Capstone Process

Developing the Proposal

Review the M.A. Graduation Timeline for steps you need to complete to progress toward your degree.

Students should start considering possible capstone topics by the beginning of their third semester (or after having completed 15 hours of graduate courses). Review your concentration goals and guidelines as you consider possible topics and goals for your capstone. Capstone projects often evolve from previous coursework. Your professors, advisors, and fellow students represent good resources to draw upon as you define your project. You are responsible for proposing a topic to a member of the graduate faculty and asking him or her to serve as your capstone advisor. Upon request, your academic advisor or the Director of Graduate Programs (DGP) will assist you in identifying a capstone project advisor. See the MA Capstone abstract archive for previous topics students have pursued.

To register for the capstone course, ENG 676 Master’s Project in English, submit an ENG 676 Capstone Proposal Form during registration period. The form asks for a brief description of your proposed project, its rationale, and a preliminary bibliography of resources, all developed in consultation with your capstone project advisor.  Once the form is signed by your capstone advisor and the DGP, you will be manually registered for ENG 676.

Note: MA students who have been enrolled full-time throughout their graduate career may also be eligible for full-time classification in their final semester even if they need fewer than 9 hours to complete their degree.  To qualify for this classification, you must be engaged in capstone research and enrolled in ENG 675 or 676.  To request this classification (that is, to request a waiver of the courseload policy), contact the DGP after you register and before the end of the add/drop period. 

Download ENG 676 Capstone Proposal Form

Researching and Writing

Meet with your capstone advisor in the first week of the semester (or sooner) to plan your work. The two of you will need to develop a timeline for completing your project, including deadlines for the submission of draft(s) and revisions. Please note that faculty usually need a week or two to comment on a substantial draft or revision and to work it into their schedule, so be sure to allow plenty of turnaround time as you map out the various stages of your research and writing. Many advisors will expect to see a full draft 4-6 weeks in advance of the final deadline to allow time for revision and additional research if needed. The final document, approved by your advisor, must be submitted by the last day of class.

Formatting the Written Project

Projects can take many forms. All should be submitted with a title page(as formatted below) and an abstract of 250-300 words.

Projects in the form of academic essays could include a table of contents, a brief intro followed by section (or chapter) divisions, a conclusion, notes, and works cited. Length will vary but will typically be 30-50 pages, including notes and bibliography.

Projects that take other forms, such as screenplays, documentary films, curricular units, anthologies, multi-media texts, and other options, should also include a title page and abstract as well as a short (5-10 pages) written narrative describing the project and its objectives.

The project's title page should include the entries indicated on the "Format for Title Page" documents listed below.

The abstract should be 250-300 words. Important: An abstract is not an introduction. It is a stand-alone summary that quickly describes the purpose and focus of the project, the methods used or approach taken, and the major observations and conclusions you came to.

Format for Title Page and Abstract.pdf

Format for Title Page and Abstract.doc (MSWord file)

Sample MA Capstone Abstracts

Submitting the Finished Project

Submit the following to the Graduate Services Coordinator by the last day of classes in order to participate in the Capstone Symposium:

1. An electronic copy of the full document, including an unsigned title page and abstract, emailed to the Graduate Services Coordinator at

2. A signed title page, signed only by you and your capstone advisor. You may scan and email this along with your full document, or you may submit a hard copy.

NOTE: We have updated the process of submitting your capstone project so please read the above information carefully. Also, we've added the option of permitting your work to be used as an example for future students. If you permit us to share your project, please sign and submit the Release Form with your full document. You'll find this form in the Format for Title Page and Abstract link above. Please also note that you may sign the Release Form with a digital signature in Adobe Reader so that you can email it along with your full document to Or you may submit a hard copy.

Presenting at the Capstone Symposium

All students will present their capstone projects in a series of symposia scheduled during the final exam period.  Students will offer 15-20 minute presentations during which they will summarize for members of the graduate faculty and other students the intellectual and/or creative merits of their capstone essays or projects.  A brief (5-10 minute) question and answer period will follow each presentation.

Graduation Timeline

In your first year:

  • Create your Plan of Work (POW). Make sure to save your POW only. You will not submit your POW for approval until your final semester.
  • Sign the Patent Agreement in your POW.

3rd semester (or after 15 hours):

  • Decide on capstone topic and identify your capstone advisor in time to register for ENG 676 for final semester.  To reserve a seat in ENG 676, add your name to the sign-up sheet in T246 during the registration period. Your seat will be confirmed when you submit your approved capstone proposal. Proposals are due no later than the last day of class, but keep an eye on posted billing deadlines to avoid late charges.  You'll want to finalize your spring schedule as soon as possible.
    ​Please also keep in mind that faculty are planning their semesters as well and may not be able to accommodate last-minute requests.
  • Add your capstone advisor (Chair) to your GPOW, via the Committee tab. Save your GPOW. Note: your Committee will only consist of your Capstone Advisor (Chair). 

