Informatics Capstone Details
The Informatics Capstone is a culminating experience that challenges you to use and demonstrate all of the skills and knowledge you’ve learned at the iSchool. There are two types of Capstones you can do.
The first type is a practical Capstone. This Capstone involves taking two courses, INFO 490 and INFO 491, during the winter and spring of your final year before graduation. These experiences guide you through forming a team, developing a project, and completing the project in time for the spring Capstone event. By default, all students are required to complete a practical Capstone to graduate.
Students do a wide range of Capstones, including designing new information experiences, analyzing an information system, devising new information workflows, and even bootstrapping startups.
The second type of Capstone is a research Capstone. This Capstone experience is for students who are interested in pursuing academic research careers through doctoral studies, or are just interested in contributing to research while at the university.
To complete a research Capstone instead of a practical Capstone, you must:
- Find a faculty member who is willing to advise you on research. Faculty can be any core, adjunct, or affiliate iSchool faculty member with a Ph.D. or comparable research experience. Your advisor can also be faculty at another university if sponsored through an NSF Research Experience for Undergraduates program. Ph.D. students can supervise your research, but only if a faculty member commits to supervising that Ph.D. student’s supervision. If you cannot find a suitable advisor, you cannot complete a research Capstone.
- Once you find a faculty member to advise you, submit a proposal to Student Services documenting 1) your name, 2) your advisor’s name, 3) a one-paragraph description of the research you will do, 4) the estimated timeline on which it would be done, and 5) a plan for what combination of volunteer time, paid position, independent study, or other mechanisms will be used to account for your research time. This proposal is a contract between you, your advisor, and the iSchool. The Informatics chair will approve or decline research proposals to ensure that the proposed work constitutes a significant research experience.
- To complete your research Capstone, you are expected to invest at least 250 hours of work (the equivalent spent on a Capstone project, and about eight weeks of full-time effort in the summer and 32 weeks of quarter-time effort in an academic year). This time does not have to be logged, but the advisor is responsible for ensuring the effort occurred.
- Your project can be led by you or you may contribute to an existing project. You must have made sufficient contributions to the research to eventually earn authorship if a paper were to be published, within whatever authorship norms exist in the field of study. Your advisor can help you understand authorship expectations.
- Students are required to present their research at the Undergraduate Research Symposium, the iSchool Research Fair, or the spring iSchool Capstone event. You are not required to submit a written report, under the expectation that publication from research may occur on a timeline out of sync with graduation.
- When you are ready to graduate, your research supervisor should notify the Informatics Chair that you have met the research requirements no later than the last week of class of the quarter you intend to graduate. This will result in waiving the practical Capstone graduation requirement.
Note that you can do research and complete a practical Capstone.