Your Senior Capstone Experience

All 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 academic concerns, 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 that enrich not only our own lives but also the public sphere.

General Characteristics

The Honors Capstone Project is an independent research, creative, or applied project such as a thesis, a work of art, an architectural or engineering design project, etc. It should focus upon a topic agreed upon by you and your mentor and approved by the Honors Program. It should require substantial scholarship 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 your Honors Capstone Reflection, 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 sometime 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 mentor by October 1st

  • The faculty 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, the Honors Program will periodically be in contact with your faculty mentor 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 the Honors Program Associate Director – 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 Capstone 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 session for Honors Capstone Presentations. Members of the Honors Advisory Council will be present at the Academic Showcase to evaluate your project. 

Your presentation will be evaluated based 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 capstone project mentor to develop and prepare for this critical component of the Honors Capstone requirement.

Final Project Submission
Once the Honors Capstone Project has received final approval from the faculty mentor, students should submit their project to the Honors Program.  The format of the final project should be determined by the faculty mentor and the student and should be consistent with the standards of the discipline in which the 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. Students interested in applying for Thesis with Distinction should contact the dean of their school or division.

Senior Distinction Guidelines

Honors Capstone Project Deadlines

The deadlines for completing the Honors Capstone Project are pre-determined and must be followed strictly by all students.

Honors Capstone Project Declaration Form

October 1

Draft of Honors Capstone Project OR Capstone Reflection

April 1

Honors Capstone Progress Report

April 1

Honors Capstone Completion Form

May 18

Honors Capstone Project Due

May 18

Honors Capstone Reflection Due

May 18

Individuals unable to meet established deadlines must submit an appeal to the Honors Capstone Committee via the Program Associate Director, Prof. Robert Dermody (