Capstone Project Description

Description of Capstone (AY2016/2017) – Literature

Identification of project and supervisor: 

Students are encouraged to submit preliminary proposals of not more than 1,000 words by 31 March of their junior year, to the Head of Studies. If they are abroad, they may do this by email. The proposals need not specify a thesis to defend, but they should identify the topic and scope of the project, and include a brief preliminary bibliography and description of any plans for off-campus research or training. These preliminary proposals will be developed by the student, with feedback from the HoS, into formal one-page proposals articulating a clear question within a well-defined and specific area, and indicating the project’s context and significance. This, along with an indicative bibliography, will serve for the formal submission of capstone proposals in Week 2 of Year 4. By this time, each student will have consulted with a faculty member who has agreed to serve as Capstone Supervisor and advise the project. 

Range of topics and formats: 

Capstone projects may include experiential (such as interviews with authors and scholars), archival, and/or text-based research, or a translation with critical framework, but the Capstone’s final form will be a formal, written document on a literary topic. Students write their theses in English but they are encouraged to work with texts in the original languages and to begin preparation in the relevant languages well in advance. 

Activities as part of project: 

In Semester 1 of Year 4, all capstone-writing students attend a weekly seminar on advanced research methods. This culminates in a presentation by each student of the current status and plans for their Capstone project. Following final submission of the project, there will be a public presentation of the work to a colloquium of Literature majors and faculty and other interested persons from the campus community. This presentation, along with the grade for the seminar and the grade for the thesis, contributes to the final grade for the project.

Preparation of students: 

Sufficient progress in the major (as determined by the HoS), adequate preparation for the project (as determined by the Supervisor), and consultation with the Supervisor for development of the project proposal are required prior to submission of the project proposal. Proposals will be assessed by a meeting of the Literature faculty. Students are further encouraged to seek in advance additional means of conducting research, such as invitations to relevant archives or additional library resources.

Expectations for students/supervisor interactions and work on the project: 

All students are expected to liaise with their Supervisors at least twice per month, with the student providing a summary of recent activities and progress to the Supervisor at least 48 hours prior to the meeting. While the Supervisors serve as domain experts and guides, the students will work largely on their own. 

Format(s) of final product: 

Literature capstone projects should result in a thesis of approximately 12,500 words (roughly 50 pages) that includes an abstract, an introduction, developed chapters, and a list of works cited.


Capstone projects in Literature will be assessed at 15% from the first semester seminar, 15% from the public presentation at the end of the project, and 70% from the thesis itself.