Final Projects

A final project is the capstone of the IMP experience. Every individualized major student is required to complete one. Final projects can take many forms, ranging from scholarly papers to internships to performances, exhibits, or other artistic endeavors. After completing your project under the supervision of your sponsor(s), you will participate in a final project review before a faculty committee. The steps of the final project process are described below.

Deadlines

The final project deadlines for upcoming semesters are as follows:

  • Fall 2017: November 17
  • Spring 2018: April 6
  • Summer: Summer reviews are available by special arrangement. Please contact the IMP office several months in advance to discuss your options.

These deadlines are the dates by which all final project materials must be submitted to the IMP office. When planning your project, you and your sponsor(s) should agree on earlier check-in dates so that you have time to share drafts with your sponsor(s) and obtain their approval prior to the submission deadline.

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Propose a Project

Final projects can take many forms. Your chosen project should reflect the successful fulfillment of your educational goals and integrate what you have learned in the various courses and other experiences that make up your IMP major. Here are a few possibilities:

  • write a thesis
  • create an artwork or performance
  • conduct a research project
  • work an internship
  • teach a workshop or create an informational exhibit

All projects must include an analytical writing component and other required documents (for details, see Complete and Document Your Project, below).

In advance of your mid-program assessment you will be expected to submit a brief written proposal describing the project you've chosen and how you plan to carry it out. Please see Mid-Program Assessments for more information.

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Register for Credit

Please enroll in IMP-X490 (formerly I460) during the semester when you are working on your final project (usually the last semester of the senior year). This is the means by which you will receive credit and a letter grade for your project. The usual number of credit hours is three. If you wish to take X490 for more than three hours, if your work on the project will span multiple semesters, or if your final project is an internship, please consult the IMP office for guidance before enrolling.

In addition to the required enrollment in X490, you may wish to take IMP-I470, a one-credit, first-eight-weeks writing workshop designed to help you prepare the written components of the final project. I470 is optional unless specifically required for you by your admission committee.

For details about how to enroll in X490 or I470, see Courses.

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Complete and Document Your Project

Once you've proposed a project and registered for credit, the next step is to carry out your project! Most students do this during the last semester of the senior year. Please keep in close contact with your faculty sponsor(s) while working on your project.

Consider applying for grants related to your project, especially if it involves expenses for supplies, research travel, etc. See the Financial Aid page for a list of opportunities.

In addition to the project itself, you will need to prepare several supporting documents. Here is a complete list of what you will need to turn in:

Instructions for preparing each of these documents are below.

The project itself (3 copies)

Please submit three copies of your final project, assuming it is something that can be physically copied (such as a thesis, creative writing piece, or audio recording). For other types of projects, please submit three copies of the appropriate alternative documentation:

  • Events: If your project is an event such as a performance or exhibit, please submit a video and/or photos of the event. The IMP office has a video camera that students may check out for this purpose. If you have other documentation such as programs, fliers, or reviews, we encourage you to submit that as well. Please also notify the IMP office and your committee members in advance of the event so they can make an effort to attend. The IMP office can provide contact information for committee members.
  • Internships: If your project is an internship, please submit copies of the weekly reports you wrote for IMP-X473 (formerly I450) or X490 (formerly I460) and an internship evaluation form. If you have additional documentation of your internship duties, such as a portfolio of projects you worked on, we encourage you to submit that as well.
  • Objects: If your project involved creating a one-of-a-kind object such as a sculpture or costume, please submit photos. Additional documents such as preliminary notes and sketches are encouraged. If possible, please bring the original object with you to your final project review.

If you're unsure what type of documentation would be most appropriate for your project, please consult the IMP office.

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Analytical writing component (3 copies)

If your project is a piece of sustained analytical writing such as a thesis, this requirement is already satisfied. If not, you must write a paper called the analytic essay. If you’re unsure whether your project requires an analytic essay, please consult the IMP office.

The analytic essay is a 10- to 12-page analysis of your final project. It plays a crucial role in helping your final project review committee to understand precisely what your project was and what you learned from it. This is especially important if your project is something the committee can’t witness firsthand, such as an internship.

The essay should describe the project and critically discuss your process for completing it. Analyze the decisions you made and obstacles you faced. What did you learn from this process? What might you have done differently?

The essay should also explore the relationship of the project to your IMP major as a whole. Did knowledge gained in specific courses help you carry out the project? What are some important issues in your field of study, and how did they manifest themselves in your project? For example, if your project was a social science experiment you might discuss how you ensured the ethical treatment of human subjects.

