Capstone Details

PPE majors are required to complete a Capstone project in their fourth and final year at Yale-NUS College. Please see details regarding the capstone requirements for AY 2017/2018 below.

  1. Identification of project and supervisor: Students should choose a preliminary topic and meet with at least two possible advisors to discuss the formulation of a research question by the end of their junior year; students may then seek an advisor. A formal research question is due at the end of Week 2, Semester 1, Year 4. Supervisors will be assigned according to faculty expertise and availability, with consideration towards fair distribution of supervisory work.
  2. Range of topics and formats: Students may choose any topic that incorporates their primary field of specialisation. Students may also choose a topic at the intersection of their primary field of specialisation and a secondary field (e.g., philosophy & politics, philosophy & economics, or politics & economics). The chosen research question should be feasible; one which one a) can be answered in the available research period, b) with data or research materials that are accessible, and c) by means of a methodology the student can be reasonably expected to master at the undergraduate level within the available time frame. Topics will be judged feasible at the discretion of the student’s assigned advisor.
  3. Activities as part of project: After identifying a question and an advisor at the end of Y3, students should begin background work over the summer. In Y4S1, students will participate in the research seminar series appropriate to their primary field, which will support and structure their completed background reading and development of the capstone project’s methodology. By the end of Y4S1, students should have a well-developed prospectus identifying their research topic, question, hypothesis or thesis, as well as their methodology. The prospectus must be approved by the advisor and submitted to the HoS. Students will spend Y4S2 completing the project, which will ultimately be submitted as a written document and presented orally or in poster form.
  4. Student preparation: Students should discuss method and resource availability as early as possible with an anticipated advisor, other expert faculty, and any relevant librarians – ideally during the junior year. Beyond this, course work in the major is considered sufficient preparation.
  5. Expectations for student-supervisor interactions and work on the project: Students and their advisors should, at the start of the project, decide on an optimal number of meetings and interim deadlines, taking into account the nature of the project and the student’s work habits. At minimum, student and advisor should meet twice per semester.
  6. Format(s) of final product: The final product should, for a philosophy or economics project, follow those majors’ capstone guidelines. For a politics capstone, the final product should be a research paper of approximately 8,000-10,000 words. The paper should include an abstract and bibliography, discussion of relevant literature, and a clear statement of the question addressed, the position taken, and the arguments supporting it.
  7. Assessment(s): Progress in the first semester will be worth 15%. Progress in the second semester (including the thesis and, possibly, an oral or poster presentation), will be worth 85%.