DSBA Capstone


Students enrolled in the DSBA Master’s degree can pursue either an Internship Experience or a Master’s Thesis as their capstone project. The Internship pathway is suggested for those seeking professional careers after graduation. Students choosing the internship option must complete a formal internship experience (3 Credit Hours) usually in their last semester.  The Master’s Thesis pathway is geared for students seeking in-depth research experience, potentially leading to a Ph.D. program. Students choosing the thesis option must complete 6 credit hours over a minimum of two semesters and successfully defend their Thesis defense to meet the capstone requirements.

Timeline for Submission: proposals must be submitted one month before the start of the semester in which the internship starts.


Registration for the Internship course is different from any of your previous classes in that you need an approved proposal before receiving authorization. Students are expected to research and secure an internship project. At their internship organization, students will need to identify a mentor and develop a project proposal.

DSBA 6400: Internship Project (3 Credit Hours) Prerequisite: Enrollment in MS in Data Science and Business Analytics. Complete an individual or team-based project that is originated from a related organization and approved by SDS faculty (Fall, Spring, or Summer)

Internship Requirements

Before registering or starting an internship students must: 

  • Complete a minimum of 21 hours of graduate coursework before registering for the internship course, DBSA 6400.
  • Identify an appropriate project with an industry or community partner.
  • Identify an appropriate project mentor.  
  • In collaboration with your mentor, develop and submit your formal proposal.

Students cannot register for the DSBA 6400 class unless they have an approved proposal. Successful proposals and projects outline the scope of work and project timeline and must document a minimum of 160 contact hours.

Internship Proposal

Students who have secured an internship must first complete the Internship Proposal. Submitted proposals will be reviewed weekly by the Faculty Supervisors. Students will be contacted if additional information is needed. The Director of Student Services will authorize registering for DSBA 6400 if and when the proposal is approved. 

Please choose the semester in which you are planning to take the internship and fill out the Internship Proposal.


FALL 2024 INTERNSHIP PROPOSAL (Available  May 1, 2024)

Additional information can be found in the course syllabus. Students are responsible for completing course deliverables. Once registered, all submissions will be through the course Canvas site. Upon completion of the internship, the student is responsible for a report and a final presentation, open to all members of the program to attend.

Internship: Additional Requirements

For your convenience, we have compiled a list of links for some of the common requests. Depending on your placement some if not all of the following may be required of you before you can start your internship. Please consult with the organization’s HR department for specific requirements. Please check with your Mentor in the organization about the procedures and requirements for their organization.

Criminal Background Checks

Some organizations may require that you submit a criminal background check through the University. UNC Charlotte has contracted with Certiphi Screening, Inc. to conduct background checks. No other agency will be accepted. To secure a report you will need to contact the Director. You must supply the following information:

  • First and Last Name
  • The last 4 digits of UNC Charlotte student #
  • Birthdate (MM/DD/YYYY)
  • UNC Charlotte Email

Once the information has been provided it will be submitted to Certiphi. They will contact you via email with a link to their Application Station website. The completed report will be emailed to you. If you are an international student who has lived in the US for less than 6 years, you may need to pay an additional fee to obtain a Police Clearance Certificate. Please contact your consulate to get instructions on the process and fees. Note, that this process should be initiated at least 3 months before your practicum/internship.

Liability Insurance

For students who have a clinical placement, students may be required to carry professional liability insurance. The companies below offer Liability Insurance to students.

Drug Testing

Multiple organizations in the vicinity offer drug screening services, most will require appointments.


Organizations may require documentation of immunizations (TB, Mumps, Rubella, Rubeola, HBV, Tetanus, Diphtheria, Flu, etc.) prior to starting the internship.


Who places students in internships?

It is the primary responsibility of the student to find an internship. However, the School of Data Science works hard to assist all students during their search. At the beginning of each semester, eligible students who are actively seeking internship placements can submit their resumes to our resume book. This book is then shared with industry partners and interested employers for consideration. We also share many internship opportunities and recruitment session information with students via email.  We also strongly encourage students to participate in professional seminars, networking and training events, Career Center Meet-Ups, and the annual Women in Data Science Conference.

Are internships paid?

It depends on the organization, but usually graduate students seeking a placement are paid. 

If I am currently employed, how do I complete the internship requirement?
  • Completing the internship course (DSBA 6400) is a requirement for graduation.  In the past, students who were completing their degree while working full-time have traditionally followed one of three paths:
  1. Project with an Existing Team: Students coordinated with their employers to work with an existing data analytics unit within their company.
  2. Individual Project: In consultation with their supervisor or team, students have developed a stand-alone “proof-of-concept” project.
  3. Community Partners: Students who lack access or team support within their organization have offered their services to a local non-profit or community service organization.  These projects can be professionally rewarding but are more often than not unpaid/volunteer positions.

Hear from the instructors as they talk and answer questions about the internship project.

Alternatively, students can complete the capstone project via the Thesis option.


This overview outlines the procedures and prerequisites for choosing the Master Thesis as the Capstone experience in the DSBA program (available starting Fall 2024). DSBA 6991 provides a tailored path for those aspiring to research-oriented careers or further academic pursuits, allowing participants to refine critical thinking, analytical, and research skills. This Capstone entails 6 credit hours spread over two semesters or more, offering flexibility in research distribution (e.g., 1+5, 3+3, 2+2+2). However, solely accruing credit hours does not fulfill the program’s Capstone requirement. Candidates will engage in original research, crafting a thesis, and successfully defending their thesis in front of a Committee composed of graduate faculty.

The Master Thesis Pathway

Before registering for DSBA 6991 students must identify a thesis advisor and develop a preliminary research proposal.  With the approval of your Thesis Advisor, you will submit a Thesis Advisor Form and request authorization to register for your first semester.  

Pre- Thesis Registration:

  • Select a thesis advisor from the SDS graduate faculty. You need to submit a completed Thesis Advisor Form.
  • Register for DSBA 6991 Master Thesis Research.

1st Semester(s): Research

  • Begin a literature review and formulate research questions under the guidance of your thesis advisor.
  • Develop a research proposal outline.
  • Form a thesis committee through the Graduate School and defend your thesis proposal (can be done in the final semester). The committee must have a minimum of three faculty members including an SDS joint or affiliate faculty member as chair. 

2nd Semester: Thesis Defense

  • Complete your thesis research and write the document.
  • Submit the completed thesis to your committee for review.
  • Schedule and prepare for your thesis defense.
  • Successfully defend your thesis.

A reminder, the DSBA 6991 is only offered in the Fall and Spring Semesters.  For detailed steps and forms, refer to the following Graduate School websites.  


Can I enroll in DSBA 6991 during the summer semester?

No, the Master Thesis Research course is offered only during the regular semesters (fall and spring).

Can I switch to the internship option after earning 6 credits from Master Thesis Research?

Yes, up to 6 elective credits from DSBA 6991 may count toward your degree.

Can I earn 6 credit hours in one semester?

No, you can earn up to 5 credit hours in a single semester. Discuss the expected workload with your advisor.

Can the proposal defense occur in the same semester as the final defense?

Yes, but it is strongly advised to defend your proposal early in the semester. The deadline for the final defense is only ten weeks after the proposal defense deadline.