American Studies Capstone Experience

* The Capstone Experience is no longer a requirement for those entering the program in Fall of 2014 and after. This page is here to assist any students currently working on a project.

MAAS Capstone Experiences illustrate the cumulative research and analytical and/or applied skills that a student has learned in the MAAS program. Through Capstone Experiences, students demonstrate their mastery of a specific topic, their interpretive abilities, and the ways that their project contributes to the field of American Studies or applies American Studies principles, theories, and ideas to the larger world beyond the classroom and scholarly communities.

Students should work with their faculty advisor and the American Studies Director from the beginning of their enrollment in graduate school to tailor their Capstone Experiences to reflect their individual interests and career goals. They may select among a wide range of options to fulfill this requirement, including participating in a study tour, doing an internship, writing a thesis, or undertaking a capstone project. Requirements include 3 to 6 capstone credits (1 to 2 course equivalents). Certificate Students are not required to fulfill a Capstone Experience.

Because the MAAS Capstone Experience is a summative project, enrollees must be American Studies graduate students who have completed at least 15 credits as well as AMST Core Courses:

AMST 5000: Proseminar in American Studies
AMST 5001: Research Methods in American Studies

American Studies Capstone Experiences include:
AMST 5021 Capstone Study Tour
AMST 5860 Independent Study Capstone Project
AMST 5890 Thesis (6 credits; 2 semesters)
AMST 5910 Internship Capstone Project
For course descriptions, please see the online Course Catalog.

To register for a Capstone Experience, students must file a Special Project Request Form (available in ARHU, K-150 and the Registrar’s Office) the semester BEFORE they wish to do their Capstone. The student must complete and sign the form, and the Capstone Advisor (a member of the American Studies faculty) and Program Director must review and approve proposals to make sure that they fulfill the requirements of the Master’s program. Capstone Projects incorporating fieldwork, including research/interviews with human subjects, require IRB approval and additional paperwork available through ARHU.

Capstone students are expected to write a 5-6 page critical essay that explains how their Capstone experience – and the MAAS degree more broadly – contributes to their personal and professional goals.

Final results of the Capstone Experience will be presented to the American Studies faculty, students, and community members at the Graduate Student Research Symposium (to be conducted twice a year). Students are also encouraged to present the results of their Capstone Experiences at professional conferences and Stockton’s Day of Scholarship.

Each spring, the American Studies Award for Outstanding Capstone Experiences will be given to a MAAS student who produces a capstone project that stands out as unusually persuasive and well-developed, that successfully investigates a topic in a novel way, or significantly impacts the larger community. Recipients of the award are nominated by the student’s capstone advisor and chosen by an Awards Committee including three American Studies faculty members (excluding the student’s capstone advisor).