Scholarly Report

The Capstone Project is the culminating academic experience for all Honors College students. Designed to reflect a student’s deep engagement with a specific discipline, question, or problem, the Capstone Project involves a substantial, sustained, and original writing, research, experiential or performance requirement leading to at least 6 credits.

In addition to completing their coursework or program experience, students choosing to complete their Capstone Project using a School Based Honors Project, Graduate Study, Graduate Program Completion, Experiential Capstone must complete a Scholarly Report. Your Scholarly Report will discuss the coursework, experience, or commitment in the program used to satisfy the capstone requirement. Reports must be submitted for approval to the Honors College Dean at the conclusion of your capstone work. Students completing their Capstone Project using Departmental Honors1 , Interdisciplinary Honors Thesis, or a Cook Scholars Thesis, do not need to complete a Scholarly Report for the Honors College. These students should follow the requirements for a thesis described by their advisor.

1Students completing Departmental Honors in Computer Science or Math, must do a scholarly report.

Reports Must Contain the Following Information:

  • A written statement of suitable academic length. In general, Scholarly Reports for the School of Engineering students completing the school-based honors project option should be 10-12 pages while Scholarly Reports for other disciplines should be at least 20 pages. Standard format will be double-spaced, 8.5" x 11".
  • 12-point Times New Roman font 

  • 1 inch margins 

  • Title Page 

  • Headings and Subheadings 

  • Running header 

  • Endnotes and references 

  • Any appendices (if applicable)

Content: Curiosity. Knowledge. Purpose.

The Scholarly Report is a statement about the experience or work undertaken in fulfillment of the Capstone. It is, however, not a simple, descriptive summary of that experience or work. The Scholarly Report is a critical, analytic reflection organized around the Honors College mission and motto: Curiosity. Knowledge. Purpose.

The Scholarly Report will be organized under these three rubrics, and for each, you will be asked to consider and communicate how your studies have helped you to engage with and achieve the goals of the Honors College mission. Each section not only gives you an opportunity to communicate what you’ve learned, but—done effectively—will demonstrate awareness of applied skills that align with the Honors College mission. Make use of specific examples, evidence, and arguments from your Capstone. The structure, however, will follow a standard generalized framework. In this way, the Scholarly Report will be structured as follows:


Please offer a statement about the focus of your work. What question of particular interest drew you to pursue this particular capstone? What did you choose as your primary subject of study, creation, or experience? What motivated you? Why? Were you trying to solve a problem? Looking for an inspiration? Were the reasons academic or personal, or both? These are standard reflections at the beginning of almost every academic study–often in the introduction or preface. They are also the foundation of interviewing, scholarly presentations, professional development, and a key university learning goal—effective scholarly communication. Your capstone will become your calling card going forward. Knowing how to ask your own questions and tell your story is critical.


Please describe and provide an analysis of the work or experience completed, placing it within a scholarly context. Remember, you are not merely describing or narrating things you did or learned. Knowledge is based on critical thinking—meaning you must understand what you have done, including the challenges you’ve faced, and show that you can interpret, infer, and evaluate your own experience from multiple possible perspectives. Note the point about scholarly context. If you created a piece of work or pursued an experience, are you aware of what others in the field have already done? Do you know what their results, experiences, or outcomes were? To what or whom can you compare your own work? How can you differentiate it? Can you make decisions or offer reasoned judgements about your subject based on convincing arguments and evidence? This is basis of all future professional work or studies that you will pursue.

Evidence is key in scholarly work. Assertions, opinions, and views must be supported by data, documentation, and a respect for and knowledge of the work of others. The Scholarly Report must include a bibliography of relevant scholarly literature or sources, demonstrating your knowledge of your chosen Capstone domain. Again, this is the foundation of professional work. Knowing how to back up your ideas is critical. It is also a sign of distinction to be extremely conversant in the latest developments in the current state of a field. Use appendices for materials if relevant.


The point of the Capstone is to serve as a statement of your complete experience. The Scholarly Report should therefore also be a reflection on the ways that you have been changed and the impacts that you have made on the world, or will make. How does your Capstone reflect your Honors College experience? What did you learn about community, collaboration, and connections to your personal scholarly directions? Offer examples. What were the key issues or scholarly challenges that you mastered as a result of participation in the program and—through your own growth--how will you be able to translate some of these into actions in the world?

Please visit Purdue OWL for more information on APA style writing.

Scholarly Reports are due by November 1st for fall graduates, April 1st for May graduates.