Senior Capstone Guidelines

Senior Capstone/Honors

The senior capstone project is the product of artistic and scholarly work of high academic quality. The character of the work may lead to an honors thesis.


Junior Year:  First Week of April:

Submit a statement of intent for your senior capstone project.  Identify a faculty adviser who is familiar with your work and has agreed to oversee the project.  Then, submit your statement to the chair of the department.  Faculty will then review the stated project and accept or reject it.  The statement should include the following:

  • Clearly state what the project is, how you plan to accomplish the work, and why it is important. 
  • Clearly state your choreographic process, concepts and influences to your proposed work.  List courses, previous independent work and so forth.
  • Include a bibliography with readings, articles, performances, choreographers and other research.


Complete a large portion of research for your project, investigating but not limiting yourself to, readings, choreographic viewings, dance classes, performance attendance, choreographic workshops, musical scores and choreographic plans.

Fall of Senior Year:

Register for the D390 senior capstone course.  If your project is being considered for honors, also register for a 2-credit D395 independent with your faculty adviser.

First Week of October:

 Submit a first draft of the research component of your project including the majority of the work complete during the summer.  This draft is a minimum of ten pages.

Last week of October:

Present a choreographic review and showing for your project.  Include a log documenting rehearsal time. If your project is being considered for honors, register for a 4-credit 395 in the spring semester in addition to the 2-credit senior capstone course.  If your project is continuing without the honors consideration, register solely for the D390 spring senior capstone.  A project will not be considered for honors if the above deadlines are not strictly followed.


Senior Concert Performance.  Thesis performance.

First week of April

If you are completing honors work, you must submit a second draft of the written thesis to your thesis adviser.  This draft should be at least 25 pages.

If you are completing a capstone project you must submit a draft of your final paper to your project adviser.  This draft should be between 5 and 10 pages.

Third week of April

The final draft of your thesis is due to your committee.

The final paper for capstone projects is due.  Submit a DVD of your choreography to the department chair.

First week of May

Defense takes place for honors projects.


Submit digital copy of thesis to the library and department chair.  Performance thesis must include a DVD of choreographic work.

Capstone/Honors Options in Dance

  1. Theory/Research
    The most important components of an honors thesis in dance theory are the quality of the research, the originality of the thinking, the ability to link the work to theoretical issues of importance in the field, and the quality of the writing. The theory/research thesis should be at least 50 pages in length.
  2. Original Choreography
    Students invited to present a choreographic thesis must have taken, as prerequisites before their senior year, three levels of composition courses.   The project might include one longer, or several shorter, new works of choreography. If a student is granted a choreographic thesis, the project must demonstrate a theoretical component related to the field of research, the question, historical inquiry and relevance to current trends or historical trends in choreography.   The written component should be at least 25 pages in length.

It is the responsibility of the student to independently pursue the goals described in her project proposal and to arrange for meetings with her adviser and committee members. The faculty adviser and student will work out a time schedule at the beginning of the project to include meetings with adviser, showing dates of choreography (if applicable), final performance dates and a due date for the first submission of the written portion of the thesis. It is the student's responsibility to arrange any necessary meetings of the thesis committee during the course of the thesis work, including the final scheduling of the oral defense.

A standard choreographic thesis consists of a fifteen to twenty minute choreographic work presented on a concert in March and a minimum of a 25-page paper.

A non-choreographic thesis is 50 to 75 pages in length.

Calendar for Spring Semester

  • Formally present choreographic thesis, typically in a March concert.
  • Second draft of the written portion of the thesis to committee chair by the first week of April.
  • Final draft due to thesis committee third week of April.
  • Final written thesis and a DVD of choreography due the last week of April.
  • Defense for thesis first week of May. 
  • June submit digital copy of thesis to library.