In "Reinventing Undergraduate Education: A Blueprint for America's Research Universities," the Boyer Commission reported that "too many students report a sense of anticlimax in their senior years" and urged universities to reinvigorate the last year through courses that ‘draw together" the preceding three years and provide enrichment and closure to their educational experience (1998). In line with this recommendation, every program at the University of Alabama at Birmingham has developed or is in the process of developing a senior capstone course or experience.
The capstone provides a summative opportunity for students to draw upon, synthesize, and apply what they have learned to an original project and/or real life application. Depending upon the discipline, the capstone may involve such components as collaborative projects, internships, service learning, fieldwork, independent research, community outreach, and/or thesis writing. In every case, capstone courses include a set of well-defined learning outcomes, significant writing, and integration of discipline-specific competencies in quantitative literacy and in ethics and civic responsibility. Most importantly, the capstone provides an enriching bridge experience for students between their undergraduate education and post-graduation lives.
Capstone rubric guidelines for application