Capstone Project

All students must complete 6 hours of Capstone coursework which may include one of two options as the final requirement for the degree: 1) MLAS 681, Capstone Project; or 2) a non-credit bearing MLAS Portfolio. Oral competency will be demonstrated through a formal presentation at the MLAS Program Forum.

MLAS 681 Capstone Project (6 credit hours- may be taken over two semesters)
Most students enrolled in the Master of Liberal Arts and Sciences program conclude their degree requirements by writing an independent project under the direction of a faculty supervisor. The graduate project is interdisciplinary in scope and reflects an emphasis or interest that the student has discovered in the MLAS program.  The Final Project, which includes but is not limited to a work of written analysis, may involve academic research, applied research or creative work. Often, students choose to amplify a paper or topic from a previous class.  The Capstone Project is a formal process that requires the development and submission of a proposal, structured study with a faculty supervisor, and exit interview with faculty supervisor and the MLAS advisor (who serves as the second reader of the project).  The completed project is retained in the MLAS archive in Ramsey Library.  (Grading S/U/IP). Students who receive an IP grade for MLAS 681 will have two (2) additional semesters in which to complete and defend their projects.

MLAS Non-credit Portfolio Option
Students who select the Portfolio Option must still complete 30 credit hours in the program, taking an additional 6 hours of elective credit. The Portfolio Option will be completed independently within the student’s final semester. There is no class to register for to complete the Portfolio Option. The student’s MLAS advisor serves as the portfolio advisor. The portfolio will be submitted at the end of the semester to the MLAS Program Director and the Graduate Council for review and approval. The following items must be submitted to satisfy the requirements for the Portfolio option:

•   A cover page with the student’s name, date, and title of the project.
•   Three substantive papers from separate courses that represent their best work.
•   A 10-12 page reflective narrative placing the papers in the context of the student’s intellectual journey through the MLAS program.

MLAS Capstone Project Archives
Complete Capstone Projects are available to the public through UNC Asheville’s Ramsey Library Special Collections. Though the projects are not available online, the Special Collections web page allows for browsing completed projects by year of completion, title and author. See the Forms page for Sample Title Page and Sample Signature Page layout requirements.

MLAS 681: Traditional Research Thesis Project Guidelines

The research-based final project, of approximately 60-65 pages of text, is grounded in the scholarly literature and draws from research in at least two disciplines. The work should demonstrate the following:

• Ability to plan and conduct research, to analyze, compare and synthesize scholarly materials
• Skillful academic writing and careful use of the appropriate citation format
• Potential for the work to be published in an appropriate forum
• A well formulated thesis supported by relevant evidence
• Clear conclusions that flow from the thesis and are supported by the evidence
• Oral presentation of the project

MLAS 681: Non-traditional and/or Creative Project Guidelines

The creative project should be based on the student’s artistic and academic background and help them to heighten skills in a form they have previously practiced and studied. In the past, these have included fiction, poetry, creative nonfiction, film, video, photography, and sculpture. Written creative projects should be approximately 60-65 pages in length for prose and approximately 30 pages for poetry. In addition, the student submits a 5-page artist’s statement that addresses the development of the project, personal aesthetics, approaches used, and artistic influences. The work should demonstrate the following:

  • Familiarity with and understanding of the genre’s or medium’s conventions, traditions, and contemporary practitioners
  • Theoretical approaches and craft techniques well-suited to the content
  • High aesthetic standards
  • Potential for the work to be published or exhibited in an appropriate forum
  • Clear relationship between the work and the artist’s statement
  • Oral presentation of the project

MLAS Portfolio Option Guidelines

The portfolio will be completed independently within the student’s final semester. There is no class to register for to complete the Portfolio Option, instead students take an additional 6 credit hours of electives to earn the 30 credit hours required for the degree. The student’s MLAS advisor serves as the portfolio advisor. The portfolio will be submitted at the end of the semester to the MLAS Program Director and the Graduate Council for review and approval. The following items must be submitted to satisfy the requirements for the Portfolio Option:

  • A cover page with the student’s name, date, and title of the project.
  • At least three substantive papers from separate courses that represent their best work.
  • A 10-12 page reflective narrative placing the papers in the context of the student’s intellectual journey through the MLAS program.

Capstone Project Examples

2016

On April 29, 2016, candidates for the Master of Liberal Arts degree presented their Capstone Projects in Whitesides Hall Forum. Each Capstone Project is the culmination of the student’s experience in the MLAS Program through a research or creative project. Thank you to all who attended.

Jason Decristofaro, “A Song Cycle on Mortality:  Reimagining Four Sonnets of Sor Juana Inés de la Cruz as Four Songs on Life and Death”
Capstone advisor: William Barres

Nina Flagler Hall, “Fresh Foods and Fresh Produces and Things: Tracing the Disappearance of Food in Asheville’s East End Neighborhood”
Capstone advisor: Erica Abrams Locklear