Capstones are culminating academic experiences that are completed within the confines of a semester-length course (15 weeks). Several master's program fields either require a capstone project or offer the option to pursue one.
Types of Capstones
We offer two forms of capstones:
For software engineering, information management systems, and math for teaching, capstones are completed in a course designed by a faculty member, which brings together all the key learning outcomes for your field.
You register as you would any other course, ordinarily in your final semester. See CSCI E-599, ISMT 599 or 599a, and MATH E-599.
Capstone Independent Project
For digital media design, journalism, museum studies, and sustainability, capstones are independent projects focused on a current issue or problem that has become compelling for you during your course of study. The project can also provide an opportunity to showcase skills in a format that can be presented to future employers. You complete the work individually (journalism) or in a classroom setting with fellow candidates (all other fields).
Registration for the capstone is similar to registration for a course, but the project must be approved a minimum of two months in advance.
Gaining Approval for an Independent Project Capstone
Plan to meet with your research advisor early and often. He or she can provide advice and support as you develop those preliminary ideas.
Once you’ve completed six to eight courses, start the capstone process in earnest. Download your field-specific capstone proposal form (forms are found under the Graduate Program Forms section of the Forms webpage). Start filling it out as you continue to meet with your research advisor to garner feedback.
Expect your research advisor to require revisions of your capstone proposal before granting approval.
Once you have completed a) all, or the majority, of your other course work, b) your research advisor has approved your project proposal, you are ready to register for the capstone. Submit the approved capstone proposal form by the required deadline to the Professional Degree Programs Academic Advising Office; they will notify you of the registration process. Keep in mind that you must have a well-developed plan for your project before your advisor can approve it, and that the process can take some time.
If you haven’t met with your advisor to discuss your project in detail, do not submit capstone proposal forms. Have several conversations with your advisor before submitting the capstone proposal forms. If you submit the forms at the deadline but before discussing your project with your advisor, your proposal cannot be approved for that semester.
Required Proposal Deadlines
- July 1 for fall capstone registration
- November 1 for spring
- April 15 for summer (only journalism and sustainability offer summer capstones).
Register early. You should register for the capstone course on the first day of registration to ensure placement in the limited-enrollment course.
You need to be good academic standing and have met minimum credit requirements to register for capstone.
Please note that while every effort is made to support your capstone interest, guidance is not available for all possible projects. Therefore, revision or a change of capstone topic may be necessary.