Honors Capstone Approval Form

To qualify for graduation from the Davidson Honors college with the “University Scholar” distinction, DHC students must fulfill a set of academic requirements, one of which is the Honors Capstone Project. Students should begin thinking about and planning for their project during their junior year. Projects can be connected with Capstone requirements in the student’s major(s), minor(s), certificate program, or can be completed independent of other requirements. Plan to discuss possibilities with a faculty member or members in the area you are interested in, as well as with the Director of Student Engagement in the DHC. These projects may take a wide variety of forms and culminate in a thesis, a performance or exhibit, an independent scientific experiment, etc., depending on the student’s major(s), minor, or area of interest. 

Projects are intended to provide DHC students with a substantial capstone experience that encourages them to work in collaboration with a mentor over an extended period of time. These projects should challenge students to draw on knowledge and life experiences that they have attained throughout the course of their education, and apply them to an in-depth investigation of the chosen topic.

Regardless of the discipline(s), topic(s), or nature of the project, all Honors Capstone Projects must include the following elements:

1- Each project must involve significant original research or creative scholarship. This means that you should come up with an original idea, create a plan for your idea that includes background, why you are interested, and how you plan to see the idea through to completion.

2- Each student must have a mentor with expertise in the project area, who will help guide you through the process and be responsible for evaluation and assessment of the project. You should choose a mentor who you feel would add to the quality of your experience. The mentor can be a faculty member or community member (with approval) who can help support you throughout the process.

3- Each project must have a final artifact most appropriate for the project’s academic alignment. For example, a project in computer science might result in a computer program; A creative writing project could generate a novel; Work in the field on tree swallows could result in a scientific paper in a format associated with a biology journal; A community health project might produce information for a local website; Someone in music might compose a symphony. These artifacts will be evaluated by the mentor based upon their content area knowledge. 

4- Each project must conclude with a public presentation highlighting the results of the project. Several venues are available for these presentations: at symposia or conferences on campus and off, as well as in forums organized for this purpose by the DHC, course presentations, community events, web-based exposure, etc. Talk with your mentor and the Director of Student Engagement about your ideas and options.

5- All students who complete the Honors Capstone Project are required to submit an electronic copy of their project artifact to the Mansfield Library through ScholarWorks. You can upload many different file types to ScholarWorks to ensure that your project is appropriately represented. 

Getting Started

Ideally, you will begin thinking about your capstone during the junior year. Many major and minor areas offer research methods courses that will help you prepare for research. The DHC also offers a Research Portfolio course that is useful for organizing your thoughts and ideas and prepare to collect and analyze data for your project. Projects can vary in the time they take to complete and are dependent on many variables, some last a semester, some up to two-three semesters. Some projects where human subjects or biosafety hazards are included will need to be approved by the Institutional Review Board (IRB), this process can take some time so be sure to budget that into your project planning.

If you plan to collect data during the summer, you will want to finalize your senior project paperwork before May 1. This will mean identifying your mentor, deciding upon your project, meeting with your DHC advisor to submit the completed project paperwork, and securing IRB approval if needed before heading off to collect data. 

If you plan to complete your project through a course you are taking, you will most likely need to work out the project details in the first few weeks of class. In which case, please submit the completed project paperwork by the end of the third week of class. If you know your professor/mentor you may be able to complete the paperwork in the semester before you take the class, this will expedite the process. Remember, IRB approval can take up to six weeks.

There is also an option to use an Honors course to connect research credit to your project if there is no corresponding class in your area of interest. You can register for HONR 499 for variable credit. Your mentor will be the instructor of record for the course and email the DHC with your final grade for this section. When we receive the grade we will submit it through Cyberbear

You may also be working with a team either through your GLI capstone or for your major. In which case, you might not know the topic of your project until a few weeks into the term. When working with a team, it is important to ensure that you have an integral part in the process. This will be transmitted through your individual reflection, as well as your participation in the public presentation. 

Proposal Guidelines

Please submit a 1-2-page description of your project. Consider the following areas of detail when preparing to submit your Honors Capstone Project paperwork to the DHC:

1- What is the topic?

2- Why are you interested?

3- What are the outcomes of your project? (This can also be tied to the outcomes of a specific course such as the GLI Capstone, HHP Capstone, and others. Your faculty mentor will be able to help you articulate the project outcomes)

4- How do you plan to complete the project? (This might refer to how you plan to collect data, or construct your creative project)

5- Why is this important to your area of study? (“So What?” analysis)

6- What is your plan for working with your mentor and time management?

7- What will your artifact consist of to be submitted to ScholarWorks?

8- Where will you present your work?

Working as part of a team 

Teamwork includes important skills that are valued in academic and professional areas, and the DHC wants to support this work through our students’ capstone projects. If your area of study uses a team component for the capstone we can support you in your Honors Project in the following ways:

1- Specified Course

2- Mentor

3- DHC Senior Capstone Form with proposal 

4- Final reflection – Your reflection should include information about how the teamwork skills were included in the capstone project and how they connected with your other courses and experiences in the DHC and at UM (please see the reflection guidelines and rubric)

5- Must be an integral part of the presentation

6- Submit an artifact to ScholarWorks

Registering for credit

The work that goes into an Honors Capstone Project is substantial, having a credit bearing course to represent that work on your transcript is important. If you have a Capstone course that you are using in your major you can enter it on the Honors Capstone Project form. If you need a course to connect your project with you can use HONR 499 variable research course, the important thing to connect the project to a course. ***It is important to register for HONR 499 before the end of the third week of the semester***

We use Submittable to accept and review our submissions.