Capstone (BA)

The capstone (formerly "Major Project") in psychology (as a registered course) is designed to be the culmination of the experience of your work in the psychology major.

Through your capstone course, you will:

  • Synthesize the knowledge you have gained about the discipline over your time as a psychology major
  • Network with psychology alumni for advice and professional connections and hear them speak about their varied professional career paths
  • Write a 15–20 page APA-style paper on a psychology topic

To learn more about the course expectations, please review the Capstone Syllabus

How to Register

  1. Read about the three capstone options, listed lower on this page. You must choose from these when you register for the capstone project (PSY 3901W, 3902W, or 3903W).
  2. Check your APAS to ensure you have completed the prerequisites for the capstone*:
    • PSY foundation courses (PSY 1001, 3801, and 3001W)
    • All 5 of the PSY distribution areas (A, B, and C)
    • Senior status (90+ cumulative credits)
  3. Register for the capstone class (PSY 3901W, 3902W, or 3903W) as soon as your registration queue opens.
  4. Address any class-specific next steps, if any, before the first day of class.

*Note: Psychology Undergraduate Advising closely monitors capstone enrollment to ensure that all students have fulfilled the necessary prerequisites. You may be dropped from the course if the prerequisites are not met. If you have questions about your preparation for the capstone course, please email

Capstone Options

Psychology BA majors may select between three experiences, including a research laboratory capstone (PSY 3901W), individual interest capstone (PSY 3902W), and community engagement capstone (PSY 3903W). The course you choose will determine the specific requirements and expectations associated with your capstone experience.

Watch the video at the top of the page to and read the descriptions below to learn more about the Psychology Capstone Course and which track is most suitable for you: 

Capstone in Psychology - Research Laboratory: PSY 3901W

The research lab project allows you to take full advantage of the abundance of psychological research happening right here in the Department of Psychology. In this option, you will draw from your experience in a faculty research lab (PSY 4/5993) to help develop the topic of your capstone paper for the PSY 3901W class. This option requires you to secure a laboratory research experience in a faculty member's lab for PSY 4/5993 credits (3 credits minimum) either the semester prior to or concurrently with your PSY 3901W enrollment. Because research lab positions are not guaranteed, we recommend BA students only select this option if they already have a PSY 4/5993 position secured. 

Before class begins: Arrange to assist in the lab of a faculty member through PSY 4/5993.

Capstone in Psychology - Individual Interests: PSY 3902W

The individual interest project involves developing a project that relates to your personal or occupational interests; it includes extra reading or contact with people working in your area of interest. The most common way to satisfy this requirement is to read a book written by a psychologist for a general audience or to interview at least three professionals working in your area of interest. Other ideas may be discussed with the course instructor.

Before class begins: You do not need to take any action prior to the start of the individual interest capstone.

Capstone in Psychology - Community Engagement: PSY 3903W

Interested in connecting your studies of psychology to important issues in your local community? The Center for Community-Engaged Learning provides you with the opportunity to work onsite at a nearby community organization for approximately four hours each week throughout the semester. You will then draw from this community experience to help identify the topic of your capstone paper for the PSY 3903W class.

Before class begins: You do not need to take any action to find a community placement site until you receive an email from the Center for Community-Engaged Learning staff but you are welcome to get started early. You will receive the email either right before the term begins or within the first week of class. It will contain detailed instructions on how to move forward with the community site placement process, which involves being given access to a database filled with service positions. Otherwise, feel free to reach out to the Center before the semester starts if you would like to get started early.