Capstone Research

All ESS Minors are required to complete a Capstone experience that involves in-depth, high quality educational research through one of the following options.

OPTION 1: Capstone Research Seminar (ESS 43640)

This option will give you research experience in the context of a one-semester seminar course. Here you will learn research models and methods, discuss the social contexts of education, conduct an independent research project and write a final paper.

This seminar is only offered in the fall; however, you may have the option of continuing your research project during the spring of your senior year through a specific section of ESS 47602 Research Lab for additional credit. Note that if you conduct your research at an off-campus site you will need to provide your own transportation to/from the site. Every effort will be made to arrange carpools or sites that are within walking distance of campus.

OPTION 2: Thesis in ESS (ESS 47602/48100)

This option is essentially a two-semester independent study. If you've completed at least 2 credits of ESS 47602 Research Lab through a research apprenticeship, you may conduct a capstone thesis in ESS alongside your supervising IEI faculty member. The Thesis in ESS may be an extension of previously conducted research or a new, independent project building on the research techniques and/or content of your work in the apprenticeship.

ESS requires that students choose their Thesis in ESS topics in consultation with their supervising faculty members and submit the ESSThesisProposalContract.pdf by April 15 of their junior year.  Students who choose this option may count up to 3 credits of ESS 47602 Research Lab and 3 credits of Senior Thesis toward the 15-credit ESS minor.

OPTION 3: Thesis in Major Department

If you are required to write an honors or senior thesis and you incorporate the study of an educational issue into that thesis, then ESS can count this work as fulfilling the program's capstone research requirement. (Department permission is required.) ESS cannot double-count the credit hours, however, so students who choose this option must take an additional 3-credit course in ESS. This is a great opportunity to integrate your interests and research in your major department with your ESS background. It is ideal for students spending one year abroad during their junior year, as it can be integrated with the study abroad experience.

Like Option 2, ESS requires that students choose their Thesis in Major topics in consultation with their supervising faculty members and submit the ESS Thesis Proposal Contract.pdf by April 15 of their junior year. If your primary thesis advisor is not an IEI/ESS faculty member, ask one of those “core” professors to serve as a second reader/advisor. See ESS Research Professors Brochure201617.pdf  and  ESS How to Find an Advisor




Students will be asked to tentatively “declare” which option they choose in February of their junior year. 

Students who choose Options 2 or 3 must submit a completed ESS Thesis Proposal Contract.pdf by April 15 of their junior year.


ESS How To Find An Advisor.pdf

ESS Research Professors Brochure201617.pdf

ESS Capstone FAQs.pdf

ESS Thesis Proposal Contract.pdf