University of Maryland Individual Studies Program

IVSP 420: Senior Paper/Project

The Individual Studies Senior Thesis/Capstone Project is a significant research project synthesizing the interdisciplinary course of study of an IVSP program. All IVSP majors register to take IVSP 420 in their final semester before graduation. Students earn three credits for their senior project.

The Senior Thesis/Capstone Project should be seen as the culmination of the your undergraduate IVSP program. The choice of subject is flexible and entirely up to you and your Faculty Mentor. Most IVSP 420 final projects are, in fact, papers- significant written works of research and/or analysis. Other modes (such as performances, exhibitions, or community service projects) are possible.  However when you choose a project, you will still write a significant reflection or analysis of your experience.

Step 1: The Proposal

Although you register to take IVSP 420 during their final semester, the task of developing the proposal should begin much earlier. After consulting with your Faculty Mentor, you must draft a written proposal describing the senior thesis or capstone project and submit a signed copy to the IVSP Office. The Proposal Assessment Rubric should be consulted when writing the proposal.  A signed copy of this proposal must be submitted to the IVSP office before students can be cleared to register for the course. Guidelines for what the proposal should include are under forms.

Due: Signed copy of your proposal by the end of your second to last semester to the IVSP Office

Step 2: Write your Capstone

Capstone theses are usually AT LEAST 30 pages, although there are some that have ranged from 80+ pages. You will need to complete the paper/project within enough time for your Faculty Mentor and additional readers to read through it and submit their comments and grades.  Usually this means that for fall semesters is around December 1 and for spring is usually around May 1.

Step 3: Assessment of your Capstone

Your final paper or product will be reviewed by your Faculty Mentor and two additional readers, who are selected by you and your mentor and should have expertise in the area of study.  Your Faculty Mentor has sole responsibility for grading your capstone. Once you have The outside readers will send their comments to the Faculty Mentor, who then forwards them along with her or his own evaluation to both the student and Dr. Burton, Director of Individual Studies Program ( Occasionally, the Faculty Mentor requests that the student formally present the work to the three readers in a forum for discussion. The requirements for this project are largely at the Faculty Mentor's discretion.  See the "End of Semester To-Do List" for more information.

Due: Signed copy of your Evaluation Form by your Mentor and readers to the IVSP Office.
         A copy of your final project (what you gave to your readers/mentor) to the IVSP Office


IVSP 420 Proposal Guidelines

IVSP 420 Proposal Assessment Rubric

End of Semester To-Do List

IVSP 420 Faculty Readers Form

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Individual Studies Program  Campus Location: 2407 Marie Mount Hall
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IVSP is a degree granting academic program of the Office of Undergraduate Studies
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