defined audiences within a business model framework.
  • What are the deliverables?
    You will develop an innovation relevant to your chosen specialization and create a strategic communications plan for introducing the innovation to its intended audience.
  • Can I choose my topic?
    Yes, you will choose your topic. Your project must be approved by your instructor within the first two weeks of class.
  • Will the capstone provide insights related to my specialization?
    Depending on your topic, the capstone may provide both general insights and insights related to your specialization.


  • Is the capstone graded or P/F?
    The capstone is graded.
  • What happens if I fail?
    You must pass the capstone to receive your diploma.
  • Can I apply my current work projects toward the capstone?
    The capstone’s parameters may not fit the timeline or scope of an ongoing work project. All projects must be approved by your instructor within the first two weeks of class.