In many academic institutions, students in their final year are asked to complete a capstone project. This is a multifaceted assignment that seeks to incorporate the totality of one’s education experience and produce a final project. Capstone projects differ from a simple thesis, although they contain many of the same research and investigative techniques, designed to allow the student to synthesize information and create an original contribution.
Capstone projects are frequently employed in arts programs, and may include such items as a short film, art exhibition, portfolio, or multimedia presentation designed to showcase the student’s academic and intellectual progress. Capstone projects are frequently interdisciplinary, in that students are asked to apply the skills that they have learned across subject areas, creating a multifaceted work.
Capstone projects serve several academic and educational goals. First, they are supposed to increase the rigor of the senior (or final) year of an academic program. Second, they increase a student’s motivation and his or her engagement with the learning process by immersing the student in a large, intellectually demanding project of their own choosing. Third, such projects demonstrate the proficiency of the student, by showcasing what he or she has learned. Finally, capstone projects force student to become self-directed and confident in their academic abilities.