Fordham University            The Jesuit University of New York

M.A. Capstone Writing Project

M.A. students will convert an existing 12-20 page class paper into a 20-25 page essay, revised for (potential) submission to a specific academic journal. 

In transforming a course paper into a prospective article, M.A. students will be required to review journals in the field, choose one, develop a critical methodology appropriate to that scholarly publication, and adapt their work to its specific editorial norms.

The Capstone is prepared under the supervision of the Director of Placement and Professional Development (DPPD).

Students must show that they have successfully completed at least 6 graduate English courses, that they have fulfilled the language requirement, and that they have maintained satisfactory academic progress. 

Students register for their capstone by the semester add/drop deadline in with the respective semester's CRN for ENGL 8996 - MASTER'S CAPSTONE. Students who are not registered for any credited coursework before or during the semester in which they register for the Capstone must also register for ENGL 0935 – CAPSTONE PREP.


The M.A. Capstone must be developed from an existing seminar paper that the student has written during his/her graduate English coursework at Fordham. 

At the beginning of the Capstone semester, students should contact the DPPD to discuss their plans for developing one of their seminar papers (the DPPD can offer advice if there are a few viable options). At this stage students will submit a copy of the original paper, as well as a 250-word outline explaining the plans for development. 

As the semester progresses, the DPPD will be available as needed for consultation. Students must contact the DPPD by mid-semester (11/1 for fall, 3/1 for spring) with a brief progress report. Any difficulties in developing the Capstone should be discussed with the DPPD no later than this mid-semester report. 

The Capstone submission deadline is December 1 (for the fall semester) and May 1 (for the spring semester).

On or before the M.A. Capstone deadline, students submit the following materials directly to the DPPD:
  • Original Seminar Paper
  • Capstone Essay (20-25 pages)
  • One-page Cover Memo (explaining the development of the paper into the Capstone)
  • Cover Letter* (for submitting the Capstone to an academic journal)

*For a sample of this genre, please see Academic Publishing: Advice for Graduate Students. Note: This document is password protected. Please call the Graduate Administrator at 718-817-4029 for the password, or access the document on the English Graduate Student Bulletin Board. Actual submission of the Capstone essay to an academic journal is not required. If you are unsure of how to select an appropriate journal,
please contact the DPPD.


There are three official grades for the Master’s Capstone: High Pass (distinguished work of the highest caliber), Pass (satisfactory work), and Failure. Students will be notified of the outcome of their Capstone no later than two weeks after the final day of the semester of submission.

There is also a departmental grade of Low Pass—which indicates marginally passable work (not suitable for Ph.D. program admission). Low Pass is officially recorded as a Pass, and therefore allows for a student to receive the degree.

M.A. students who fail the Capstone should meet with the DGS to discuss the option of resubmission in the subsequent semester. The Capstone may only be resubmitted once.

Site  | Directories
Submit Search Request