Literature Capstone

Literature Capstone

Description of the BA Literature Capstone

Students who pursue the BA Literature capstone will:

  • Register for the capstone section of the 3 credit, 4000-level literature class that most nearly matches the topic of the capstone research project they intend to conduct. This will formalize their mentor relationship with a faculty member who specializes in the field of the student's capstone project. It will also provide depth of content area instruction for the topic of the capstone project, with widest possible choice of capstone topic for the student.
  • Meet during the semester with their faculty mentor, either individually or with the other students (up to three total) also working with that mentor.
  • Be directed to an online capstone handbook, which will outline common expectations for the Literature Capstone in English and answer FAQ. Other online learning tools that might develop over time include the following: a database of samples projects faculty might assign during the writing and research process; an online learning module via AsULearn that would support the various aspects of the capstone experience.
  • Attend a Literature Capstone Workshop run by the Director of Undergraduate Studies in English. The workshop will review department expectations about the capstone projects (for all concentrations) especially the mandatory oral presentation on Capstone Day. It will also provide students an opportunity to set up peer writing groups, especially for those who do not share a faculty mentor with other students who might be in a peer group with them.
  • Complete the Literature Capstone Project, Reflective Statement, and Public Presentation. Completing the extensive capstone independent research project, meeting regularly with faculty mentors, attending the literature seminar and capstone workshops, and working with the capstone handbook and other supportive learning tool function together to provide an integrated learning experience that combines classroom instruction, interaction with capstone peers, and a mentor relationship. The committee thinks this model brings together the best features of all the models studied and is an appropriate capstone for the English BA majors who do not have a concentration.


  • Students will produce original, substantial written projects on a literary topic that incorporates library research and peer-reviewed scholarship in the field, documented in MLA format. Suggested length: 20 pages.
  • Students will produce the project via process writing. Possible suggested activities include: a 2-3 page prospectus; an annotated bibliography; a review of the literature; at least one draft prior to final draft; faculty mentor feedback at regular intervals; low and high stakes writing; peer review.
  • Students will orally present their research during an English Department Research Day.
  • Students will submit written reflections on the General Education experience with their final project.
  • The final project and the written reflection will be used to assess each capstone experience.

On the one hand, each capstone course in literature will have a unique statement of "Goals and Expected Outcomes" because each capstone course focuses on a unique topic. On the other hand, all capstone courses in literature will also have a second set of shared goals and outcomes:

Goals and Expected Outcomes for the Senior Capstone Experience in Literature

By taking this class and completing its requirements you will participate in a Capstone Experience for the B.A. in English It represents the culmination of your study in the major and also a culmination of your General Education Experience.

By the end of the semester you will have met the four education goals and related learning outcomes of the English Department's Senior Capstone Experience in Literature. These are:

1. Thinking Critically and Creatively

  • Recognize, differentiate and effectively employ appropriate and increasingly sophisticated strategies to collect and interpret information.
  • Successfully integrate disparate concepts and information when interpreting, solving problems, evaluating creating, and making decisions.
  • Examine and evaluate how their own personal, historical and cultural perspectives affect the discovery and generation of knowledge.
  • Apply theories from a variety of discipline and advance convincing reasons to connect as well as differentiate theories from different domains of knowledge.
  • You will achieve these learning outcomes as you work toward your capstone research project, which will be on a literary topic of your choice, and developed in consultation with your instructor. You will consult a variety of primary and peer-reviewed secondary sources and will use information and theories whose foundations will likely be in a variety of disciplines. In the course of completing your capstone project, you will formulate sound research questions about your literary topic, develop an argumentative thesis that addresses those questions, and produce an argument that supports that thesis.

2. Communicating Effectively

  • Articulate and comprehend effectively, using verbal or non-verbal communication suitable to topic, purpose, and audience.
  • Make rhetorical decisions appropriate to topic, purpose and audience while correctly using the conventions of standard written English.
  • Read actively and analytically at the college level and synthesize and apply information and ideas from the reading across disciplines.
  • Select and use hardware, software applications, databases, and other technologies effectively for both inquiry and communication.
  • You will achieve these learning outcomes by producing a well-written capstone research paper. In addition to paper sources, you will use databases and various online tools and archives to conduct your research and to find appropriate primary and secondary sources relevant to your research project.

3. Making Local to Global Connections

  • Analyze past and present relationships between humans and the natural and physical environment.
  • Demonstrate the ability to think critically and creatively about the relationship between local regions and global issues, processes, trends and systems.
  • Demonstrate knowledge of contemporary issues related to cultural diversity in the United States and other areas of the world.
  • You will achieve these learning outcomes, as appropriate to the topic you have chosen, as you complete your capstone research project.

4. Understanding Responsibilities of Community Membership

  • Identify potential consequences that personal choices as well as political, economic and other social forces may have on individual, societal and environmental health.
  • Apply moral reasoning skills to an array of ethical issues confronted by individuals, groups and communities.
  • Collaborate effectively with others in shared processes of inquiry and problem solving.

You will achieve the first two learning outcomes, as appropriate to the topic you have chosen, as you complete your capstone research project. The final learning outcome will be demonstrated through your class discussions and peer review exercises. You will also use discipline-appropriate citation (MLA) of all quotes and sources, thus demonstrating your ethical participation in a community of scholars.