All graduate programs at Southern Connecticut State University are required to include a capstone experience in the curriculum. The capstone consists of a program-directed educational experience that leads to a special project, comprehensive examination, thesis, or doctoral dissertation representative of the discipline(s). The capstone is defined as a culminating experience of rigorous academic achievement that:
- Integrates knowledge from one’s discipline(s);
- Applies specific knowledge;
- Demonstrates knowledge and expertise to the appropriate disciplinary community; and
- Illustrates readiness for transition into more advanced professional or academic pursuits.
Successful Completion of the Capstone
Each academic department determines whether a student has successfully completed the capstone requirements. Successful completion of the capstone special project, thesis, or dissertation indicates that the capstone has been approved by two faculty members and the department chair. In addition, successful completion of the thesis or dissertation indicates that the thesis or dissertation has been approved for and submitted to ProQuest for publication.
Departments are responsible for approving and documenting students’ successful completion of capstone requirements.
- When the capstone is independent of a specific course, then the department chair (or designee) submits an automated Degree Audit Form in Workflow to document that the capstone requirements have been successfully completed as indicated above.
- When the capstone is assigned in a specific course, then a passing grade in the course serves as documentation that the capstone requirements have been successfully completed as indicated above. Students may not earn a passing grade in the course until all capstone requirements (including, where necessary, approval by two faculty members and department chair and approval for and submission to ProQuest) have been met.
- Students who need an extension for completing capstone requirements should follow the guidelines for “Requesting an Extension” as indicated below.
Approval of ProQuest formatting
Departments are responsible for assuring that the formatting of capstone theses and dissertations are approved for and uploaded to ProQuest.
- The standard SCSU ProQuest format may be found here: https://www.southernct.edu/grad/current-students/student-research
- Departments may decide whether to use the standard SCSU ProQuest format or a different format that follows disciplinary conventions. Students should confer with their department to learn whether the standard SCSU format or a discipline-specific format is required.
- Departments designate the faculty or staff member(s) who will review and approve the formatting of theses or dissertations for ProQuest. Alternatively, those departments that use the standard SCSU ProQuest format may seek assistance from the School of Graduate and Professional Studies in reviewing ProQuest formatting.
- For ProQuest review by the School of Graduate and Professional Studies, the thesis or dissertation must be submitted to GPSinfo@southernct.edu by April 27 for Spring, August 3 for Summer, or November 10 for fall. Otherwise, the deadline for submission and publication with ProQuest will be set by the faculty member prior to the last date of the semester.
Requesting an Extension
Students who are making satisfactory progress towards the completion of their capstone special project, thesis, or doctoral dissertation, but who require additional time for completion, may request an extension as follows:
- Master’s special project or thesis: Students who are making satisfactory progress but who have not yet completed requirements for their capstone special project or thesis, may request an Incomplete (I) from their faculty member. To request an Incomplete, the student and faculty member should prepare and sign an Incomplete Contract form.
- The incomplete grade must be resolved by the Extension Deadline as indicated by the faculty member on the incomplete contract. This may default to 30 days into the next fall/spring semester or the instructor may set an earlier date. If the faculty member wants to provide additional time, an “I+” with a new Extension Deadline must be submitted by the faculty in Banner Faculty/Advisor>Faculty Grade Change. Students should be aware that a grade of incomplete may impact financial aid.
- Students working towards completion of a capstone may be granted a maximum extension of 12 months, unless an additional extension is expressly granted by the faculty member and approved by the Dean or Associate Dean of the School of Graduate and Professional Studies.
Doctoral dissertation: Students who are making satisfactory progress, but who have not yet completed and formally submitted their dissertation, will receive an Incomplete (I) for the course and are required to register for an extension, either EDL 901 Continuing Enrollment for Doctoral Dissertation or NUR 817 Dissertation Advisement Continuation. The extension courses do not earn credit and a grade of “Q” will be assigned to indicate satisfactory progress. When all work is complete and accepted by the faculty member and/or committee responsible for oversight, the Incomplete (I) grade for the dissertation course will be changed to the appropriate letter grade for course credit.
Effective October 2020, students are no longer required to apply to receive their diploma or certificate. The Registrar’s Office automatically processes diplomas and certificates once a student has successfully completed all program requirements. Upon program completion, students are notified in their Southern email with instructions on how to access their e-diploma to share with family, friends, and employers. An original diplomas or certificate will also be issued to the mailing address on file within 30-45 days at no charge.
Graduates may also request a duplicate or replacement diploma. A non-refundable $25 fee will be charged at the time of order.
*Please refer to the section below (“Requesting an Extension”) if the student requires additional time for completion.
Standard University formats for theses and dissertations are as follows: