Capstone Guide

Preparation for the Capstone

Prior to registration for the Capstone courses (BPOLST 506 and 508), you must meet the following requirements:

  1. Successful completion of all prior required foundation core coursework (BPOLST 500, 501, 502, 503, 504) with a minimum of 2.7 in each course.
  2. Selection of an appropriate research question approved by the Capstone Advisor.

Identification of a Topic

It is assumed that you, the student, are generally knowledgeable about the field in which you will pursue your Capstone project. In designing a Capstone project, you should consider these points:

1.    Has prior research been done on the problem?
2.    Is further work feasible?
3.    Does the problem engender a desire to solve it?
4.    Will the study make a contribution?
5.    Does a solution to the problem demand expertise you do not have?
6.    Is there an opportunity to do work in the field?
7.    How much data are available?
8.    How much time will be required to conduct the study?
9.    What financial cost will the study involve?
10.    Is the scope of the study appropriate for a Master’s program?
11.    Will you want the study to be published? If so, you may need to submit a Human Subjects Review application.

The Capstone Preparation Meeting

The Roundtable Meeting, scheduled in Spring Quarter of your first year, is designed to mark the beginning of the Capstone planning and advisor assignment process.  This meeting will give you an opportunity to learn about research areas represented by the faculty, to consider the option of pursuing community-based research with an organizational partner, and to provide basic information about the Capstone project itself.

The Capstone Project Description

After the Roundtable Meeting, you will have a week or so to consider what direction you would like to take in your Capstone research. You should complete and submit the Capstone Pre-Proposal and Advisor Nomination form by the deadline (see calendar).

Determining the nature and scope of any problem requires careful analysis, particularly at the outset; therefore, you are encouraged to speak to faculty whose expertise aligns with your areas of interest. Please note, however, that these dialogs do not guarantee a specific advisor match.

Capstone Advisor Assignments

The faculty will review the submitted Capstone Pre-Proposal and Advisor Nomination forms and make advisor matches. The Graduate Office will then announce the final matches to you by email. You must meet with your advisor to discuss the proposed project before the end of Spring Quarter of your first year.

You and your advisor must work together to refine and improve the original outline of the problem. These conferences are designed to (1) reaffirm and further clarify the educational significance and feasibility of the proposed problem, (2) help you identify key areas in which literature needs to be reviewed (3) assist you in perfecting your plans for development of the Capstone project, and (4) establish a timeline with benchmarks that will allow you and the faculty member to assess progress on the project. You are encouraged to review projects that your advisor recommends as good models.

Change of Capstone Advisor

You are discouraged from changing Capstone Advisors during the Capstone process; however, you may elect to change Capstone Advisors with the consent of your current Capstone Advisor, the proposed new Capstone Advisor, and the Graduate Program Manager. You should make the request electronically using the Petition to Change Capstone Advisor. Petitions submitted prior to enrollment in BPOLST 506 will most likely be approved. Ones submitted after it will be vetted more closely and will only be approved if extenuating circumstances require the change.