# Capstone Course

All College of Liberal Arts students earning a Bachelor of Arts (BA) degree must complete a capstone (senior project).

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What to expect

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What a capstone is

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What a capstone is

CLA notes that the capstone, or senior project as it’s sometimes called, “will be a defining feature of the major experience and rely in some way on the culmination of knowledge or skill, whether it is in terms of content, methodology, critical thinking, writing skills, performance, etc.”

The math capstone typically results in a 10–15 page research paper on a topic of the student’s choosing.

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Topic

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Topic

Your capstone can focus on anything related to mathematics in a reasonable way, such as:

- An application of mathematics to science, politics, sports, the arts, medicine, entertainment, etc.
- An expository piece, which means that you learn about a mathematical concept and explain it in an appropriate way.
- The history of mathematics.
- Teaching mathematics.
- The role of mathematics in society.

The level of the material should be consistent with the usual level expected in 4000-level math courses.

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Format

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Format

The capstone may incorporate a computer program, or a lesson plan for a class, or a video, or a talk given to a group of students, or possibly even a work of art.

Whatever form the capstone takes must be agreed upon by your capstone mentor fairly early in the capstone development process.

If you decide to do the “writing-intensive” capstone, MATH 4997W, then it must include at least 10 pages of written material that goes through at least one revision.

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Time commitment

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Time commitment

The amount of work expected of the student for this one-credit course would be about 3 hours of work per week, for a total of 45 hours in the semester.

This work includes background reading and information gathering, meeting with the professor, and creating the actual product (written paper, computer program, etc.).

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Deadline and grading

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Deadline and grading

The capstone must be completed by the end of the semester, in time for the capstone mentor to grade it and submit the grade before the end of the semester deadline.

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Student responsibilities

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Student responsibilities

The math capstone is the student’s project and therefore, it is their responsibility to:

- Find a math faculty member who will agree to supervise their capstone. Often, students ask a Math professor who they already know (a former instructor or advisor). Or they may seek a professor whose area of research aligns with their capstone topic. Ideally, finding a capstone mentor should be done in the semester prior to when the student is registering for their next semester’s courses.
- Choose a topic.
- Create and follow a time schedule.
- Seek guidance from your capstone mentor.
- Submit requirements by due dates.
- Submit a final paper to their capstone mentor for grading (by the last day of class).

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Mentor’s role

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Mentor’s role

The capstone mentor is there to:

- Guide the student through their project.
- Provide feedback.
- Help resolve questions or issues that arise.

Before the student can receive permission to register for the course, this Math professor must contact the undergraduate math office via email (ugrad@math.umn.edu) agreeing to be the capstone supervisor (or mentor) for the student.

## Tools and tips

Math Library Assignment Calculator

Stay on track for Capstone completion and find helpful links for Capstone preparation.

Effective U's Capstone Tutorial

Project management tips to keep on task and guide the process.