Purpose of the Capstone
A “capstone” is the final stone that unifies and protects an underlying structure. That’s what a capstone experience is when finishing your university degree. Students often ask:
- Why do I have to do this?
- Is it really required to graduate?
- What’s the use, and what’s the point?
The capstone course/experience is the last class (or one of them) in a program of study. It’s called a capstone because it represents a crowning achievement as a capstone does in architecture. The best university degree programs require capstone experiences, and a capstone is considered a high impact practice in university education. A capstone course allows for the assessment of your learning and skills that are needed to continue onto success after graduation, and you also might come out of it with an employment portfolio.
The capstone also helps builds your résumé. Listing a capstone on your résumé helps you market yourself. Listing a capstone shows motivation, drive, planning, and application of knowledge and skills. A capstone on your résumé is proof to future employers or graduate programs that you have the skills you say that you do. By integrating theory and practical experience, your capstone experience here at UofSC Aiken can set you apart from graduates of other institutions.
There is evidence that taking a capstone improves confidence and self-perception. Your capstone will not only help your professors see how much you’ve learned and accomplished but will reinforce to yourself your amazing potential.
The capstone also increases the rigor of senior year. The capstone will help you hone what you have learned. The course is a safe, guided space for you to finish your university learning and reflection on the entire experience.
Our Communication Department offers three BA programs: the traditional Communication degree, the Emerging Media degree, and the new online degree in Communication through the Palmetto College. Each program is slightly different because we are student-centered and want to meet you where you are in your current life and in light of your future interests.
Presently, there are four capstone options available:
- Internship: A traditional internship experience with a company/business/professional organization that allows you to explore professional area you are interested in as a potential career. If you want to do an internship with a nonprofit community organization, that would lend itself to a service-learning project.
- Professional Project: A large scale project for your current employer or community that both fulfills a need and enriches their ability to reach a goal as an organization. This option is recommended for students currently working full time in their careers or fields and in our online program.
- Research Project: A concept to completion research project that results in a research paper ready for submission to an academic conference or journal. This option is recommended for students interested in attending graduate school.
- Creative Project: A large creative project that both stretches and strengthens a student’s production-based skills, while providing a solid piece of work to display a student’s ability to do production work from concept to completion. This option is recommended for students interested in production-based work after graduation.
Follow the steps below to enroll in a capstone.
Step 1—Take ownership of your experience
First you need to consider what kind of experience you want to have depending on your interest and future aspirations.
If you want to do an internship, you must have located and secured an internship (you can work with Career Services). If you want to do a professional project, you must work with your current employer and have an agreement on some substantive project.
If you want to do a research project, you must have a specific topic and plan and show a willingness to do the hard work of original scholarship.
If you want to do a creative project, you must have a specific project in mind. Whatever you decide, there is an expectation of 80 hours of logged work over the course of the enrolled term.
Step 2—Fill out the appropriate paperwork
You will not be enrolled in a capstone course until you fill out all appropriate paperwork. For instance, an internship requires a specific description of the internship as a communication internship and signed by a site supervisor. If you are doing a professional project, research project, or creative project, you also need a full description of your experience and signatures from agency personnel or faculty research mentor.
You will not be enrolled in a capstone course until all paperwork has been properly submitted and experiences approved by the capstone director.
Step 3—Take the class
You cannot enroll yourself in the capstone experience on your own. You will be placed in the appropriate class depending on your proposed experience. If you are doing an internship, you will be placed in COMM A497. If you are doing any kind of other project, you will be placed in COMM A499. There will be expectations of classwork beyond the work of the experience.
Frequently Asked Questions
Do I have to complete the Writing Proficiency Portfolio (WPP) or take English 201 before I apply to take a capstone?
What if I have other questions, or I’m just utterly confused and I don’t know what’s going on at all?
INTERNSHIP RESOURCES FOR UNDERGRADUATE STUDENTS
For any questions related to the capstone, contact the Capstone Director Dr. Jason Munsell.
Location: H&SS B11