With only 16 or fewer credits to complete your degree, you are nearing graduation and the culminating course in your degree program: the Integrative Capstone. Your capstone is a wonderful opportunity to reflect upon and combine your newly gained knowledge from your education with either a personal, career, or community-related project idea.
Your capstone project will give you the chance to apply learned knowledge to real world questions and problems and help you meet your personal and professional goals. Your project can also help you demonstrate your communication and critical thinking skills and offers an excellent opportunity to advance your career. Prior students have had their capstone projects implemented by their employers!
Past Capstone Project Examples
Fire Department Professional Mentoring Program
Create mentor relationships between seasoned fire officers and firefighters interested in the position of fire officer. The mentor assigns tasks to the firefighter throughout different phases of the program. Assignments are based on the kinds of tasks they’d complete as a fire officer with the goal of helping them understand the position before taking on the role officially.
Develop an organizational hiring program to maximize retention and establish a consistent, fair, and transparent hiring program that will provide equal opportunity for all current and potential employees. Develop mission and values statements, refine job descriptions, establish hiring panels, interview guidelines, and hiring process and procedure.
Mentoring Empowerment Program
Create a 1:1 mentoring program to help those with mental illness and brain disorders maintain relationships and employment. The program aims to help increase self-esteem, provide encouragement, improve communication with management, and inspire participants to explore employment as a means for self-actualization.
Your Integrative Capstone Project
While a capstone course can feel intimidating for students at first glance, planning ahead and knowing what to expect can set any concerns you may have at rest. Plus, doing so will give you the chance to thoughtfully consider your project topic, how you’ll approach your project, and set the groundwork for completing it.
Integrative capstone projects normally fall into one of the following categories:
- Traditional research paper to conduct an in-depth exploration of intriguing theories, scholarship, research, or best practices in your field
- Proposal to address a workplace or industry-based problem related to your field,
- Proposal for a new work-related initiative for your field
Some students in certain majors are even able to complete an internship for a local, on-the-ground perspective on an important issue or practice in the field. (Selected majors only; see your advisor for information.)
Deciding on a Project
The integrative capstone project is driven by a critical inquiry or research question. You’ve already had plenty of practice developing these types of questions in your prior courses, so now it’s a matter of identifying a question that, when answered, will advance your personal and professional goals.
Steps for Preparing for your Capstone Project
Reflect on your goals
Integrative capstone faculty report that students who have the most successful projects are those who have thoughtfully reflected on the goals they originally identified for their education. Reviewing the Personal Learning Mission you developed in CRIT 502 is a good way to reflect on how your original goals have evolved as you have taken courses and gained other types of knowledge from work and life experiences.
We highly recommend that students complete CRIT 502 prior to the last few courses in their degree program. If you haven’t completed it yet, please contact your academic advisor for assistance.
Develop your question
The process of reflecting on your goals will often reveal a topic of interest that can be developed into an integrative question. A good integrative question will bring together three things: your own personal and professional experiences, knowledge from courses in your major, and current research or scholarship in your field. If you need help brainstorming ideas, this is a good place to start a discussion with the faculty member who is scheduled to teach your capstone course.
Engage with your capstone instructor
When you begin your integrative capstone course with your personal and professional goals clearly defined and a critical inquiry or research question identified for your project, your instructor can then help you refine your question and identify activities and resources to support your project. Integrative capstone faculty have extensive industry knowledge to ensure that your project will support your personal and professional goals for the future, so we encourage you to take advantage of their expertise.
Your Integrative Capstone course is an exciting opportunity, allowing you to reflect on your education and create a project that can propel your future goals. But preparing for your course ahead of time is key. To be successful you’ll want to understand your options, reflect on your goals, strategically decide upon a project, and speak with your faculty to gain their perspective.