In fall 2012, the English Department joined the UCLA-wide capstone program. This means that the department now offers four capstone formats for interested undergraduates majoring in English or American Literature and Culture (ALC):

  1. Senior Honors Thesis administered by Departmental Honors Program (Critical Essay or Creative Writing project).
  2. Directed Individual Research or Senior Project (199)
  3. Participation in Undergraduate Student Initiated Education (USIE) (English 188SA-188SB)
  4. Capstone Seminar (with Paper or Project) (English 184) In the English and ALC major, all students are required to take a senior seminar for graduation. Some of these will be designated as capstone seminars. In a capstone seminar, students engage in reading, discussion, presentation, and completion of a culminating project. Often, this project is a research paper, but it could be an alternate form of work including a DVD or video presentation, development of a web site, or other creative project that serves as the culminating product. The capstone seminars promote advanced critical awareness of, and engagement with, a specialized topic and are designed to promote creative and intellectual development.  The classes also cultivate research skills and are designed to generate student-driven inquiry. These culminating projects will be archived electronically with the department.

What is the difference between a regular senior seminar and a capstone seminar?

The department will continue to offer a wide variety of senior seminars, which are restricted to seniors in the major who have completed at least 4 of their upper-division requirements. Some of these senior seminars will be listed as English 184, which means they will count as a capstone seminar. Topics of study will differ according to each instructor, but the capstone seminars will all require: a) a culminating project; b) a presentation of a portion of this culminating project; c) the electronic archiving of that final project.

Do I have to sign up for a capstone to graduate with a degree in English or ALC?

No. The senior seminar is a requirement for both the English major and the ALC major. The capstone experience is voluntary, but students may fulfill the senior seminar requirement by taking a capstone seminar. It is encouraged for those students who would like to develop a more focused research project in an area in which they have completed a few upper-division classes for the major. For instance, a student might enroll in a number of courses in the Imperial, Transnational and Postcolonial Studies requirement areas (Transatlantic Literatures and Cultures, Nationalism and Transnationalism, etc.) and want to pursue a culminating project about this topic in a capstone seminar.

What is required to enroll in a capstone seminar?

As with all seminars, you must be a senior who has completed four upper-division courses for the major. You are strongly encouraged to have taken previous courses in the same field as the seminar topic you select before enrolling in the capstone seminar, as this should be a culminating experience in this area of study. For instance, students enrolling in a capstone seminar about Shakespeare should have taken at least two upper-division Renaissance literature courses.

Can I get capstone credit in a senior seminar that is not offered as a capstone if I write a culminating paper?

No. Only students enrolled in English 184 may receive capstone credit, as this is the department’s designated capstone course.

Will the capstone program be indicated on my degree?

At this time the administration is looking to add capstone designations on college degrees, but they are not yet available. However, this should not prevent you from adding a line about your capstone project to your resume!

For additional questions about enrollment, rules and restrictions, please contact Danielle Maris
This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or Janel Munguia This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. at (310) 825-1389. 

For additional questions about selecting an appropriate capstone seminar topic as a culminating experience to your path of study in English or American Literature and Culture, please contact our Undergraduate Faculty Advisor Joseph Dimuro at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..