All individualized majors are expected to fulfill the capstone requirement, which gives you the chance to integrate the insights that you have acquired during the course of your studies.

You may fulfill the capstone requirement in one of three ways:

  • Capstone Course
  • Thesis project
  • Approved alternative capstone

Capstone Course

Most students take the Capstone Course (UNIV 4600W, 3 credits) to meet their capstone requirement. This course provides an intellectual space in which you can integrate what you have learned during your academic journey. The primary vessel for this integration will be a research essay in which you explore a problem or question central to your major. There will be opportunities for reflection on what you have achieved in the individualized major, as well, and practice of skills, like making presentations and building professional networks, which will facilitate your transition to post-collegiate life.

Thesis Project

Some students elect to do a thesis project instead of the Capstone Course. This project is most often a lengthy written study, but other forms are also possible, such as a photo essay, a piece of fiction or a collection of poetry. Your thesis should develop new knowledge or practice, involve significant background research, require sustained attention in the implementation of the project, and result in a piece of written work that documents the learning process.

  • An honors thesis in the Individualized Major must consist of at least six credits, typically completed over the course of two (sometimes three) semesters.
  • A non-honors thesis may be either three or six credits.
  • If you intend to complete a thesis, you must submit a thesis proposal┬áto the Individualized Major Program by the last day of classes of the semester before you intend to begin your thesis, typically the spring semester of your junior year.

Course registration for the thesis

  • A six-credit thesis typically consists of an independent study with your thesis supervisor during the fall semester. During the spring semester, you will enroll in UNIV 4697W Senior Thesis, for which your thesis supervisor is the instructor.
  • A three-credit thesis consists of UNIV 4697W only.
  • To register for UNIV 4697W, you use an independent study authorization form. Your thesis supervisor will sign on the instructor line, Monica van Beusekom or your primary advisor will sign on the advisor line, and Monica van Beusekom will sign the department head line. Monica van Beusekom will only sign your form if the office has received a thesis proposal form from you.

For detailed information and advice on the thesis, please see the Thesis Guide.

For additional requirements for Honors thesis-writers, please see the Honors in IMJR page of this website.

Approved Alternative Capstone

Departmental senior seminars or other advanced courses that provide you with the opportunity to integrate the themes of your individualized major may also qualify as a capstone.

If you are pursuing a double major or an additional degree, you may be able to satisfy the capstone requirement with a capstone course or thesis in your other major/degree if it allows you to explore the theme of your individualized major.

Note: You must get advanced approval from the IMJR director and your primary advisor to pursue an alternative capstone.