Capstone Course

The capstone experience provides GSD majors with the opportunity to bring together their advanced language skills, ability to analyze, and the knowledge and understanding acquired through coursework.

GSD majors have two options for fulfilling this requirement.  They either complete a GER or SCAN 5xxx-level course (excluding GER 5011) or take the major project seminar (GSD 3451W or GSD 3461V). Students with a German emphasis must take a 5xxx GER course; those with a Scandinavian & Finnish major must take a 5xxx SCAN course. All GSD majors are expected to take one of these options.

5xxx-level Course Option 

Students who elect to complete a 5xxx-level seminar (excluding Ger 5011) as their capstone course enroll in a course taught by an experienced faculty member. High achievement and active participation are expected of all class members. Because many of these seminars have prerequisites or require substantial linguistic preparation, students must consult with the director of undergraduate studies in advance about appropriate course options.

The requirements for these courses vary, but in most cases the seminar will include a significant research project. It is expected that students in these seminars will complete substantial academic work that shows evidence of original thinking, engagement with area-specific methodologies and theories, skill in using secondary sources appropriately, and the ability to analyze and organize arguments effectively.

Major Project Seminar Option

Students who elect the major project option will enroll in the major project seminar (GSD 3451W or GSD 3461V) and pursue individual research under the guidance of a faculty member. The result of this research is a substantial paper, normally about 20 typed pages, double-spaced, usually written in English, following standard scholarly format.

Each student develops his or her own topic for the major project that reflects the particular major emphasis. Because of the broad range of possible topics, the student and the seminar instructor will choose a second faculty reader whose specialization is appropriate for the project area.

Projects should show evidence of original thinking, skill in using secondary sources appropriately, and the ability to analyze and organize arguments effectively. The major project seminar, which is a writing intensive course, is normally offered only once a year, usually in fall semester.