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 us to assess your learning and skills to ensure your success after graduation; you will be required to complete a final portfolio or ePortfolio.
The capstone also helps builds your résumé. Listing a capstone on your résumé helps you market yourself. 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 at USC Aiken can set you apart from graduates of other institutions. There also is evidence that taking a capstone improves your confidence. The capstone also increases the rigor of senior year. The capstone will help you hone what you have learned.
Our Communication and Emerging Media Department offers two BA programs: the traditional Communication degree, the STEM Emerging Media degree, and then both degrees are offered fully online as degree completion programs. 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 project 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.
- 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.
- Media Content Creation 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 media production work from concept to completion. This option is recommended for Emerging Media students interested in production-based work after graduation and should be included in a final ePortfolio.
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 locate and secure internship (you should 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 media content creation 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 approved to enroll in the capstone course until you fill out all appropriate paperwork and contracts. For instance, an internship requires a specific description of the internship as a communication or media internship and signed by a site supervisor. If you are doing a professional project, research project, or content creation project, you also need a full description of your experience and signatures from agency personnel or faculty research mentor.
You will not be able to enroll in the 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 without approval. After approval, you will be able to enroll in the appropriate class. There will be expectations of classwork beyond the work of the capstone project.
For any questions related to the capstone, contact Capstone Director Dr. Jason Munsell.
Location: H&SS B11