All AuD students are required to complete an AuD Capstone Project. Students will enroll in CSD 500 for two semesters for 3 hours each.

Capstone Project

The Capstone Project is a minimum 12-month assignment that is required to be completed by every CSD Doctor of Audiology (AuD) student. Ideally, the project should span approximately 18 months. Graduate Audiology students are required to enroll in CSD 500 for two semesters, which translates to 3 credit hours per semester, for a total of 6 credits. This document is intended to provide a general set of guidelines, which may vary slightly depending on the preferences of each Capstone Advisor and the specified parameters and scope of the project itself.

Sometime during the spring of student’s first year, they should attend a Capstone Workshop, which is an educational session designed to stimulate ideas for the Capstone experience. By the end of the Spring semester (first year), they should have a Capstone Advisor chosen and a Capstone Project topic selected. By the end of the Fall semester (second year), she/he should have a project proposal completed. Specific details about the Capstone process will be discussed below. Namely, a central feature of the process is the graduate student. Each AuD student will be held accountable for the completion of their Capstone Project, and the responsibility of faculty Advisors is to mentor students through the overall experience.

Capstone Advisory Panel (CAP)

A key element of the Capstone Program is a team of Audiology faculty members referred to as the Capstone Advisory Panel (CAP). The CAP is responsible for oversight of the Capstone Program, and provide faculty review and insight of proposed projects, approved projects, and final products, such as presentations, posters, and manuscripts. Students are required to interact directly with their Capstone Advisor over the course of their project. The CAP will:

  • Be comprised of the tenured/tenure-track Audiology faculty in Communication Sciences and Disorders
  • Convene quarterly to address an agenda aimed at processing Capstone Projects.
  • Approve or disapprove all Capstone Proposals, Projects, and Presentations, student timelines, and the final Capstone Project manuscript or other culminating products
  • Arrange face to face meetings (preferred), but telephone conferencing and web-based meetings are satisfactory alternative formats

Although the Capstone Advisor is the student’s direct line of approval for these projects, processing review by the CAP will be the final and required approval body. The CAP will convene frequently enough to maintain reasonably expeditious project processing time.

Capstone Project Categories

Capstone projects can be research, clinical, or service oriented.

  • Approved Research Investigation – these reports describe techniques, procedures, or findings of original scientific research
  • Clinical Service Project - these reports evaluate the development of a particular model, a new clinical technique, or any other topic of clinical interest
  • Comprehensive Literature Review – these reports should focus on progressive research topics

Capstone Advisor Selection and Contract Timeline

It is the responsibility of each student to determine which faculty member they wish to collaborate with for the Capstone experience. To accomplish this, students should meet with faculty to discuss project interests and opportunities. Prior to signing a contract, individual faculty members must be comfortable with specific projects proposed by students, as well as the viability of the proposal. Faculty cannot accept every proposal presented by every student, and cannot agree to participate in all project invitations. This is because Capstone workload must be distributed between faculty members equitably. Students should plan ahead for this contingency: start early and begin to interact with faculty about your project ideas as soon as possible, and prepare a one-page project proposal as part of your discussion. By the end of the Spring semester (Year 1), students should have selected an Advisor.

The CAP is here to support students in this process; however, it is each student’s responsibility to meet with their Capstone Advisor to discuss his/her progress and to develop a plan for finishing the Capstone Project in a timely manner. If there is any concern that a project may not be on track, students should immediately schedule a meeting with their advisor to correct the problem. Failure to meet with your Advisor to make a plan does not constitute a reasonable excuse for not getting the project done in a timely manner. Failure to meet deadlines (as mutually agreed-on by the student and Advisor) by the end of each semester may result in a Professional Disposition form being filed with the CSD Department Chair.

Once a student and Advisor have come to agreement to work together, a Capstone Contract must be completed and signed after the proposal being approved by the CAP. The contract includes the following fields that must all be filled completely: student name, Advisor name, semester/year, preliminary title of project, and project description. Students will provide a description of the proposed project, and indicate that the project is of a depth, breadth, or complexity to warrant awarding six credits on a graduate level. A 6-credit Capstone Project should be a reflection of 3 hours of student work per week over a 16- week semester (a total of 48 hours of student work across each of the two semesters.) Within the general outcome field, the student must provide a description of the outcome activity. For example, if the outcome is a paper, the student must be specific about describing its approximate length and the scope and nature of the paper. Similarly, if it is a presentation or other product, specifically describe all facets of preparation and outcome in the project. The contract requires an estimated completion date, student signature and date, and Advisor signature and date. Both the project description and general outcome fields should be described within the available box on the contract, as this is intended to be brief.

Proposal and Project Presentation

By November 1st of the Fall semester (Year 2) students should have produced a one-page Capstone Proposal. The Capstone Proposal should use APA style and include appropriate references on a second page. A 15-minute public oral presentation (10- minute presentation followed by 5 minutes for questions from the audience) of the final Capstone product is also required in the Spring of the 3rd year during the scheduled grand rounds time on Tuesdays.

Students are encouraged to present a poster describing their capstone at a research symposium or conference. Typically, this should occur in the Spring of the 3rd year. This may include the Illinois Academy of Audiology Conference (ILAA), which is held annually in Chicago (January) or the Illinois State University Research Symposium (http://grad.illinoisstate.edu/symposium/). Other conferences may be considered, including local, state-wide, national, and international meetings. The choice of venue for the poster presentation should be discussed early in the development of the capstone project to allow enough time to meet submission deadlines.

Capstone Timeline

The typical execution of a Capstone Project is likely to follow the following pattern: