Capstone Options

Capstone Options

After successfully passing the introductory pro seminar and the core seminar requirements for the program, students may select from one of two capstone options to complete their MLS degree.

Each of the core courses is a graduate seminar combining detailed study of particular topics with broad interdisciplinary perspectives.

These courses give students the opportunity to explore the connections that exist among the diverse discipline and perspectives that define contemporary knowledge.

Students take 12 hours of elective credit.  In addition to the courses listed above, students may also repeat core seminars (each may be taken up to two more times under a different topic), and/or take graduate courses from other IU South Bend departments, divisions, and schools.

To complete the Master of Liberal Studies degree, students must choose one of the following capstone options:

The Independent Research / Creative Activity Option offers students the opportunity to work closely with a faculty committee and to complete a final project designed around their unique interests. The graduate project is an independent scholarly enterprise in which the student demonstrates mastery of a specific topic. Several kinds of projects are possible. The project may take the form of an interdisciplinary scholarly research paper. Alternatively, it may a community project that involves the development of an educational program or activity, a community-building project, a community arts project, or some other form of engaging the public in a project to improve the social or physical environment or to serve people. Yet another possible kind of project is a work of creative writing or design (such as a web page that serves a public intellectual purpose). Speak to the Director about other ideas that may better fit with your goals. Students should, at any rate, prepare for the project by taking course work that trains them in the relevant mode of research or writing. Creative projects and designed community activities must include a written component—either a reflection paper or an explanatory introduction or summary of the project, with additional documentation.


The Public Intellectual Option offers students the opportunity to work within a learning community made up of other students and led by a faculty facilitator to explore the variety of genres through which public intellectuals communicate, and to create their own portfolio of public intellectual work to be submitted for completion of the MLS degree. The capstone seminar pays special attention to the potential of new media, including Twitter and blogging.