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Programs: PhD Dissertation

Using the Doctoral Capstone Template

Walden editors are currently revising and updating the template instructional video.

Please review the 2019 Capstone Writing Clinic presentation, Using the Capstone Template.

In this video form and style editors, Dr. Joe Gredler and Carey Little Brown, as well as capstone support editor, Sam Herrington, demonstrate and discuss how to use the Walden capstone templates.

The opening and introduction in this recording, about the first 20 minutes, covers:

  • Introduction to the template document and editing resources
  • Capstone formatting expectations and resources
  • Where to locate and download the templates

The second portion of this recording, from about 20 minutes in (until the end), includes a visual demonstration of using the actual template in MS Word, including:

  • Contents of the template
  • Formatting embedded in the document and how to use it
    • Including page breaks, section breaks, and the pilcrow
  • Tagging headings and updating the Table of Contents
  • Reference list formatting
  • Editor responses to student questions
  • General discussions of best practices for using the template and ensuring Walden and ProQuest formatting requirements are met

In addition, Walden editors suggest students review the SMRTguides on document formatting and Correcting Common Errors in the Capstone Template Table of Contents.

About the PhD Dissertation

Students start the dissertation by documenting their initial investigation into a research topic, which is used to make decisions about the capstone and is provided to prospective faculty members of the supervisory committee. In all PhD programs, this document is called the Premise, which is followed by a Prospectus. The Prospectus is a second document used to confirm the topic for the proposal and the structure of the dissertation committee.

Guides for completing these documents can be found on the Center for Research Quality website. The Publication Manual of the American Psychological Association, Sixth Edition style should be used for both the Premise and the Prospectus, as well as for the proposal and final study.


The Dissertation Guidebook is a complete resource for information on form and style, steps in the dissertation process, and procedures.  We also offer a series of capstone webinars on a variety of capstone-related topics.

For questions about writing the proposal, dissertation, thesis, or doctoral study, contact editor@waldenu.edu.

Confused about assumptions, limitations, and delimitations?  See Jen's blog post.