Capstone units and the transition from university to professional life

Document Type

Journal Article

Publication Title

Australian Journalism Review


Journalism Education Associacion

Place of Publication



Centre for Research in Entertainment, Arts, Technology, Education and Communications




Cullen, T. (2017). Capstone units and the transition from university to professional life. Australian Journalism Review, 39(1), 89-98.


Reports on the future of work in 2015 and 2016 reveal that today's graduates face up to seven career changes in their working lifetimes. So it is vital that they develop the skills to adapt to these transitions. Capstone units and experiences have been chosen by the Australian higher education system as the most appropriate mechanism for assisting final-year students to manage the transition from university to professional life. Capstone units are also favoured by journalism educators in Australia. This paper reports the findings and agreements of an 18-month Australian National Teaching Fellowship study that investigated how capstones are viewed and used by journalism educators. The second part of the paper argues that capstone design is often limited to the demonstration of knowledge and skills, but in the ever-changing world of work, graduates also need well-developed personal and professional identities, solid reflective practices and lifelong learning skills.

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