1.Humanities Capstone presents a version of the Capstone Experience that directly responds to the Soka University of America institutional mandate to “develop and refine research, writing, and analytical skills congruent with the educational mission of SUA,” to “enhance students’ ability to formulate and research a question or set of questions and from this to produce a coherent and substantial treatment of the chosen topic,” and to “successfully apply the relevant theoretical and other literature in the field pertaining to the project.” For the full statement of the SUA definition of Capstone experience, please see the SUA Catalogue.

2. How Does Humanities Scholarship Work?

In the Humanities Concentration, we focus on the study of how people process, record, and document the human experience. Specifically, the disciplines that make up the Humanities aim at developing, enlarging, and refining historical, artistic, philosophic and cultural understanding. Humanistic critical education demands in-depth reading, analytical comprehension, and the articulate probing of themes, genres, traditions, media, ideologies and other imaginative, representational and material structures.

3. What is Research in Humanities?

The hallmark of research in Humanities is the choice of a thesis that possesses intellectual significance and a demonstration of this thesis through clear writing and rigorous thought. This is why the Humanities students are asked to choose a Capstone topic that will enable them to state a clear-cut thesis and investigate a variety of scholarly sources in the attempt to support or amend it. Ideally, the successful Capstone would create a persuasive argument that stands upon the writer’s critical reflection, documentary evidence, and intellectual synthesis.

4. What is the nature of a Humanities Capstone Project?

The exact nature of the Humanities Capstone project will depend on the agreement reached between the student and the mentor. To comply with accreditation requirements and the SUA course credit expectations and policies, Humanities Capstone projects normally are 30 pages (MLA format or Chicago Manual, double-spaced) and include a significant bibliography that includes milestone works of scholarship in the relevant field. The selection of milestone works, scholarship review, and preparation of the bibliography are three essential tasks that are normally to be accomplished during CAP390 (1 credit, fall) and CAP400-01 (3 credits, Winter Block). These two courses amount to four credits (1 and 3) and will carry a work load commensurate with it. Students are expected to utilize the Winter Block to complete all or most of the research for the Capstone and to make considerable progress in the writing phase of the project.

Frequently Asked Questions about Humanities Capstones

a. May I choose a mentor outside of the Humanities Concentration?

Yes, whenever appropriate.

b. May I use diverse media?

Students may create final projects that are either interdisciplinary in scope and include diverse media, but all projects must include a significant written component in which the student demonstrates a critical grasp of the material.

c. May I write a first-person narrative in relation to the Humanities?

In the time-honored tradition of the Humanities, cultural values and critical reading are closely coupled with imagination. Therefore, students who wish to engage in such narrative or creative writing must harness personal elements with rigor and imagination grounded in examples (e.g., study of memoirs, autobiographies, letters, or personal essays) and substantial scholarship, including the use of notes (as appropriate) and a bibliography.