The capstone experience is intended as a summation of all that students have learned during their time at GSLIS, and to help prepare them for graduation and entry into the profession. While students have a choice of capstone projects, each experience is intended to offer students an opportunity to synthesize and apply the skills and theories they have acquired across their program of study through a practical project. While the outcomes and objectives of the capstone will vary somewhat depending on the student's choice of experience, all capstone projects are intended as a culmination of program-level goals and objectives.

The accompanying portfolio, which is required of all students regardless of which capstone experience they choose, allows students to reflect on their experiences throughout the program and articulate how they have made progress toward achieving their educational and professional goals.

Capstone Preparation

The process of identifying a capstone experience begins in LIS 401: Foundations of Library and Information Science, during which students will consider their career and professional goals, and outline their program of study. The foundations course will introduce students to the capstone options, and give students the opportunity to begin thinking about which capstone option best aligns with their goals.

Each student should start on the capstone application in consultation with their advisor once they have completed 18 hours of course work. At this time, the student should identify which capstone experience they wish to pursue. This includes identifying how their choice aligns with their personal goals and objectives and identifying their intended topic (for thesis/special projects) or professional area of focus (for internships). The student should also review all requirements for the intended experience. While the general objective of synthesizing the students' education experience is the same for all, each capstone experience has a different focus and a different set of pre-requisites and requirements. It is the responsibility of the student, in consultation with their advisor, to ensure that they have met all necessary requirements and completed all pre-requisites PRIOR to beginning their capstone experience.

Capstone Options

There are three possible capstone experiences:

Internship/Practicum:
The purpose of the internship/practicum is to allow students to apply classroom theory in a professional context. To this end, internship/practicum positions should allow students to participate in a variety of activities and situations comparable to professional positions in libraries, archives, or other information settings. This option is especially useful for students without much (or any) internship/practicum or work experience in the LIS field, or those who wish to strengthen their professional work skills prior to graduation.

Applicable courses (students should discuss with their advisor which one is appropriate given program of study):

Research (LIS 500):
Students (individuals or small groups) will propose a research project, conduct research, and write a research paper of publishable quality which creates a contribution to the profession. Before registering for LIS 500, students must complete an independent study form, which includes a problem statement, hypothesis or research questions, preliminary bibliography, and a sufficiently detailed plan for completion, and is signed by the overseeing faculty member. This option is useful for students interested in further academic work, or those who have an interest in a specific area of research. Prerequisites: LIS 404 and  LIS 403 (OR a research methods course, OR an equivalent research experience as approved by the faculty sponsor, prior to enrolling in this option).

Special Project:
This is an option for students who have a substantial project of relevance to the LIS profession that they would like to carry out prior to their graduation. Some projects may be made available by GSLIS, but student-generated project ideas are encouraged. The format of the project will be flexible according to the needs of the project, but the focus should be on high quality, which will meet the objectives and outcomes of the department. Prerequisite: Either LIS 403 OR LIS 404, OR an equivalent management course (LIS 406, or LIS 442, as appropriate)