What is the Capstone Research Requirement?

The Capstone Requirement provides all majors with the opportunity for independent, primary research.   This requirement can be fulfilled after the middle of the junior year (in one of the last three semesters before graduation).

How to fulfill the Capstone Research Requirement:

(1) Take any 400-level HSOC or STSC course after the midpoint of junior year (no 400-level course taken before the midpoint of junior year can fulfill this requirement.)  All 400-level HSOC or STSC courses include the assignment of writing a 20+ page paper of independent research as a course requirement.  Completing the paper to this standard (not just passing the course) is necessary for satisfying this requirement.


(2) Complete an independent study (STSC 499) that produces an independent research project of at least 20 pages or an equivalent project, approved by Dr. Voshkul or Dr. Greene, in addition to doing the amount of reading required at the 400-level. See the independent study page for additional details.

Capstone Courses


  • Only a 400-level course taken in the last three semesters before graduation fulfills the Capstone requirement.

Students may take as many 400-level HSOC or STSC courses in the department as they wish, but only a 400-level course taken during one of the three last semesters before graduation fulfills the Capstone Research Requirement.

  • You cannot double-count the Capstone course with any other requirement within the major.

The Capstone Research Course is a separate requirement from department courses and submajor courses, and cannot be used to fulfill any other requirement for the major.  In other words,  you cannot double-count your capstone course as a department or submajor elective (if you did, you would not end up with the 14 credits you need to complete the major and graduate). 

  • The Capstone paper – a 20+ page research paper - must be completed to the standard and submitted , and must in of itself meet the minimum standards for credit in the major, in order for the course to fulfill the Capstone requirement.
    • Failure to turn in the Capstone paper = Capstone requirement is NOT fulfilled
    • Capstone paper that does not the assignment specifications in length or style = Capstone requirement is NOT fulfilled
    • Capstone paper with a grade below “C” = Capstone requirement is NOT fulfilled
  • The Capstone paper is not a “senior thesis” (a senior thesis is a different category)

Please follow this link to the Senior Thesis page to understand the difference between the capstone requirement and a senior thesis. Students who wish to write an honors thesis must take STSC 400 in the spring of their junior year before going on to write the thesis for honors in the fall of senior year.  STSC 400 does fulfill the capstone course requirement whether the student goes on to write a thesis or not.