The analytic essay isn’t necessarily thesis-driven like a typical academic paper, and it doesn’t need to cite secondary sources (although it may). It does, however, have a persuasive purpose: to demonstrate that the final project is an effective culmination of your individualized major. To achieve this, it may be helpful to identify four or five key points and organize your essay around them, rather than organizing the essay chronologically. Craft an introduction that captures the reader’s attention and interest while also making clear what the project is and the strategy the essay will use to analyze it. Write clear topic sentences and include transitions that keep the reader oriented to the direction of your discussion. End with a conclusion that reasserts the importance of your project and explores its implications for future research or practice.

Please take care to prepare a polished essay that includes page numbers and is free of grammatical and spelling errors. If you choose to cite outside sources, use whichever citation method is standard in your field of study.

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Retrospective statement (3 copies)

The retrospective statement is a 3- to 5-page reflection paper about your overall experience in the IMP. It is intended to help you articulate what your individualized major was about and what you learned from it, and is a useful thought exercise as you prepare for employment or graduate school interviews.

This is an opportunity to tell the story of your individualized major. Don't simply compile a list of your experiences; instead, work to make meaning of your experiences, identify connections among them, and connect them to the theme of your major. Discuss how the various elements of your curriculum — such as courses, independent study, internships, extracurricular activities, and your final project — combined to form an integrated whole. Consider what originally drew you to your individualized major and how your thinking on the subject has evolved over the course of your studies. You might also recount challenges that arose during your IMP career and ways you adapted in response. Close the essay with a brief discussion of your future plans and their relationship to your major.

Please take care to prepare a polished essay that includes page numbers and is free of grammatical and spelling errors.

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Final list of courses for the IMP major (3 copies)

Because IMP students often make changes to their curriculum plans between admission and graduation, you are required to submit a finalized list of the courses included in your IMP major. Please see the form for instructions. You should also submit a Course Change Form in support of any changes if you have not previously done so. Changes to non-major courses do not require documentation. (For more information about course substitutions, please see the Advising page.)

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Final project approval form (1 copy)

After you have completed final drafts of all your other final project documents and your sponsor(s) have reviewed them, please ask each of your sponsor(s) to sign a Final Project Approval Form. By doing so, they indicate that they have read and approved your documents and believe you are ready to move on to the final project review.

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Schedule Sheets (1 copy)

Schedule sheets are used by the IMP office to arrange final project reviews. Please complete one for yourself and ask each of your sponsors to complete one.

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Submit Your Project Documents

Deadlines for submitting your final project documents are posted each semester. (See Deadlines, above.) These deadlines are the dates by which final project documents must be submitted to the IMP office. When planning your project, you and your sponsor(s) should agree on earlier check-in dates so that you have time to share drafts with your sponsor(s) and obtain their approval prior to the submission deadline. Please do not submit final project documents that your sponsor(s) have not approved.

Once your sponsor(s) have approved your final project documents, please submit three hard copies to the IMP office. The IMP staff will forward two of those copies to the members of your final project review committee and keep the third copy for your permanent file. In addition to the three copies you submit to the IMP office, please provide a copy to each of your faculty sponsor(s).

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Final Project Review

As the last step in the final project process, you will attend a meeting called the final project review. Successful completion of a final project review is a requirement for graduation. Reviews are scheduled by the IMP staff based on the information provided in your Schedule Sheets; they generally take place near the end of the semester.

The final project review is structured much like the admission interview. You and your sponsor(s) will be interviewed by a two-member subcommittee of the IMP Faculty Committee (often, but not always, the same two committee members who attended your admission interview). A member of the IMP staff will also be present.

The review may last up to 90 minutes, although it is likely to be shorter than that. The committee chair will ask you to leave the room for the first and last 15 minutes of the review to allow committee members to deliberate among themselves and consult with your sponsor(s) about any specific concerns.

You will not be expected to give a formal presentation during the review. However, your committee is likely to begin with an open-ended question such as "Tell us about your project," so it can be helpful to have some talking points in mind. Be prepared to summarize the work that went into your project, what you learned from it, and how it connects to the overall themes of your IMP major. Some other commonly asked questions include:

  • What challenges did you encounter while working on the project, and how did you deal with them?
  • What are some of the important issues in your field of study, and how does your project engage with those issues?
  • Is there anything about the project you wish you had done differently?
  • What are your plans after graduation?
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Possible Outcomes

You will be informed of the committee's decision at the end of the final project review. There are three possible outcomes:

  • Pass: This is the most common outcome. Upon passing the final project review, you will be cleared for graduation (assuming you've completed all other degree requirements). At the committee's discretion, you may also be nominated for various awards and honors.
  • Revise: The committee may require you to revise the written components of your project — for example, to expand on an underdeveloped point or to correct grammatical errors — and pass you once the revisions are satisfactory. In most cases the required revisions can be accomplished quickly and will not delay graduation.
  • Resubmit: If your project has very serious flaws that cannot be corrected through minor revisions, the committee may require you to redo the project and submit it for a second final project review. This outcome is extremely rare.
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