Every bachelor’s major at College of Professional Studies requires an integrative capstone course which is taken after all of the other courses in the major have been completed. Because the integrative capstone requires knowledge of the current research or scholarship in your chosen focus area, it cannot be met with transfer or prior learning credit.

You are being provided with information about the integrative capstone now, in CRIT 602, so that you will become aware of the role it will play as the culmination of your degree, as well as what you can expect when the time comes for you to take it. This basic understanding will help you to approach your integrative capstone course as strategically as possible to make it work to your best advantage.

The Integrative Capstone at the College of Professional Studies:

Reflect, Question, Engage

What Is an Integrative Capstone?

The integrative capstone for your major will provide an opportunity to reflect on what you’ve learned from your CPS major as a whole. How will all of the courses you take for your major form a body of knowledge you can use to advance your personal and professional goals? Your integrative capstone course has been designed to provide you with an opportunity to demonstrate to yourself and others that you can communicate clearly, think critically, and apply knowledge to real world questions or problems. Prior CPS students have actually had proposals developed as integrative capstone projects adopted by their employers!  In your integrative capstone, you will arrive at an initial answer to this question by developing a project that is directly related to your personal and professional goals.

What Does an Integrative Capstone Project Look Like?

Check with your individual major requirements which you can find in WebCAT DegreeWorks or in the Academic catalog for the year you enrolled. More information on locating this information is at the bottom of this page. Integrative capstone projects normally fall into one of the following categories:

Traditional research paper to conduct an in-depth exploration of intriguing theories, scholarship, research, or best practices in your field.

Proposal to address a workplace or industry-based problem related to your field.

Proposal for a new work-related initiative for your field.

Internship for a local, on-the-ground perspective on an important issue or practice in the field. (Selected majors only; see your advisor for information.)

How Do I Decide on a Project?

The integrative capstone project is driven by a critical inquiry or research question. You will have had plenty of practice developing these types of questions in your prior courses; developing your integrative question will be a matter of identifying a question that will advance your personal and professional goals when answered.

How Can I Prepare for My Integrative Capstone?

Reflect on your goals. Integrative capstone faculty report that students who have the most successful integrative capstone projects are those who have thoughtfully reflected on the goals they originally identified for their College of Professional Studies education. Reviewing the Personal Learning Mission you developed in CRIT 602 will be a good way to reflect on how your original goals have evolved as you have taken courses and gained other types of knowledge from work and life experiences.

Develop your question. The process of reflecting on your goals will often reveal a topic of interest that can be developed into an integrative question. A good integrative question will bring together three things:  your own personal and professional experiences, knowledge from courses in your major, and current research or scholarship in your field. If you need help brainstorming ideas, this is a good place to start a discussion with the faculty member who is scheduled to teach your capstone course.

Engage with your capstone instructor. When you begin your integrative capstone course with your personal and professional goals clearly defined and a critical inquiry or research question identified for your project, your instructor can then help you refine your question and identify activities and resources to support your project. Integrative capstone faculty have extensive industry knowledge to ensure that your project will support your personal and professional goals for the future, so we encourage you to take advantage of their expertise!

Examples of Integrative Questions

The key to making your integrative capstone work to your best advantage will be the identification and articulation of a good integrative question. Here are a few examples from CPS graduates, along with the associated fields of study:

Emergency Medical Services: What are the costs and benefits of having a private EMS service in a municipality instead of a fire­-based ambulance service?

Marketing: How can an analysis of famous marketing campaigns be used to develop an effective marketing campaign?

Human Services Administration: How can human services organizations raise the awareness of families with children of the services available in their area in the event of an epidemic, a biological attack, or a natural disaster?

Applied Technology/Management: How can I use the current research in leadership and team ­building to meet my professional goals and the goals of my organization?

Examples of Integrative Capstone Projects

Fire Department Professional Mentoring Program

Create mentor relationships between seasoned fire officers and firefighters interested in the position of fire officer. The mentor assigns tasks to the firefighter throughout different phases of the program. Assignments are based on the kinds of tasks they’d complete as a fire officer with the goal of helping them understand the position before taking on the role officially.

Hiring Program

Develop an organizational hiring program to maximize retention and establish a consistent, fair, and transparent hiring program that will provide equal opportunity for all current and potential employees. Develop mission and values statements, refine job descriptions, establish hiring panels, interview guidelines, and hiring process and procedure.

Mentoring Empowerment Program

Create a 1:1 mentoring program to help those with mental illness and brain disorders maintain relationships and employment. The program aims to help increase self-esteem, provide encouragement, improve communication with management, and inspire participants to explore employment as a means for self-actualization.

Key Takeaways

Transferable Skills

The following skills you have been working on in CRIT 602 are directly applicable to the integrative capstone:

  • Developing & revising a critical inquiry question,
  • Developing a keyword search string for effective online and library database searches,
  • Evaluating the validity of information resources using a validity checklist,
  • Pursuing multiple lines of critical inquiry and synthesizing the results in a formal academic paper,
  • Citing sources using the appropriate style guide for your field of study,
  • Presenting research findings to an audience,
  • Responding to the research findings of others.


One of the strategies for being able to develop a good integrative question is adopting an attitude of recognizing and being open to possible avenues of inquiry. This is a strategy you have already been using in CRIT 602.

To make sure that you are able to recognize possible areas of inquiry for your integrative capstone, we recommend that you review the course description and learning outcomes for your integrative capstone course now. Then make a note of them so that they can serve as a touchstone for you to return to as you take the remaining courses for your degree. The integrative capstone course that is required for your major will be listed on your degree audit which you can do in WebCAT. You can find the course description and learning outcomes in the CPS Catalog.


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