What is a Capstone?

Capstones are final courses that draw upon your entire ALM scholarly training to produce a faculty- or student-directed academic research project worthy of a Harvard degree.

Student-directed capstones require you to come up with a topic and make a case to your research advisor as to why the topic is worthy of investigation. The project represents your academic passion and professional interest. Once the topic is approved, you craft a capstone proposal--a research plan--where you outline the topic, share the background reading you've done to understand the topic, and state the research design and methods.

Faculty-directed capstones are semester-long academic seminars lead by an instructor, who brings together all the key learning outcomes of the field of study in a structured syllabus. The instructor may present a list of topics from which you can choose or you may work on the same project as other students. You could work in a team or on your own.

Prework. Most capstones require you to participate in either a noncredit capstone proposal tutorial or a 4-credit, graded precapstone course the semester right before capstone registration (no earlier). The guided prework in either the tutorial or course sets the foundation for academically strong capstones.

The following ALM fields require student-directed capstones:

* All fields require the Capstone Proposal Tutorial, except Journalism.

The following ALM fields require faculty-directed capstones:

 * All fields require the Precapstone Course, except Industrial-Organizational Psychology, Math for Teaching, Information Management Systems and Software Engineering