Music | Washington College

Senior Capstone Experience

All music majors must complete the Senior Capstone Experience, which is intended to strengthen the student's ability to think critically about music. Options available to students include writing a thesis, composing an extended composition, presenting a solo recital, or writing a research paper in conjunction with a lecture/recital.

One of these options must be chosen by the end of the junior year. Students who decide to double major must satisfy the same requirements.

Students electing to write a thesis must have the topic approved no later than the end of the fourth week of classes of the first semester of the senior year. The department follows the guidelines outlined in Mark A. Radice's Irvine's Writing about Music, 3rd. ed. (Portland, Oregon: Amadeus Press, 1999) and Diana Hacker's A Writer's Reference, 6th ed. (Boston: Bedford Books, 2007). A detailed outline of the thesis is due by the end of the first semester of the senior year. The first draft is due by the beginning of March, a revised draft by the beginning of April, and the final draft by the last day of classes. (This schedule will be adjusted accordingly for students who are completing the thesis in December.) The department does not specify a length for the thesis, although the average length of theses over the past thirty years has been 96 pages. The department does require that the topic be covered thoroughly. The thesis advisor is chosen in consultation with the individual student.

Students who wish to compose an extended work or to prepare a lecture-recital should consult with the chair to discuss the particulars of these options. At this meeting, a timetable for the completion of the project will be developed.

The completed Senior Capstone Experience project will be judged as pass, fail, or honors by the full-time faculty of the department.