Your capstone project shows off the best of what students learn and the J-School teaches. To qualify for graduation, each student must successfully complete a capstone – a piece of professional-quality journalism suitable for today’s multimedia, interactive market.
Your capstone will be produced as an assignment for a specific class in the third semester. The professor who grades the work will serve as the capstone adviser, but a selection of capstone projects also will be evaluated by a panel of J-School professors and outside professionals as a part of the school’s assessment process.
Your capstone is also the prerequisite to your graduation from the school – all students are required to complete a capstone project before they graduate.
- This resource page will provide you key information about milestones, FAQs and archiving your project, in order to guide you through the challenging and important process of completing your capstone.
Meanwhile, you can find inspiration in our Capstone Archive. (Note: You have open access to this private archive while logging in from campus; off-campus access requires your library bar code, similar to access for other school-provided databases). For more detailed instructions on accessing the repository, view this PDF.
Expectations of students
- Begin thinking about capstone topics in the second semester and consult with potential grading professors throughout the semester.
- Fill out capstone declaration form by the end of the Spring semester.
- Submit an electronic capstone approval form by the start of the fall semester.
- Adhere to deadlines given by capstone grading professor for story drafts.
- Include at least one multimedia element as a part of of capstone project and meet with a J-School coach to fulfill this requirement.
- Meet with capstone grading professor periodically to inform of progress and and any problems.
- Complete your capstone before graduation. You must fill out a capstone form with the Research center and properly archive your capstone in order to receive your grade.
Student will have a conversation with capstone grading professor and submit capstone declaration form by the end of the spring semester.
Twice during the summer, on July 7th and August 4th, student will be required to fill out a form that provides a summary of steps taken to report on his/her capstone.
Student will fill out capstone approval form by September 7th, capstone grading professor must confirm approval of student’s capstone project.
By Sept 25th students should submit a detailed outline of their project including;
- Story angle
- Interviews and/or sources
- Multimedia elements
- Student must confirm which J-school multimedia coach(es) he/she has consulted.
- Student must confirm he/she has completed a technical consultation with the IT and/or Broadcast staff to review technical requirements for student’s capstone.
By Oct 23rd students should submit a first draft, to both the grading professor and the coach.
By Nov 20th students should submit a revised draft, to both the grading professor and the coach.
Final draft due date of student’s capstone will be set at the discretion of the capstone grading professor; it should be before the student walks in graduation, and should be submitted to both the capstone grading professor and the coach.
The students must then fill out a capstone submission form and must archive the capstone with the Research Center. Capstone grading professors cannot file a capstone grade or a class grade unless the completed project has been archived with the Research Center.
What is a capstone?
Students should treat the capstone as the culminating project in their main area of interest, whether that is a subject concentration or a media skill. Any medium – text, video, interactive, audio or photography – can provide the base for a capstone. But each project must showcase the essential reporting and writing proficiencies of a journalist. And each must demonstrate a student’s competence in multimedia and/or interactive skills. An acceptable capstone must make substantial use of more than one medium.
The length of a print or broadcast piece or the size of an interactive project is less important than the project’s depth. A capstone should be ambitious and thorough, a significant piece of journalism.
When do I produce my capstone?
The capstone is usually produced during your final (typically fall) semester as an assignment for a subject concentration class, or as an assignment for an elective course, preferably involving a topic in your subject concentration.
When should I start working on my capstone?
We’ve found that students who begin capstone work during the summer are more likely to complete them by deadline. This is especially important if you are planning to report abroad over the summer break. You should contact your capstone adviser before the end of the spring semester to discuss possible capstone ideas.
Who evaluates my capstone?
The professor who grades the work will serve as the capstone grading professor, but a selection of capstone projects also will be evaluated by a panel of J-School professors and outside professionals as a part of the school’s assessment process. The professor will update the administration on the project’s progress during the mid-semester review, grade it toward the end of the semester, and submit the grade to the Student Affairs Office after the end of the semester.
You must submit the final graded project to be archived by the Research Center in the proper format. No student will be permitted to graduate until the capstone project is submitted.
What happens if I don’t finish or archive my capstone?
The failure to complete and archive your project in time for the grading deadline will prevent your timely graduation. It will also result in the denial of services and access to software generally provided to graduates in good standing.
Who do I contact for help?
For questions about your capstone, contact your capstone grading professor. If you don’t have an grading professor designated yet, you may want to direct questions to your faculty adviser. But you can also direct general questions to firstname.lastname@example.org.
You are required to submit your capstone project to the Research Center for archiving in order to complete your degree requirements. Your professor cannot file your capstone grade until archiving is confirmed by the Research Center.
Your capstone project will be archived in Digital Commons, the J-School’s electronic repository. Your capstone projects will be embargoed for six months after you graduate, and then these projects will be uploaded to our open-access archive, which means that they will be accessible to the public.
NOTE: Your work is already copyrighted. Authors do not have to register a work or attach a copyright notice in order for copyright protection to apply to the work; the protection exists automatically from the time the work is created in a fixed form.