The Capstone Experience is designed to give students the opportunity to develop deep understanding of a topic in their field of concentration, drawing upon the skills and knowledge acquired from the SUA liberal arts education.

Learning Objectives

  • To further develop habits of independent inquiry and study.
  • To acquire close, focused knowledge of a topic.
  • To further develop and refine research, writing, and analytical skills congruent with the educational mission of Soka University of America.
  • To enhance students’ ability to formulate and research a question or set of questions and from this to produce a coherent and substantial treatment of the chosen topic.

Concentrations

  • Environmental Studies

    An Environmental Studies capstone should consist of a suitable independent research project focused on some aspect of environmental science, environmental studies, environmental management and policy, or environmental planning and practice.

  • Humanities

    A Humanities capstone presents a version of the capstone experience that directly responds to the institutional mandate to “develop and refine research, writing, and analytical skills congruent with the educational mission of SUA,” to “enhance students’ ability to formulate and research a question or set of questions and from this to produce a coherent and substantial treatment of the chosen topic,” and to “successfully apply the relevant theoretical and other literature in the field pertaining to the project.”

  • International Studies

    The International Studies capstone is a culminating experience in which concentrators apply skills and knowledge to gain in-depth knowledge through a research project. After completing seven semesters of coursework, IS students write an extended essay and bibliography in close supervision and collaboration with a trusted faculty member.

  • Social and Behavioral Sciences

    A capstone in SBS challenges students to formulate a research question and answer it using one of the various methods of social science.

Selected Previous Capstone Topics

Previous Environmental Studies Capstone topics have included: 

  • Renewable Energy in California, Germany, and Japan
  • Farmers Markets and Local Food Access in Orange County, California
  • Water Audit of Soka University of America
  • River Ecology and Ecological Restoration: A Case Study of the Los Angeles River
  • Climate Change and Informal Urban Settlements: Building Resilience for the Urban Poor in Nairobi, Kenya
  • Approaching the Nonhuman: Navigating Art, Abjection, and Ambiguity for a Post-Natural Ecology

Previous Humanities Capstone topics have included: 

  • The Power of Uncanny Women: Analysis of Japanese Horror Film and Argentine Fantastic Literature
  • Sigmund Freud’s Unconscious and the Collective Pursuit of Hysteria
  • Montaigne and Me, Intimate but not Sexual
  • What a Time to Be Alive: An Exploration of All Things Millennial: An Audio Podcast
  • A Dialogue on Dance: Funding, Advocacy, and Participation
  • White Rabbit Knows Everything - A Short Novella

Previous International Studies Capstone topics have included:

  • The Causes of the Thai Sex Industry and its Effects on Thai Women
  • Violent Insurgent Group: Defining the Relationship between the State, the Insurgency, and the Population
  • Multicultural Hawaii: Seeking Autonomy
  • The Legacy of America’s Super Citizens: What Comic Book Superheroes Reveal about American National Identity
  • An Evaluation of the Construction and Reproduction of Historical Narratives about the War of the Pacific in Peruvian Textbooks
  • The Philosophy of Nonviolence in Guatemala: Withdrawing from La Violencia through Hip Hop

Previous Social and Behavioral Sciences Capstone topics have included:

  • The Commercialization of Hip Hop: When Keeping It Real Goes Wrong 
  • Semper Fidelis: The Construction of Gender in Military Wives
  • Gender Equality in Vietnam: Promises and Reality
  • Myanmar’s Ethnic Problem: History, Conditions, and Solutions
  • Parental and Peer Contexts of Hookup Culture and Its Potential Influences on Sexual Behaviors and Marital Attitudes
  • An Investigation Into the Meaning and Implementation of “Inclusive Education”