What is the Capstone Requirement?

The Capstone Requirement is a research experience required of all majors.  The purpose is to make sure all majors have the opportunity for a sustained and in-depth experience of independent, primary research.  To count as a capstone 

How to fulfill the Capstone Research Course Requirement:

(1) By taking 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.)  Any 400-level HSOC or STSC course includes  writing a 20+ page paper of independent research as a course requirement.


(2) By completing an independent study (HSOC 499) after the midpoint of junior year that produces an independent research project of at least 20 pages or an equivalent project, approved by the HSOC Director or Associate Director, in addition to doing the amount of reading required at the 400-level. See the independent study page for additional details.


  • Only a 400-level course or independent study (499) taken in the last three semesters 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 Course Requirement.
  • You cannot double-count the Capstone course within the major.  The Capstone Research Course requirement is a distinct part of the major, separate from other requirements, and cannot fulfill any other requirement for the major.
  • The Capstone project is not a senior thesis - please see the Senior Thesis page to understand the difference between the capstone requirement and a senior honors thesis.  Students who take HSOC 420 in preparation for a senior thesis fulfill the capstone requirement with 420.