Every student at Trinity will have the opportunity to do a Capstone Project or equivalent as part of their undergraduate programme.
The following definition of what constitutes a high-quality Capstone Project was approved by University Council on 10 April 2019: The capstone project — though defined differently by different subjects — is the common element across all degree exit routes and is weighted at 20 ECTS. It requires a significant level of independent research by the student. It should be an integrative exercise that allows students to showcase skills and knowledge which they have developed across a range of subject areas and across their four years of study. It should result in the production of a significant piece of original work by the student. It should provide them with the opportunity to demonstrate their attainment of the graduate attributes.
High-Quality Capstone Project Criteria
The following criteria were approved by University Council on 10 April 2019 and define what constitutes a high-quality capstone. These criteria should form the framework within which capstone projects are offered.
- All programmes are expected to enable students to complete a capstone project. For accredited professional courses such as in the Health Sciences where there may be some constraints on course content the expectation is still that students should undertake some independent research.
- With regard to (1), in a joint honors programme, the choice of a capstone project in either subject should be offered. A joint capstone project shared by both subjects may be offered where feasible or appropriate, with the appropriate weighting of 20 ECTS and with the role of the supervisor(s) clearly defined (see (5)).
- Where possible, students should have input into the choice of the specific topic of their capstone project.
- Programmes determine which type/s of capstone are appropriate to their discipline that will fulfil the learning objectives of the capstone. The definition of ‘independent research’ and ‘original work’ will vary between different disciplines.
- Programmes should outline in their handbooks the exact nature of involvement of a supervisor in the capstone so that students’ expectations of this involvement will be clear.
- The capstone project should be a standalone module of 20 ECTS in the final year, although in some programmes the project may need to extend over more than one year.
- The capstone represents, and is assessed as, an individual student effort (with a weighting of 20 ECTS), although the process or product may involve other students (e.g., a performance which involves support at the level of stage management, or a composition which involves other performers).
- Through the capstone project, the student is expected to produce a significant piece of original work.
- Methods used to assess the capstone will vary depending on the nature of the capstone. This may include one or more of the following: written dissertation, poster presentation, oral presentation, assessment of technical ability, etc. Assessment may be undertaken by more than one staff member (e.g. in some disciplines capstones are routinely double marked), and, where appropriate, the external examiner. If several assessment methods are used they should map to specific learning outcomes and should link to the graduate attributes.
- Capstone project marks should be moderated by External Examiners, who should have access to all projects or a sample of projects.
These criteria should form the framework within which capstone projects are offered.
Capstone Project Examples
- Research-informed dissertation
- Dissertation with practice (feature-length screenplay or video essay)
- Conduct research and use data to complete major case writing project in target language
- Desk-based research and/or research with human participants and presentation
- Original lab research project in a research laboratory resulting in thesis, oral and poster presentation
- Independent piece of work where field work or the analysis of original source material plays a primary role
- Field work-based mapping project with subsequent write-up (including production of geological map and accompanying short report, plus oral presentation)