What is the Capstone project?

As a culminating experience, each student will independently put into practice the knowledge and skills they learned during their coursework through a capstone project.

Students will have the opportunity to develop and implement a Health Analytics project in their workplace or other academic / industry organizations. The project will challenge each student to conduct research and apply knowledge, skills and competencies built through coursework completed in the MSHA program.  

If students are unable to find a real-world project, they are welcome to develop a novel analysis of an established health data set.

Each student will work with the course instructor to identify a “Knowledge Expert” for their capstone project along with a faculty advisor from Northwestern University.   

360° view of the MSHA Capstone experience

Faculty, students, and project sponsor share their unique perspective and insights about the MSHA Capstone experience.

MSHA Faculty Director: Imran Khan

Faculty Director Imran Khan, MscMI, MBA, ACP, PMP, FHIMSS provides an overview of the MSHA Capstone experience.

MSHA Student: Elan Gada

Elan Gada, MD '22 discusses his capstone project on hospital readmission rates. He is a physician, medical director, and graduate of the MSHA program.

MSHA Student: Andrew Schreiner

Andrew Schreiner '22 discusses his capstone project and the impact it had on his healthcare career. He is a finance manager and graduate of the MSHA program.

Northwestern Medicine Sponsor: Cindy Barnard

Cindy Barnard, PhD MBA MSJS shares her experience working with MSHA students as a capstone sponsor. She is the Vice President of Quality at Northwestern Medicine.

What students can expect during the MSHA Capstone Course

A challenging but rewarding experience that would prepare or enhance their professional skills in the field of Health Analytics. There will be a focus on more career and real-world experiences than the other courses in the MSHA program.  The Capstone Course is more about the hands-on (or applied experiences) in the world of Health Analytics. Depending on the complexity of your project, you can expect to spend 5 to 10 hours a week, or 50 to 100 hours during the quarter working on your project.

With whom can you do a capstone project ?

Your Employer / Workplace: You may work on a discrete project from your workplace for your capstone project.  This will need to be above and beyond your day-to-day job responsibilities.  You will need to identify a Knowledge Expert / Mentor at your organization to support you during the project.

“Sponsor” organization projects: You may partner with an external organization in the industry who may be interested in sponsoring a capstone project.  There may be opportunities available through Northwestern University or you will need to find one on your own.

Academic Partners:  You may work with a partner at Feinberg School of Medicine Faculty member or Northwestern Memorial Healthcare), or other academic institutions to work on an health analytics or research based capstone project.


What is the Capstone Course timeline?

The MSHA Capstone Course can only be done in the last quarter of the MSHA program prior to your graduation.  Like the other courses in the program, you will have 10 weeks to complete your capstone project. The syllabus reflects this accelerated timeline. Thus, you should prepare for the Capstone prior to its official start.

What Pre-Work can I do prior to starting the Capstone Course?
  • Reflect on your career goals. What do you want to do after you graduate from the MSHA program?  There is no right or wrong answer to this.  If you have not yet thought about it, this exercise should help you get started.
  • Prepare your CV / Resume that includes your most up to date professional and academic experiences (including the MSHA program) prior to the start of the MSHA Capstone Course.
  • Start thinking about capstone project ideas that ideally align with your career goals.
  • Do you already have a “sponsor” or organization in mind to do your capstone with?
  • If you are currently working in the healthcare industry, explore possible capstone project opportunities with your employer that would be above and beyond your day-to-day job responsibilities. I would also encourage you to reach out to any relevant contacts in your professional network to find a capstone project opportunity, if needed.
  • Some “sponsors” or organizations will work with you in a virtual environment, while others may prefer an in-person or hybrid model.
  • If you have already selected a project for your capstone, then complete any onboarding work such as contracting, drug tests, training, IRB approvals, etc. as soon as possible so that you can start working on your project implementation during the Capstone Course. The start of the MSHA Capstone is not the time to start thinking about your data set, goals, and potential analytic techniques. The Capstone is when you put all the pieces together.

Recent capstone project topics

  • Implementation of Clinical Analytic Program in a Molecular Laboratory
  • Burden of Illness: Central Sleep Apnea 
^ Back to top ^