harleigh bass smiling and working on her honors capstone project

The Honors Capstone is your opportunity to do significant research, design, or creative activity in one of the academic disciplines here at UAH. (All examples below are actual student Capstones!)

 

Honors Capstone HandbookCapstone PowerpointPast Honors Capstones

What is an Honors Capstone? 

The Honors College Capstone is the culmination of your Honors College academic experience. Your Honors classes have stressed student-generated work and scholarly independence. The Capstone project is an extension of this training. The purpose of this project is to build the skills of independent thought and research, to prepare you for graduate or professional studies, and to demonstrate your own excellence. Now you get the chance to join the company of the scholars, designers, experimentalists, or artists with whom you've been working. 

The Capstone can be a thesis – a thoroughly researched essay.

Examples:

  • Lab work investigating the potential for various compounds to kill cancer cells,
  • A mathematical model of traffic flow
  • Historical research into Japanese Internment Camps

The Capstone can also be a project – hands-on work that involves designing, building, testing and/or displaying the results of your work.

Examples:

  • Design, build, and test a vacuum chamber to observe vacuum ignition
  • Design and test a sensor to monitor rotor blade oscillation
  • Design and manufacture costumes for a UAH theater production
  • Write and implement a “to-do list” app for the iPhone

Note: Projects still require a written explanation of the project, but the focus is on the actual work of the project, not the written explanation.

That sounds fun, but intimidating. 

Keep in mind that the Capstone does not have to be separate from other research or creative work that you will already do as part of your time at UAH. And you can complete your Capstone at any time!

Capstones can come from:

  • A final research or creative project already required for your major
  • A class project or paper which you decide to develop further
  • A relationship you develop with an instructor whose work interests you
  • Part of a summer research project, a co-op or internship, or a study abroad experience
  • Something you did as part of an academic club

Your capstone doesn’t have to be:

  • Done during your senior year, it can be done earlier
  • Done in one day! A project like this takes time! Students typically complete their Capstone in around 1-2 semesters. 
  • In your major (for example, STEM students sometimes do Capstones in Humanities or Arts)
  • Your own idea; you may help faculty with their research, but it does have to be your work

Steps to Completing the Honors Capstone

1. Read through the Capstone Handbook (linked below) to become familiar with the process. 

2. Decide what direction your Capstone will take: project or thesis? What specific field will your project or thesis cover? Be sure to pick a topic or project that genuinely interests you; this will make the work a pleasure instead of a chore. Do you want to discuss options? Make an appointment with David Cook, Director of Undergraduate Research, by sending an email to dac0010@uah.edu

3. Find a Project Director. This is a person who will oversee your Capstone and is an expert in your chosen field. You may wish to work with a professor with whom you previously took a class, your major advisor, or someone with whom you have been working in a lab, studio, or in clinical practice. Your Project Director will be your instructor of record for the Capstone course. 

4. Decide which course you will use. Many students complete their Capstone through a course that is part of their program of study (i.e. senior project or design). In this case, it is essential to meet with the instructor (project director) prior to the course start and discuss the possibility of using the course as the basis of the capstone. The course must of a 300 or 400 level class of at least 3 credits. If you have an idea of a Capstone that isn't a part of any particular course, you can enroll in HON 499. 

5. Complete the Honors Capstone Proposal Form. Please initiate this form as soon as you know the details, so that required approvals can be obtained. The form should be filed no later than the 10th day of the semester in which the class is taken. 

6. Do the work. Plan to spend at least a semester working on your Honors Capstone. Often, the work may extend past one semester. It must be completed and submitted by the last day of regular classes for the semester in which you will graduate.  

7. Format your Capstone. A style and formatting guide is included in the Honors Capstone Handbook (linked above). Title page formatting can be found here

8. Submit your Capstone. You will submit your Honors Capstone electronically by using the Completed Capstone Submission Portal. Capstones must be submitted by the last day of regular classes for the semester in which you will graduate. 

Mechanical or Aerospace Major?

If you are a Mechanical or Aerospace major and would like to do your Capstone through Senior Design, please see Senior Design information.

Nursing major?

If you are a Nursing major, see Honors Nursing.

Questions about the Capstone or Research?

To find out more about the Honors Capstone and how you can get involved in undergraduate research, make an appointment with David Cook, Director of Undergraduate Research, by sending an email to dac0010@uah.edu.