Type of module:

Summary module description:

A dissertation capstone project is an independent piece of work-based research project in the MSc Digital Technology Solutions degree apprenticeship. It is considered to be the most important element  as it demonstrates the knowledge and skills acquired in terms of the subject area, academic research and work-based project. It is normally conducted by an individual student guided by an academic supervisor in the chosen specialised domain. It gives students the opportunity to undertake a substantial applied research project which draws the prior knowledge and many skills acquired from the past experience and during the taught part of the MSc programme, enables students to practise writing a scientific report, allows students to develop problem-solving skills, and enables students to manage research activities and critically assess the outcomes from the project.


The aim of the module is to enable the student apply the skills and knowledge through a business task. It involve researching, developing, implementing and evaluating a solution to a typical business task within the chosen specialism. The student is expected to conduct research such as user experience surveys, or other ways of data gathering and analysis. The student will need to demonstrate leadership in transformation and implementation of a solution in the business.

Assessable learning outcomes:

Upon successful completion of this module, students should be able to:

  • Demonstrate competence in designing complex IT enabled business processes and in making some recommendations for improvement

  • Plan and implement digital and technology solutions specialist tasks at a professional level

  • Demonstrate competence at negotiating and closing techniques for complex problems and can deal with senior internal and external stakeholders
  • Develop a solution to a given problem

  • Evaluate the solution and provide a critical appraisal

  • Demonstrate practical report writing skills to produce solution reports

  • Present the work in form of oral presentation

Additional outcomes:

For students in Data analytics specialism will be able to: 

  • Demonstrate basic data acquisition techniques.

  • Show evidence of being able to appreciate the quality aspects of data

  • Develop simple analytical hypotheses for investigation

  • Conduct analysis on data using statistical techniques to help solve business problems

  • Select suitable methods to present data and the outcomes of a data study

  • Develop a business report to summarise the outcomes of the data study

For students in IT strategy specialism will be able to:

  • Assess an organisation's technology operations to identify areas for improvement.

  • Apply a structured approach and can apply analytical tools and techniques to investigate a business scenario.

  • Make recommendations for improvement activities.

  • Demonstrate understanding of different technology domains such as infrastructure, cloud, application and storage platforms aligned with business demand.

  • Plan technology change delivery and migration programmes

  • Analyse and assess complex digital business problems via business data collection and review and formulates technology-based designs.

Outline content:

The academic supervisor will agree a business-related project with the apprentice’s employer and apprentice based on their job role and the specialism that they are undertaking as part of the Master’s Degree.

The agreed project will present a typical business task and each project will take, typically, six months to complete. The project is undertaken and completed on programme and pre-gateway to the EPA. The project will typically be undertaken on the employer ’s premises.

Agreement of the project proposal will take place prior to commencement of the project as it must be agreed before the project can start. The process includes first a meeting between the academic supervisor, employer and apprentice (that may be conducted remotely) to explore and agree the scope of the project. The EPA assessor will be present. A project terms of reference is then prepared and used as the basis of defining, setting the scope and deliverables of the project. Once agreed between the academic supervisor, employer, apprentice and EPA assessor then the project terms of reference are signed by each of these stakeholders.

The Capstone Project will inform the Project Report which the degree apprentice will produce after the EPA Gateway.

During the project students will be introduced to methods of planning and implementing technology-based business change including setting objectives, priorities and r esponsibilities with others; problem solving, decision making,  negotiating and closing techniques; key performance outcome management for digital and technology solution objectives; workplace transformation through technology based business change.

The research work must be conducted in an ethical and professional manner.

The student will  compose a 10,000 (+/- 10%) written dissertation in which they will demonstrate all the specialism skills an d knowledge.

Brief description of teaching and learning methods:

The dissertation  capstone project is normally conducted by an individual student guided by a supervisor. The student is expected to have regular meetings with the supervisor and contact with other members of staff, where appropriate, with expertise in the chosen research field. There is an opportunity to give an oral presentation at an interim stage to seek for feedback from staff and peers. There will be seminars to instruct students in research methods and project management.

Contact hours:
  Autumn Spring Summer
Seminars 7
Project Supervision 6
Work-based learning 10
Guided independent study:      
    Wider reading (independent) 60
    Wider reading (directed) 14
    Preparation for presentations 10
    Completion of formative assessment tasks 40
    Carry-out research project 353
    Dissertation writing 100
Total hours by term 600 0 0
Total hours for module 600

Summative Assessment Methods:
Method Percentage
Dissertation 100

Summative assessment- Examinations:

Summative assessment- Coursework and in-class tests:

Assessment will consist of a report (10,000 words ± 10%) to be produced and submitted after the Gateway according to the EPA plan.

Formative assessment methods:

Students receive feedback from their project supervisors during supervision meetings based on their work that includes the outline proposal and research proposal, as well as their progress.

A 10 minute oral presentation followed by 10 minute Q&A) will take place in month 22 in which students report on their hypothesis, background research and solution approach. The presentation assesses the student’s presentation skills and informs the decision about passing the Gateway.They will also receive comments and feedback from the audience present at this presentation.

Penalties for late submission:

The below information applies to students on taught programmes except those on Postgraduate Flexible programmes. Penalties for late submission, and the associated procedures, which apply to Postgraduate Flexible programmes are specified in the policy “Penalties for late submission for Postgraduate Flexible programmes”, which can be found here: http://www.reading.ac.uk/web/files/qualitysupport/penaltiesforlatesubmissionPGflexible.pdf
The Support Centres will apply the following penalties for work submitted late:

  • where the piece of work is submitted after the original deadline (or any formally agreed extension to the deadline): 10% of the total marks available for that piece of work will be deducted from the mark for each working day (or part thereof) following the deadline up to a total of five working days;
  • where the piece of work is submitted more than five working days after the original deadline (or any formally agreed extension to the deadline): a mark of zero will be recorded.
The University policy statement on penalties for late submission can be found at: http://www.reading.ac.uk/web/FILES/qualitysupport/penaltiesforlatesubmission.pdf
You are strongly advised to ensure that coursework is submitted by the relevant deadline. You should note that it is advisable to submit work in an unfinished state rather than to fail to submit any work.

Assessment requirements for a pass:

50% in the dissertation

Reassessment arrangements:

Students may resubmit a revised report in accordance with the apprenticeship and university regulations.

Additional Costs (specified where applicable):

Last updated: 1 March 2022


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