IR requires all concentrators to conduct a capstone project in their senior year. The capstone can take one of three forms: a two-semester honors thesis on a pressing global problem, an internationally focused research paper for an IR-approved seminar, or a directed research paper (Independent Study) on an international theme. In terms of differentiation of these options, students are expected to research and write a more substantive research paper than that typically required for a seminar. As a research project, the capstone should be comparable, intellectually, to a senior thesis—creating a central puzzle and trying to solve that puzzle—but be more modest in scope and time commitment.
Must be taken senior year.
Must incorporate research in two languages.
All capstones fulfill the Dean of the College's WRIT requirement.
The purpose of the capstone is to synthesize and apply the knowledge that students have acquired through the IR Program’s curriculum—the disciplinary perspectives, theories, and methods learned—to those particular interests you have developed throughout the concentration. All capstones must demonstrate research in a second language. Capstones offer students the opportunity to integrate and build upon what they have learned in the concentration while demonstrating intellectual creativity in solving problems and their ability to communicate effectively. A key element of the capstone project is reflection—what are your acquired skills and knowledge in IR? What skills would you like to learn or develop further?
Students should start thinking about their capstone project early in their junior year, discussing their interests and focus with their capstone advisor. What are the goals of the project? What are your expectations and, upon completion, what is your contribution to the IR discipline or self-knowledge? At the beginning of the semester in which the project is to be undertaken, students must file a capstone approval form with their capstone advisor and the IR concentration advisor describing the capstone project and its intellectual rationale.
1. SELECT CAPSTONE OPTION
Honors thesis, seminar paper, or directed research paper?
Learn more about the three options.
If writing an honors thesis, see the the Honors Program for instructions. Students apply for Honors junior year.
2. SELECT A CAPSTONE ADVISOR
Use the online form to select a capstone advisor.
3. DECIDE ON A PROJECT
By mid-semester decide on a project and meet with your capstone advisor to discuss.
4. SUBMIT CAPSTONE APPROVAL FORM
Obtain capstone advisor signature and submit form to IR program.
5. SUBMIT ENTRY FOR CAPSTONE CATALOG
Required to graduate. Submit your entry to the capstone catalong online.
Capstone projects should be a deliberate choice. Capstones are not approved in hindsight and must be taken for a letter grade. Should be linked to a theme or the student's track and the region. Be sure to check with seminar instructor to make sure this is possible. See capstone project options.
Capstone advisors from the IR core are available to guide you in making this a cumulative intellectual project. Students choose from a list of capstone advisors constituting the core disciplines in IR, although once an advisor has reached his or her quota, students will have to seek another advisor on the list. Students must select a capstone advisor from one of the four advisors that have been appointed by the IR Program. Capstone advisors are trained to make sure students are fulfilling capstone requirements, but are not overseeing project details (that would be the seminar instructor, the thesis committee, or the independent study instructor). Capstone advisors may also hold group meetings to discuss advisees’ progress or to engage them in related intellectual activities.
Grading of the capstone will be by your faculty thesis director, seminar instructor, or independent study sponsor – depending on the capstone option you choose. IR Program faculty will review the work for assessment purposes.
IR Capstone Catalog
All students are required to complete an entry in the online Capstone Catalog to graduate. This includes a 100 word max abstract of the project and reflective analysis. The IR Capstone Catalog is advised and monitored by the IR concentration advisor.