M.Div. Capstone Project

The Faculty Council has adopted the following definition for the Capstone Project in the M.Div. degree:

1. The Capstone Project (ML700) that constitutes the Master level (Level III) of the M.Div. curriculum begins with a proposal from the student that defines a project that the student will carry out in an accountable ministry site and around which the student will build a portfolio of materials that provides the basis for evaluating the student’s performance.

2. The Capstone Project usually will be carried out in the student’s accountable ministry site or another congregation where the student is well known.  Students may petition the dean for an exception  to this requirement.  The student will develop this petition in consultation with her or his faculty advisor.

3. The amount of work entailed by the Capstone Project is a combination of reading, activities and writing that represents 6 credits of work according to the school’s established norms.

4. The project should be completed and the portfolio submitted to the evaluators within not less than 3 months and not more than 6 months of the approval of the proposal.

5. A proposal for the Capstone Project is developed by the student in consultation with his or her faculty advisor (as well as other persons the advisor deems appropriate), who gives approval when she or he judges the proposal to be sufficiently well-developed.  A completed proposal should include at the following items:

a. The issue faced by the congregation that will be the focus of the project.  This should be more in the nature of an on-going problematic faced by the congregation than a problem for which an immediate solution can be constructed.

b. A sketch of a multi-layered strategy for responding to the issue, including a hypothesis or other definition of success in addressing the issue.

c. A sketch of the biblical, theological, historical, and ethical foundations for analyzing the issue.

d. A sketch of pastoral leadership approaches for addressing the issue, including liturgical, educational, programmatic, and missional.

e. An initial annotated bibliography of resources related to the issue.

f. The contents of the portfolio that will be submitted for evaluation at the end of the project.

g. The name of the local expert (e.g., local clergy mentor, work supervisor) who will serve as a consultant for the student during the carrying out of the project and join the faculty advisor in evaluating the portfolio at the end of the project.

6. Although the contents of each portfolio will be adapted to the particular nature of the project the student proposes, every portfolio should include items in the following broad areas:

a. Significant writing that develops an integrated analysis of the issue drawing on appropriate Interpreting and Leading subject areas, including but not limited to prior work in the degree program;

b. A thorough description of the approaches for addressing the issue, drawing on appropriate Interpreting and Leading subject areas  (including but not limited to prior work in the degree program) to undergird the choice of approaches;

c. Any work products actually used in carrying out the project in the congregation;

d. Evaluations of the project’s performance by recipients of the ministry;

e. The student’s reflection on: how well the various aspects of the project worked, and why; how the student’s analysis of the issue is changed by his or her experience of the project; what the student sees as the next steps in addressing the issue now that the project is completed.

7. Students register for the Capstone Project in the month after their proposal is approved.

8. The local expert named in the proposal joins the faculty advisor in evaluating the portfolio and offering the student feedback.  The evaluation team may ask the student to re-work some part of the project or portfolio before a final grade is assigned.  The faculty advisor assigns the grade for the Capstone Project.  A passing grade for the Capstone Project is C (i.e., 73 or higher).  A student who receives a lower grade may re-take the Capstone Project once.  A student re-taking the Capstone Project may be asked to re-write all or part of their proposal.



♦ UPDATED: August 14, 2012