The Honors capstone is the culmination of your undergraduate work and a launching pad for your future aspirations. Think carefully about the purpose of the capstone…Do you want to use it to:
- prepare for graduate school?
- prepare for your professional career?
- express your creativity? or
- further your intellectual aspirations?
The capstone is your chance to direct your own education.
View an overview of the Honors capstone project.
Usually completed in the senior year, the capstone must:
- demonstrate sufficient mastery of a field
- represent at least three months of deep study and analysis
- result in an essay, document, performance, artwork, or some other artifact that can be preserved
Most students write a long, scholarly essay in their major, but you may do creative projects or use multimedia. Some students use the capstone to bridge work in their primary major and secondary major or in their minor. Some use it to explore some other field of interest, which may or may not be related to their major.
Throughout the process, you should work with a faculty member or, in the beginning stages, an Honors staff member.
One or two semesters in advance:
- Attend an Honors capstone information session and the Honors Capstone Research Conference.
- Decide on the purpose of your capstone project and explore possible ideas.
- Consider its relation to your majors, minors or other interests. If your major requires a capstone, you can choose to make it your Honors capstone.
- Determine the final form (i.e., traditional thesis, “creative” work, etc.).
One semester in advance:
- Select a faculty capstone advisor. Click here to view advice.
- You might seek one or more faculty mentors who may offer further expertise. If you receive conflicting advice, follow your faculty capstone advisor’s direction. The faculty capstone advisor is the professor of record who ultimately articulates the standards by which your work is judged and who records the grade. You must earn a B or better to receive Honors credit.
- Attach your capstone to a 3-6 credit course:
- Capstone course (e.g., MGMT 458H)
- Capstone supplement, or
- Independent study. The title must begin with “Honors Capstone Project.” If you like or if the department prefers, you can register your independent study as HNRS-490 or HNRS-498 Honors Independent Study Project.
Click here to view advice on how to submit an Honors capstone proposal.
- Work with your faculty capstone advisor to draft:
- Proposal. Consider the SIS Capstone Guidelines.
- Work plan. Set a schedule with advisor meetings, assignments, and deadlines.
- Capstone grant application. Honors awards grants to Honors students for materials leading to the completion of the Honors capstone. The competitive awards are determined on the basis of capstone projects’ merit and feasibility. No award exceeds $500, and most grants typically fall below $300, due to funding limitations. Please review this General Information document to get a sense of the items for which Honors will and will not award grants. To be considered for a grant, the grant form must be completed and submitted with your Honors Capstone Form.
- Run your draft by the Department Honors Coordinator.
- Submit the online capstone form by the deadline, which is the last day of add/drop period. And, if completing an independent study, the Registrar’s Independent Study Form. Check with your department about any additional forms that need to be completed and the deadlines for submitting them.
- Apply for the Honors Capstone Research Conference to showcase your research by the deadline, usually in mid-March.
- Submit the completed capstone to your capstone faculty advisor by the last day of classes for grading. Extensions are strongly discouraged and only granted on a case-by-case basis.
- Submit an electronic copy, a hard copy, and the Capstone Submission Form to Honors by the last day of exams.
- View advice from a Department Honors Coordinator.
- View advice from a Faculty Capstone Advisor.
- View student testimonials on the capstone experience.
- Take your professor to lunch.
- Browse past capstone abstracts:
- Search the Capstone Digital Archive to see past years’ capstone projects in their entirety.
- Stop by the Honors office to browse the previous academic year’s capstone projects.
- For style and formatting recommendations, visit the Purdue Online Writing Lab.
- For examples of guidelines by academic discipline, visit the Harvard Writing Project.