International Peace & Conflict Resolution
Master of Arts candidates are expected to return to campus in the spring of their final semester to complete their requirements en route to degree conferral. By the time they return, students will have completed all domestic and abroad, first- and second-year, study and fieldwork requirements for the degree, save their final two: Thesis and its Formal Presentation. These two elements combine to form the core of what is known in the IPCR Program as the Capstone Seminar.
Simply stated, the Capstone Seminar is an organized, faculty-guided approach to synthesizing each student’s first-year theory and second-year practice into a cohesive, scholarly work and consequent presentation. Students spend the 3-4 months of their final semester composing their theses and preparing to defend them. There are two principal options for completion of thesis requirements: the Formal (Traditional) Thesis and the "Creative" (Non-traditional) Thesis. (For an in-depth explanation of each, see Thesis Guidelines below.) Each student should work with his/her faculty adviser and the Program Director to decide which method of completion and presentation best suits his/her overall education and professional objectives.
Capstone has two components: the course and the project. All students participate in the final spring term capstone course. The capstone course provides the opportunity for students to reconnect with each other, reflect on their experiences in the field, develop professional resumes and engage in career placement activities. In the context of the course, students also work on their capstone project, which is a single term paper or creative project that bridges theory and field experience. During the University’s thesis week M.A. students present their capstone projects to the public.
In addition to capstone, students who are interested in pursuing a Ph.D. have the option of developing a two term Master’s thesis. An M.A. thesis is a classic critical written exposition. The student is responsible for demonstrating a clear graduate-level familiarity with published materials in the field of the thesis, knowledge of the accepted way of presenting and documenting the text, as well as the components of a well-crafted argument. The student’s argument should exhibit consistent evidence of both a ‘fresh’ and balanced approach to an existing issue or problem. Students who wish to pursue this option develop a thesis proposal and seek out a thesis advisor within the HAPS department at the end of their first year. With the approval and guidance of an advisor, students spend two terms developing an idea, collecting data and writing an 80-100 page M.A. thesis.