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A capstone in the LITCW major can take one of two forms, as determined on the "track" chosed by the student: a creative writing project or an academic paper. With both tracks, the student is expected to produce a capstone proposal, identifying an area of interest and/or potential research question toward the end of their junior year. During the summer before their senior year, students are expected to work with their advisor to begin their research and build up toward writing the project in the fall semester. Students will also receive support through a mandatory year-long capstone seminar, where they will learn necessary research skills and have a space to receive feedback on their current progress.
The length of the project in Literature, regardless of the track, is between 40 and 60 pages (12,000 to 15,000 words). In the case of an academic paper, students have the flexibility to structure their analysis in the way that best suits their argument.
The capstone project process officially begins in the Spring semester of a student's junior year, when students are required to present a fully developed capstone proposal to the department. From this proposal, the student is assigned a faculty advisor, who should provide feedback and guidance throughout the process.
During the summer before senior year, students are expected to begin their research with the help of the faculty advisor. In the fall semester, the student should then be prepared to continue research and move toward producing an initial draft of the project by the December.
In the spring semester, students are expected to continue writing, looking toward a first full draft due near the middle of the semester. After a final draft is complete, students will present their work during the Capstone Festival, and defend their projects to a committee of faculty who will be responsible for grading the final project.
A capstone proposal is a written document that outlines the research topic or creative project. Proposals should include a short abstract, a discussion or narrative acocunt of the project, the proposed reseach methodologigy or theoretical framework which will be used, as well as an annotated bibliography with initial bibliographic material and a budget proposal if the student will be requesting budget from the department. For more information, please see the Capstone Proposal page on the Student Portal.
Students are highly encouraged to being work on their research with help with their mentors during the summer. The summer is a great time to get ahead on readings, and to develop the project based on the feedback received from the department about the final proposal.
Program heads and/or program committees will vet capstone proposals, and capstone advisors will be assigned to the students. Students will be permitted to request particular faculty capstone advisors, who may already be engaged in advising the students, though the final assignment rests with the program head of the student’s major.
Limited funds will be available on a competitive basis for students who need to purchase materials for their project. The Arts and Humanities capstone page on the Student Portal provides more information on who to contact and application deadlines.