Capstone Project

About this Page

This page includes information about: Capstone expectations, an FAQ, links to the Capstone Student Handbook, sample capstone projects by Honors College graduates, and much more.

View or download the 2020-2021 Capstone Student Handbook in PDF format.

The capstone project helped me return to being the active learner I was prior to stress about grades, exams, and papers.

- Honors College graduate, 2019

Purpose of the Capstone

A “capstone” is the final stone that unifies and protects an underlying structure. All Honors College students complete a Capstone Project—a scholarly experience that incorporates concepts and techniques learned throughout the undergraduate career, through which students can make original scholarly or professional contributions to their field. The Capstone may focus on a research problem, theoretical issue,   new creative work, professional challenge, or novel application (such as design, technological, or social innovation).

Expectations for the Capstone are in line with honors quality departmental theses, senior design projects, and other senior research projects that enable students to carry out rigorous inquiry, writing, and public presentation. The Capstone Project is typically pursued in the final two semesters at UIC, building upon the knowledge and skills acquired throughout the undergraduate years.

Projects like the Capstone enable students to enhance critical abilities: working independently and as a member of a team; superseding obstacles; cultivating confidence and willingness to take risks; and contributing to a larger community of knowledge.

Ideally, Honors College students will start brainstorming early about what they want to experience and accomplish in their undergraduate careers; choose classes and co-curricular activities that support those goals; initiate a Capstone Project that feeds their unique intellectual passions; and, finally, carry what they have learned forward into life beyond college.

What is the Capstone?

Students may choose to develop a Capstone Project related to their major or another field in which they have sufficient coursework, supervision and experience. The Capstone Project involves two semesters of work and is supervised by a faculty member or, in rare instances, another Capstone Supervisor who must be approved by the Faculty Fellow and the Honors College. The Capstone Project earns 3 Honors Units each semester for a total of 6 Units.

Individual Capstones vary, but the final product always includes: (1) a written portion and (2) a public presentation of the results in an academic, professional, or creative forum. The Honors College encourages students to complete a Capstone Project that will simultaneously fulfill departmental or college requirements. Students in programs that require a culminating senior project or in disciplines where a senior thesis is required to graduate with distinction may use such projects to satisfy the Honors College Capstone requirement, though they may need to submit additional materials to meet Honors College expectations. Students should consult departmental academic advisors and the Undergraduate Catalog for additional information about options in their major. Use of these activities to satisfy the Capstone requirement is subject to approval of the Faculty Fellow and Capstone Supervisor.

Capstone Video Guides

Introducing the Honors Capstone Project: General information; a sample timeline and the steps to completing a Capstone; registration and paperwork; and tips about using the Capstone Project to pursue other opportunities like fellowships and graduate school admissions.


Abstract Writing Guide: How to write a clear, concise, and effective conference abstract.


Poster Design and Presentation Guide: How to design a good research poster and present it to your audience.


Capstones in Specific Disciplines/Areas of Study

Discipline-Specific Information

See discipline-specific information for your Capstone.

Useful Resources

Students may explore faculty expertise and find a match for their area of interest by visiting the Undergraduate Research Experience website. Students interested in science projects may also consult UICollaboratory Research Profiles.

Examples of presentation venues include:

Frequently Asked Questions

Dozens of students in a room simultaneously presenting their original research posters at a prior Spring Impact and Research Day.

Spring Impact & Research Day at UIC