In the semester in which you intend to graduate, you may choose as a capstone project to build a portfolio of academic papers that reflects major themes and learnings from your coursework taken to complete the Liberal Arts Studies M.A. Your portfolio must include at least two research papers submitted in courses taken, as well as an original paper describing and exploring in depth the major themes, learnings, and insights that comprise your key takeaways from coursework as a whole.

Your portfolio will be reviewed by a faculty advisor of your choice as well as the Program Director. You are responsible for coordinating a mutually agreeable date for a final discussion of your work that includes your advisor and the Program Director.


Complete the Portfolio Proposal form, obtaining signatures from your faculty advisor and the Program Director. Attach to the form a 250-word description of your proposed portfolio (Word document, 12pt font, double-spaced).

  • Explain your choice of two (or more) papers from courses completed toward the degree.
  • Describe your plan and process for revising those papers as needed in response to the instructor’s comments and other discoveries or insights you have gained on the topics of the papers since writing them.
  • Provide a tentative outline of the original paper you intend to write that will capture the learnings that have been the most significant for you during your degree program.
  • What are your intended learning outcomes from developing this portfolio? What do you hope to experience and learn in this process that will be helpful to your future endeavors?

“At the end of the capstone project, I will …. [follow with bulleted list]”

Final Paper Guidelines

Write an approximately 5,000-word paper (about 20 pages in a Word document, 12pt font, double-spaced), in a style appropriate for graduate-level writing, and following the format for title page and other introductory material for a Graduate School thesis (see Graduate School website). Include your paper along with two (or more) academic papers from courses taken, to comprise a portfolio for evaluation by your faculty advisor and the Program Director.

Your original paper should:

  • State the major themes of your learnings in the Liberal Arts Studies M.A.
  • Develop those themes drawing on specific readings, class discussions, or any key moments in your M.A. experience.
  • Describe what you consider to be the primary insights you will carry with you in your future work and everyday life.
  • How did this degree program grow or change your perspectives? What do you think will be its lasting influences on your life and work?
  • What suggestions do you have for strengthening the program?
  • Provide annotations for any specific citations or quotations of the work of others.


If you have questions about the Liberal Arts Studies M.A. program, please contact us so we can help you!