Every IDS major produces a Capstone project as part of the completion of the degree. The Capstone is driven by research questions generated by the student that integrate the chosen areas of concentration into a coherent whole. Most Capstone projects involve multiple types of outputs that serve to approach the goals from different points of view. The Capstone often takes multiple forms in different media—a performance, an essay, poetry, film, sculptures, presentations, computer programs, etc.—and most have more than one component. Upon graduation, students will have not only completed a project of significant scale and depth, they will also have a portfolio of advanced work that clearly demonstrates the content of their learning and their degree.
The Capstone allows students to experience planning out and executing a significant project. The work for the Capstone begins in the Junior year. In the MI390 Junior Seminar, students do background research, hone their research questions, and begin planning out the different components of their final project. By the end of MI390, every student completes the Capstone Application, which lays out the different components of the project and describes the overall goals. At least one component of the Capstone needs to be analytical in nature (this component must account for at least 20% of the overall project). This often takes the form of a traditional analytical essay but can also be communicated in other forms such as a podcast or presentation. During the senior year, students work one-on-one with faculty Reader/Viewers and as a group in the MI490 Capstone Seminars to complete the plan laid out in the junior year. Students may substitute 4 credits of MI 490 Senior Capstone with a departmental capstone (ex. MK 480, WR 490, JR 491) or HS 490 Honors Thesis. At the end of the project, the student discusses and defends their work to a panel, including their faculty advisor, a second Reader/Viewer, and an outside expert in the student’s chosen topic.