Honors Program Capstone Procedures

Proposals are due in the spring

Application Requirements
To apply for an Honors Capstone project, a student:

  • must be a second semester Junior (as determined by credit hours);
  • must be a member in good standing of the Hampden-Sydney Honors Program;
  • must have satisfied most, if not all, proficiency and distribution requirements in the curriculum;
  • normally must have satisfied a cumulative GPA of 3.3 

The Honors Capstone requires a significant number of hours of independent research, though the precise number may vary. Honors Capstone participants will normally carry the equivalent of a fifteen-hour course load.  All Honors Capstone participants will undertake at least six and at most fifteen hours of independent research during both semesters of their projects. All independent research, under the guidance of the advisory committee, will be under the heading Honors 497: Senior Capstone in the fall semester and Honors 498: Senior Capstone in the spring semester. 

Applying for a Senior Capstone Project during the Junior year:

A. Determine if you want to apply for a Senior Fellowship:

  • What topics interest you? In what field or fields of study? Does the topic of interest cut across disciplinary boundaries?
  • What professors are possible supervisors

B. Determine if you are eligible:

  • Determine if you meet the grade point average requirements (3.3 overall GPA.).
  • Check with your advisor to determine what proficiency and distribution requirements remain unsatisfied.
  • Confer with possible supervising professors in the applicable departments.           

C. Write a proposal:

Write a detailed proposal that describes and justifies your project, provides a preliminary bibliography, and describes your qualifications for the work you wish to undertake. Send the detailed proposal and applicable supporting documents to the Honors Council.

In your proposal be sure to include:

  • a detailed description of the research in which you will engage
  • a description of the research methodology that will govern your project
  • a preliminary bibliography of works that you will consult
  • a description of the anticipated product of these activities
  • a description of the value and significance of your work

D. Ask your supervising professor(s) to write to the Honors Council endorsing your request to be appointed as an Honors Capstone participant.

1.  If your work involves supervision in two or more departments, request a letter of endorsement from a faculty member in each department.

2 . Be sure that in this letter your supervisor gives his/her judgment of your project in terms of:

  • the scholarly significance of the results
  • the potential development of the applicant as a scholar
  • the applicant's preparation for undertaking the project, as well as information about outside funding being sought and/or having been obtained to underwrite the project.

In the endorsement, the supervisor should also:

  • state his or her willingness to assume responsibility for supervising the proposed project
  • suggest a means by which the project's results will be evaluated.

*Please note: it is your responsibility to ensure that supervising professors send the necessary endorsements to the Honors Council.

F. If your application is approved by the Honors Council, these events follow:

You will receive from the Honors Council:

  • a letter that outlines your responsibilities and the project timetable;
  • appoints your supervisory committee.

Each Senior Capstone participant will be supervised by an advisory committee of at least three and possibly four or more members, constituted as follows:

  • the advisor and chair of the committee, an instructor in the student's major who will work closely with the student in the project and who will be responsible for convening regular meetings of the committee
  • (possibly) a second instructor or two in the student's major (and/or one or more instructor in a second major)
  • an instructor from any discipline pertinent to the student's work
  • a member of the Honors Council

The advisory committee will be responsible for guiding and ultimately approving the student's work. The committee will meet as a group with the student once each month during the academic year (the Honors Council member of this committee must be present at these meetings at least once per semester). The committee will hold Senior Capstone participant to high standards of research and writing. The committee will evaluate each participant's progress at the end of the first semester; if the work is not deemed of sufficiently high quality, the student will not be permitted to continue the project into the second semester. The committee as a whole will discuss grades to be assigned at the end of both semesters, but the advisor will be responsible for submitting final grades in both semesters.