Capstones and Projects

The word project comes from Latin and means to throw forth, to thrust something into an empty space or into the future. Nowadays dictionaries define a project as an individual or collaborative undertaking, scheme, or enterprise. Both this spirit of striding into the unknown and the practical emphasis on putting ideas into action are evident in the many projects Wesleyan students pursue. When students are seniors, these projects are called capstones, likening them to the last stone which is fit into an arch to secure all the other pieces.

Whether they are taken for credit or supported by a summer grant, whatever their field or focus, projects and capstones often involve writing—and the Shapiro Center is here to help!

Resources and community

Peer tutors in the Writing Workshop meet with students at all stages of designing, proposing, and actualizing independent work. For senior thesis writers in particular, the Ford Fellow organizes write-ins and other events, and helps build a collaborative community of thesis students across campus. The thesis mentor program pairs seniors with trained peer mentors who can offer writing advice, assist with time management, and act as engaged readers of drafts. And check out Shapiro’s Prizes and Fellowships page for more information about grants for summer projects.

Courses

In addition to capstones in academic departments, Wesleyan offers a number of courses for projects at any stage, on campus and beyond. Offerings change from year to year, so consult the listings in WesMaps for the Center for the Study of Public Life and the Writing Center. The following classes are offered most years:

Calderwood Seminars

Calderwood Seminars in Public Writing challenge students to integrate what they have learned in other courses and to communicate this knowledge to a broad audience.

CSPL200/WRCT200/RL&L250/AFAM250: Integrative Learning Project 1: Reflecting about the Liberal Arts

The Integrative Learning Project is a .50 credit course that allows students to learn to describe in a coherent and engaging narrative the various academic and non-academic activities, projects, and experiences that have been important for them while in college and to practice doing so for a variety of audiences (e.g., employers, graduate schools, etc.). Students have the opportunity to design an online portfolio in WordPress and to test the portfolio with different audiences by employing user experience design (UX) principles and research methodologies.

CSPL239: Startup Incubator: The Art and Science of Launching Your Idea

The Startup Incubator is a one-semester, experiential learning program designed to teach and enable student entrepreneurs to develop sustainable business models from their ideas.

CSPL262: Patricelli Center Fellowship

In this project-based, cohort-style class, students learn strategies for understanding social and environmental projects and design interventions to create impact. Each student selects a topic to work on individually or as part of a team throughout the semester.

CSPL300/WRCT300/RL&L350/AFAM320: Integrative Learning Project 2: Senior Capstone

This course is intended for seniors who wish to document and reflect about their work in a single “capstone” experience. The Integrative Learning Project is a .50 credit course that allows students to learn to describe in a coherent and engaging narrative the various academic and non-academic activities, projects, and experiences that have been important for them while in college and to practice doing so for a variety of audiences (e.g., employers, graduate schools, etc.). Students have the opportunity to design an online portfolio in WordPress and to test the portfolio with different audiences by employing user experience design (UX) principles and research methodologies.

CSPL405 and GSPL406: Ideals into Practice

Through this course sequence, students can earn one quarter credit per year for participating in Ideals into Practice, a program that allows students to make connections between their academic curriculum, off-campus internships, community service, and extracurricular activities. By engaging in deep reflection about the skills they are gaining throughout their time at Wesleyan, students will be able to understand and explain to others how their liberal education prepares them for life after college.

CSPL480/CGST480: Engaged Projects

Engaged Projects (EPs) are rigorous, self-designed endeavors in which a student studies a topic of their choice and completes a final project intended for a non-academic audience. Students are encouraged but not required to select a topic that is connected to another class or their major. Final projects can take the form of blogs, videos, a website, or other media; a work of art, an event, a workshop, a presentation, or panel; a policy proposal or analysis; a white paper or op-ed series; a business plan; and/or any other piece(s) thoughtfully designed for the public.

WRCT450/ENGL450: Senior Seminar in Creative Writing

Structured as a space for workshop and exchange, the goal of this class is to foster a community of ideas for students who may be pursuing a creative writing thesis or other project, as well as those who might be working more independently.