SAGES Capstone for Music Majors


Dr. Georgia Cowart, Professor


The Music Capstone is focused on a major project, such as a senior thesis or senior recital with supporting document. A project must have a substantial writing component and must include a public presentation. (For recitalists, this requirement is satisfied by the recital.) The written component should represent an original argument, beyond the scope of a typical term paper.

In MUHI 395A, offered for 2.00 credit units in the fall, students will begin research and complete a formal Capstone Prospectus consisting of a 5 – 6 page proposal followed by a detailed outline and annotated bibliography.

In MUHI 395B, offered for 1.00-4.00 credit units in the spring, students will complete the written component of the project and deliver a public presentation.

An outstanding Capstone project opens the path to graduation with Honors.

Course Structure

The class meets as a group at the beginning of each semester and during the spring while preparing the public presentations. Otherwise it consists of individual weekly tutorials with the instructor.

Public Presentation

For non-recitalists, the public presentation will occur on a program at the end of jury exams in the spring. It is not a jury although conducted during the jury period; family and friends are invited. It consists of 20-minute PowerPoint presentations followed by a 10-minute Q & A. All students in the class (recitalists as well as non-recitalists) are required to attend.

Is MUHI 395 required?

Double majors and dual degree candidates may opt to take the Capstone in a department other than music. All other music majors must do a Capstone in music or another program of interest to which they are accepted. Students must take the 2-semester sequence in order (strictly enforced), usually in the senior year.

Can I take MUHI 395 as an elective?

Yes, as long as the student has fulfilled the prerequisite requirements. However, space is limited and preference will be given to music majors for whom the course is required.

Early Registration

Students who are planning to study abroad or will otherwise be away from CWRU during their senior year must take the full Capstone sequence in their junior year (no exceptions).

Applied Instruction

Students planning to use a senior recital as their Capstone must be enrolled for 2.00 credit units of principal applied music during both semesters of the Capstone registration. The performance component will be graded by the applied instructor. The senior recital may be substituted for the Exit Jury if needed, in which case the student is responsible for obtaining an accompanist, three jury members, and providing jury sheets. A Jury Petition Form is required.

Document Length

The written component may range from approximately 30 – 35 pages for a supporting document to 40 – 50 pages (excluding bibliography) for a senior thesis. (Exceptions may be made for senior theses involving a substantial experimental component.)


Prerequisites to MUHI 395A are MUHI 201 and MUHI 202. Students are urged to complete the department seminar and as many music history electives as possible before embarking upon a Capstone project, which represents the culmination and synthesis of the totality of previous undergraduate study. 

Senior Recital (without Capstone credit)

With the approval and support of the applied instructor, students may perform a senior recital outside the purview of the Capstone. Students must register for 2.00 credit units of principal applied music during the semesters before and during the recital. Students must have approval from the applied instructor to perform a recital. Please contact Jennifer Wright to set these up.

SAGES | Seminar Approach to General Education and Scholarship