Office ofAlumni and Constituent Relations


Capstone at PLU

The General Education Council has interest in understanding the capstone experience at PLU: How do different disciplines approach a capstone experience? What are common aspects of the capstone experience at PLU? What can we learn from each other across disciplines?

In fall 2010, the council asked Deans and Department Chairs across the university to submit syllabi, rubrics, and other background information around the capstone experiences. Council members reviewed the documents, and provide the following synthesis of their understanding of the capstone experience at PLU.

Definitions/Principles of Capstones

At PLU, a capstone experience is generally defined as part of the General Education curriculum as well as the academic major:

Producing and Presenting Culminating Scholarship: Senior Seminar/Project

A substantial project, paper, practicum, or internship that culminates and advances the program of an academic major. The end product must be presented to an open audience and critically evaluated by faculty in the student’s field. These credits count in the major.

These experiences are generally grounded in theories and principles of a particular discipline representative of the higher level of writing skills expected as a professional reflective of higher level thinking and integrative learning demonstrating significant program level learning outcomes preparing students for post-degree roles and expectations engaging students in the intentional reflection on and use of their prior learning providing evidence of learning for both improvement and accountability

Models for Capstones

  • Capstones that pull together learning in the major
  • Capstones that satisfy a discipline-specific or professional standard
  • Capstones that are inter- or multi-disciplinary in nature

Common Options for Capstone Experiences

  • Thesis or research paper
  • Design or demonstration projects
  • Experiment or scientific study
  • Portfolio development
  • Case studies or selected readings related to the discipline
  • Internship or field based practicum experiences

Keys to a Successful Capstone Experience

The systematic review of student capstone work by faculty and presentation of the data as an element of program review.