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Senior Capstone Experience

Washington College’s Senior Capstone Experience (SCE) represents the culmination of previous academic work and intellectual thought and as such requires demonstrated student initiative, significant preparatory work, active inquiry, and creative integration of acquired knowledge and skills.

SCE Guidelines

Washington College’s Senior Capstone Experience (SCE) represents the culmination of previous academic work and intellectual thought. As such, it requires initiative, significant preparatory work, and active inquiry. The CMS SCE requires students to integrate the knowledge and skills acquired through the major in their original project, demonstrating mastery of a body of knowledge. Students will engage in a long-term, substantive project that combines research, writing, and presentation of original ideas.

Upon successful completion of their SCE, students will receive a grade of Pass, Fail, or Honors. Passing and Honors SCE projects earn four academic credits that count toward the total number of credits needed to graduate from the College. To graduate as a CMS major, students must pass their SCE.

SCE Honors

CMS students with a major GPA of 3.5 can attempt an Honors capstone. Students who complete an Honor’s capstone and maintain a 3.5 GPA through the end of the senior year earn Departmental Honors, conferred at graduation. 

Universal Requirements

While SCE projects are customizable across concentrations, there are universal requirements for all projects. All submitted written work must follow the major’s style guidelines: Times New Roman font, font size 12, 1-inch margins on all sides, and double spaced. 

SCE Documents

SCE Resources

This is an ever-evolving page of resources helpful to students working on their CMS SCE. 


Please see the Program Director for access to these resources.

Writing Mechanics
  • The Little Book of Research Writing
  • The Only Academic Phrasebook You’ll Ever Need: 600 Examples of Academic Language
Planning and Executing a Research Paper
  • The Craft of Research
  • How to Write a Great Research Paper: A Step-by-Step Handbook
  • Designing and Conducting Survey Research: A Comprehensive Guide 
  • The Complete Guide to Writing Questionnaires: How to Get Better Information for Better Decisions 
  • Internet, Phone, Mail, and Mixed-Mode Surveys: The Tailored Design Method
  • Questionnaire Design: How to Plan, Structure and Write Survey Material for Effective Market Research
  • Strategic Marketing Management
  • Survey Methodology 
  • Writing About Screen Media
  • For SCE’s with a literature foundation: guide                       
  • For SCE”s with a sociological foundation: guide                 
  • For SCE’s with a social/society foundation: guide               
  • For SCE’s with a women/gender/sexuality foundation: guide  
  • For SCE’s with a historical foundation: guide

Any student conducting research with human subjects should consult Washington College's policies and resources for Human Subjects Research

Other Resources:

Not sure where to start your research? Visit the CMS Library Guide!