The Capstone Project is a two-semester process in which students pursue independent research on a question or problem of their choice, engage with the scholarly debates in the relevant disciplines, and - with the guidance of a faculty mentor - produce a substantial paper that reflects a deep understanding of the topic.
Students are strongly encouraged to choose a topic in which they have some competence based on their academic work, professional experience, or exploration of future career options. The Capstone Project is both a valuable intellectual experience and also a vehicle through which students can demonstrate their research, analytical, and writing skills to either prospective employers or graduate and professional schools.
Note: Completion of the Capstone Project is required for graduation.
Capstone Framework & Guidelines
A Capstone Project must demonstrate the following characteristics. Each characteristic can be satisfied in different ways depending on the topic, discipline, and the approach taken. But, taken together, they represent the capstone framework.
Originality: You must reach your own deep understanding of a clearly defined and focused topic. You must formulate your own perspective on an issue and draw your own conclusions. The final project and form of presentation can also draw upon your originality and creativity.
Independence: Although you will have a capstone mentor as a guide and domain expert, you will work primarily on your own.
Appropriate Scope: The Capstone Project is equivalent to a six-credit course. Therefore, you should plan to spend at least as much time and energy on your Capstone Project as you have devoted to your most challenging courses. You will have just one semester to complete your research and writing. Therefore, you will need to keep your project within a limited and realistic scope.
Orderly & Objective Process of Inquiry: The Capstone Project demonstrates your facility with the methods of inquiry. These include the ability to ask the right questions, to synthesize ideas, to identify and use evidence, to draw and support conclusions, to recognize compelling research, to communication your ideas, or to solve a problem using a specific set of tools.
Intellectual Stretch: The Capstone Project should take you to a place where you have not been before, and perhaps, did not even think you could reach.
In addition to the framework, there are also some basic guidelines for the Capstone Project.