Capstone Process and Requirements

Capstone A starter pack for your project.

Step 1 Prior to Capstone

Explore early, widely, and often. Students often find inspiration for their capstone projects through coursework, service-learning, and education abroad.

Step 2 Find a supervisor

Your capstone supervisor should be a Texas State faculty member with expertise in your field and someone who, ideally, you’re already acquainted with.

The first step is to come up with a project idea and find the right supervisor. Fortunately, the Honors College has a course that can help you with both areas. It's called HON 4390A, "Capstone Development." Although it's an optional course,* many students find it helpful to work in a small group of other students who are also developing capstone projects. Try and take this course once you've had some experience in Honors classes—about 3-4 semesters before graduation.

On the Undergraduate Research page, you’ll find a directory of faculty who are eager to work with Honors College students. You can also make an appointment with one of our advisors or a capstone director for more suggestions. Your advisors and mentors can help you decide what kind of project is best for you and what faculty members you should speak with.

* - Students with a Minor in Honors Studies are required to take HON 4390A.

More Information on Capstone Advisors

Faculty with the title of Senior Lecturer, Assistant Professor, Associate Professor, and Professor are automatically qualified to serve as capstone supervisors.  Faculty with other titles such as Research Professor, Lecturer, or Clinical Associate Professor must be approved by their chair or director and by the honors capstone directors.  

Though it’s not a requirement, you may decide to add one or more second readers. There are no specific requirements for second readers and they do not have the same official responsibilities as the supervisor.  A second reader can be anyone you feel deserves official recognition for helping you with your project. 

Step 3 Complete the Capstone Application

Paperwork is part of the process. So it's important to know what forms you need to submit and when they are due.

Once you’ve decided on a project and a supervisor, you’ll complete the application and planning form and meet with one of the capstone directors.  You can complete the capstone application form on your own, but you’ll need to work with your supervisor on the capstone planning form and have them sign it.  The planning form asks you to describe your project, formulate a timeline, and list the general expectations that you and your supervisor have agreed on (e.g., how many pages or chapters will you complete?  How often will you meet with your supervisor?)

If the capstone course will substitute for another requirement in your degree audit, you will also need to complete the Capstone Substitution form. General Studies (BGS) majors should additionally meet with an advisor in the BGS program and may substitute HON 4390B for GNST 4350.

Schedule a Meeting with a Capstone Director

When your application and planning forms are ready, you will email them to Dr. Ron Haas, Director of Research and Writing, and book an appointment with him to discuss your plans. You will then receive special approval to register for HON 4390B or HON 4090.

Information for Human Research

If your project will involve interacting with human subjects—for example, through interviews, surveys, or other laboratory tests—will have to receive special approval through the Institutional Review Board (IRB) or the Institutional Animal Care and Use Committee (IACUC). Speak with your advisor, and make sure to explain your approval plans on the capstone application forms. If you’re not sure if your project requires IRB or other permissions, talk to a faculty member or your advisor and review the information on the IRB and IACUC websites.

Minor in Honors Studies

Step 4 Enroll in HON 4390B or HON 4090

While only Minors in Honors Studies must take HON 4390A, everyone who wants to graduate in the Honors College must take either HON 4390B or HON 4090.

To complete the capstone, you will enroll in the capstone course, HON 4390B.  Most students do this during the fall or spring semester of their senior year, but it’s also possible to take 4390B earlier, depending on your degree plan. Because it represents the culmination of your honors experience and builds on previous coursework and research, HON 4390B is not recommended for first- or second-year students.

Keep in mind that, if a capstone or capstone-like project is required for degree, you may co-enroll in the 0-credit hour Honors capstone course, HON 4090. Make sure to plan ahead, discuss your plans with your degree advisors, and seek prior permission from both Honors and your home department before enrolling in HON 4090.

During your capstone semester

When your capstone semester begins, you will be added to a Canvas site with a detailed syllabus and calendar and receive frequent reminders and updates. Midway through the semester, you will sign up to present your work at the Honors Research Conference (fall) or the Undergraduate Research Conference (spring).

Throughout the semester, we will hold workshops and informational sessions for capstone students on topics such as writing an abstract and formatting your capstone. It is strongly recommended you participate in the workshops and attendance at some of them may be required. Wednesday Night Writes and the Writing Center are also great resources for students in HON 4390B.

Role of the Capstone Supervisor

You will continue to work primarily with your capstone supervisor according to the plan outlined in your planning form, but you will also be asked to submit a title, an abstract, an initial draft, and other materials related to your project in the course of the semester. Submitting an initial draft for review and participating in the capstone forum are requirements for HON 4390B.

The Honors College capstone director will be in contact with your supervisor throughout the semester, but it is your responsibility to communicate with your supervisor regularly and keep them apprised of their responsibilities.

Step 5 Submit your capstone!

Finishing a capstone is more than just clicking submit. Instead, you should plan to make final edits, work with your advisor, and submit the final paperwork.

At the end of your capstone semester

Format your project

Before your capstone is approved for printing and submission it will need to be properly formatted.  Use the templates and instructions below to format your project.  Do not simply copy the formatting from older projects as the requirements may have changed.

Submit your project

At the end of the semester, you will submit your approved capstone project to our digital collections on Vireo. Your supervisor will recommend your final grade, based on how well you met the expectations agreed upon on the outset of the capstone semester. A final grade of an A or B is needed to fulfill Honors College graduation requirements.

Stay in touch!

You will also be asked to submit an Honors College graduate tracking form and to complete an outgoing survey when you submit your final projects to digital collections and you will be given final instructions for receiving your Honors medallion and preparing for the graduation ceremony.