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  • Honors Capstone Project

All University Honors Program students wishing to receive University Honors on their transcripts must complete An Honors Capstone Project

The Honors Capstone Project is founded upon the commitment to producing knowledge in service to others. Unlike other senior projects that focus primarily or even exclusively on the academic, this project should be situated in all the values of the University Honors Program: scholarship, service, and leadership. This is your opportunity to showcase how engaged learning, ethical and meaningful research, and a commitment to integrity and community can and does produce projects intended to enrich not only our own lives but also the public sphere.

General Characteristics:

The Honors Capstone Project may take the form of an approved creative project, report, or senior thesis, capstone class, or capstone performance (directing a play, performance in dance, applied projects in architecture, engineering, or perhaps a musical composition, performance, etc.) in your major. It should focus upon a topic agreed upon by you and your mentor and approved by the honors thesis subcommittee. It should require substantial research and allow for a meaningful contribution both to your field of study and to the community.

What distinguishes an Honors Capstone Project from other capstone projects is your ability to contextualize the project in the tradition of Honors. Clearly scholarship is at the heart of any successful capstone project. But how does your project exemplify leadership and service? As part of your proposal to Honors, and ultimately either a preface or synthetic conclusion to your text, you should situate your project in what it means to pursue scholarship that serves something larger than your own disciplinary interests.

As noted above, your project may include (but is not limited to) any one of the following genres:  critical or textual analysis, creative performance or exhibit, a business plan, interpretation of a text or art object, original creative project, laboratory or field experiment and analysis, case study, novel, short stories, or an original poetry composition. Regardless of the genre that you choose, the final product should be exemplary. To earn credit as an honors project, the academic project must receive a B+ or above.

Honors Capstone Project Requirements

Credit Requirements
An Honors Senior Research Project represents the culmination of a student’s undergraduate experience, with the experiential aspect of the project (research, project design, artistic or musical performance, etc.) completed some time during the student’s final two years of study.  Students are asked to designate a course(s), independent study, or other credit-bearing experience that will serve as the curricular foundation for his/her Honors Capstone Project.  A minimum of 3 credit hours is recommended. You will need to obtain documented permission from the instructor of record.

Project Declaration & Mentorship
Students should identify a faculty mentor within their discipline who is willing to work with them on their project. Students are required to submit an Honors Capstone Project Declaration form signed by the faculty advisor by October 15th

  • You will be assigned an honors mentor who will assist you in developing your project into an appropriate honors submission.
  • The course mentor and student together determine the process for completing the Honors Capstone Project (defining the direction of the research, establishing regular meeting times, identifying deadlines for the completion of drafts, etc).  Because consistent faculty mentoring is an essential component of the senior experience, your honors mentor will periodically be in contact with your faculty advisor to assess your progress-to-date. 
  • In addition, to insure that all students have an identified plan for the capstone project and are making adequate progress, students are strongly encouraged to schedule two individual meetings with their honors mentor—one during the fall semester and one during the spring semester.

University Dissemination
For the Honors program, the dissemination of the senior capstone project represents the culmination of the Honors requirement.  It is in this context that you will defend the meaningful contribution of your scholarship and/or creativity. 

All honors seniors are required to present their capstone projects at the spring RWU Academic Showcase in a special designation for Honors Program Presentations.  The Honors Capstone Review Committee will be present at the Academic Showcase to evaluate your Honors capstone project. 

Your presentation will be evaluated based upon on your reflections on your project and its connections to the Honors Program values of scholarship, leadership, and service.  You are expected to work with the Honors program faculty and your thesis advisor to develop and prepare for this critical component of the Honors requirement.

Final Project Submission
Once the Honors Capstone Project has received the final approval from the thesis advisor/faculty mentor, students should submit their project to the Honors Review Committee.  The format of the final project should be determined by the faculty advisor and the student and should be consistent with the standards of the discipline in which the research project was conducted.  Please note that all thesis submissions and materials are expected to conform to the university’s electronic thesis submission guidelines.

Thesis with Distinction
Thesis with Distinction is a designation that is separate from membership in the University Honors Program. The call for Thesis with Distinction applications will be made later in the fall semester.

Honors Capstone Project Deadlines

The deadlines for completing the Honors Capstone Project are pre-determined and must be followed strictly by all students.  NOTE: Students may complete these deadlines EARLY, but not later than the dates specified below. Failure to do so will jeopardize the student’s status within the University Honors Program.

Honors Capstone Project Declaration Form October 15
Honors Capstone Verification Form April 1
Final Thesis Due May 21

Individuals unable to meet established deadlines must submit an appeal to the Honors Review Committee via the Program Director, Dr. Becky Spritz (bspritz@rwu.edu).