Capstone

The AU Honors Program prides itself on developing integrative, interdisciplinary, problem-based learners, through its rigorous and diverse curriculum. The Capstone is the culminating course of this challenging 4-year sequence. Students may use the capstone to bridge work in two majors or between a major and a minor. The Capstone may be used to explore a field of interest other than a major.

There are two ways to fulfill the Honors Capstone requirement. The most popular way is by completing an Honors-approved Capstone in your major. The second option is by taking HNRS-498, which is an independent study research project of your choice. Scroll down to learn which is the best option for you.

All Capstones, regardless of how they are completed, must meet the guidelines listed below. Submit your Capstone to honors@american.edu by the last day of the final exam period.

Honors Capstone Guidelines

  1. Demonstrate sufficient knowledge of a field or discipline 
  2. Represent a semester of deep study and analysis, or equivalent 
  3. Result in an essay, document, performance, artwork, or some other artifact
  4. Be taken for a letter grade (A-F) and passed with a grade of B or better 
  5. Be a minimum of 3 credits 
  6. Can be done over the summer if needed, upon approval.

If the capstone is a group project then the following additional steps should be added: 

  1. Group Project Plan: At the start of the semester (due 4 weeks into the semester) provide a project outline of how each individual will contribute to the group project and what the role, responsibility and contribution of the Honors student will be to the overall project. The form is provided by Honors and signed by the supervising faculty and submitted to Honors. 
  2. Reflective Analysis: At the end of the semester (due last day of the semester), provide a reflective analysis of the group project. This is signed by the supervising faculty and submitted to Honors.

Major-Based Capstone

There are four steps to getting a major-based Capstone approved:

1. Student submits Capstone Planning Form.

2. Honors contacts faculty member to confirm that the Capstone course meets the Honors guidelines.

3. Faculty confirms that the course meets Honors guidelines. 

4. Honors notifies student of approval.

If your plans change, you can submit a new Capstone Planning Form at any time. Honors will contact the most recent faculty member you submit.

Capstones are ideally independent research projects. However, Honors understands that it makes more sense for certain majors to complete group assignments.

If your Capstone class is designed to be completed as a group, Honors requires you to complete a Group Capstone Project Plan at the start of the semester and a brief Reflective Analysis at the end of the semester. This analysis will help demonstrate your role within the group and what you learned from participating in the Capstone. Read more about the additional group Capstone requirements above.

Honors Capstone

Honors 498 is an independent study. This course can be used to create a research project that spans multiple majors or minors. This is an opportunity to create a unique final project of your choice to culminate your AU career.

You are responsible for designing your research project or creative work, and identifying the faculty member who will guide and assess you throughout the semester. Make sure you consult with your faculty member and your academic advisor before registering.

HNRS-498 follows the same registration process as a typical independent study. The form you need for registration can be found on Registrar's website.