Final semester:

  • Meet with your capstone advisor to agree on a timeline for submission of your drafts and revisions. The final draft must be approved by your advisor and submitted to the Graduate Services Coordinator by the last day of class.
  • Complete your Plan of Work and submit for approval
  • Apply to Graduate via MyPack at least two weeks in advance of the Graduate School’s deadline (the Graduate School’s Academic Calendar), so that your application can be reviewed and approved by the DGP before the deadline
  • Submit drafts and revisions by the dates stipulated by your capstone advisor
  • Complete your project and submit the following to the Graduate Services Coordinator by the last day of class:
    • An electronic copy of your completed capstone document, including title page and abstract. Submit this to
    • A print copy of the title page and abstract, signed by your capstone advisor and the DGP.
  • Coordinating with your capstone advisor, schedule and present your capstone project in the Graduate Symposium (during final exam period)

M.A. Course Offerings

Below are course offerings by subject area.

  • ENG 539 Studies in World Literature
  • ENG 582 Studies in Literature 
  • ENG 583 Studies in Rhetoric and Composition
  • ENG 584 Studies in Linguistics
  • ENG 585 Studies in Film
  • ENG 586 Studies in Theory
  • ENG 587 Interdisciplinary Studies in English
  • ENG 590 Studies in Creative Writing
  • ENG 591 Studies in National Cinemas
  • ENG 592 Special Topics in Film and Styles and Genres

Examples of recently offered topics by course:

ENG 539 Studies in World Literature

  • Metamorphosis
  • Global Modernisms
  • Chinese Science Fiction
  • East Asian Lyric Poetry
  • 3rd World Feminism
  • Caribbean Literature
  • Ancient History as Literature
  • East Asian Lyric Poetry

ENG 582 Studies in Literature

  • Cormac McCarthy
  • History of the Book
  • Victorian Media Studies
  • Poetry and the Visual Arts
  • Irish Short Story
  • Romance and Repentance
  • Studies in Digital Humanities
  • Contemporary Southern Novel
  • The Global 18th Century
  • Styles of Truthtelling
  • Medieval Women Writers
  • Transnational Modernisms
  • Early 20th Century Poetry
  • Langston Hughes and Pop Culture 
  • 20th Century Irish Drama
  • 18th and 19th Century Female Poets
  • 19th Century American Novel

ENG 583 Studies in Rhetoric and Composition

  • Emerging Genres
  • Writing Program Administration
  • Digital Media Theory
  • Analysis of Verbal Data
  • Social Networking
  • Introduction to Digital Humanities
  • Intercultural Professional and Technical Communication

ENG 584 Studies in Linguistics

  • Laboratory Phonology
  • Ethnolinguistics
  • Laboratory and Comp Tools
  • Ethnicity and Language

ENG 585 Studies in Film

  • Studio Era Hollywood
  • Nonfiction Film
  • European Film: 1945- Present
  • Moving Image/ Media Archaeology
  • War Documentaries
  • Film and the Archive
  • New Queer Cinema
  • Educational Film
  • Contemporary American Cinema
  • Violence and Cinema
  • Media Style and Authorship

ENG 586 Studies in Theory

  • Post-Colonial Theory

ENG 587 Interdisciplinary Studies in English

  • American Reading Cultures
  • Introduction to Digital Humanities 
  • Thinking with Things: Multimodal Composition and Critical Making

ENG 590 Studies in Creative Writing

  • Studies in Urban Poetry
  • Latino Voiices and Cultures
  • The Personal Essay
  • The Novella
  • Literary Style
  • Memoir
  • Screenwriting and Adaptation
  • Creative Non-Fiction
  • Fiction and Poetry of East Asia
  • The Mannerists

ENG 591 Studies in National Cinemas

  • Cinema and the Nation

ENG 592 Special Topics in Film Styles and Genres

  • Film Comedy and Modernity
  • The Film Musical
  • Cinema Stylists
  • Spanish Thriller
  • Film and the 1990s
  • Hong Kong Cinema
  • Contemporary European Cinema
  • Genre in Eastern and Southern Asian Cinema
  • Race in German Film
  • Modern Asian Cinema
  • Film and the 1980s 
  • Cinema and the New Europe
  • Cinema Stylists: Fuller and Ray
  • Science Fiction
  • Cinema of the 1970s 
  • Hitchcock and Wilder
  • ENG 509 Old English Literature
  • ENG 510 Middle English Literature
  • ENG 529 16th Century Nondramatic Literature
  • ENG 530 17th Century Nondramatic Literature
  • ENG 551 Chaucer
  • ENG 558 Studies in Shakespeare
  • ENG 561 Milton
  • ENG 578 English Drama - 1580-1642
  • ENG 582 Studies in Literature (when topic applies)
  • ENG 550 English Romantic Period
  • ENG 560 Victorian Poetry and Prose Nonfiction
  • ENG 562 18th Century English Literature
  • ENG 563 18th Century English Novel
  • ENG 564 Victorian Novel
  • ENG 570 20th Century British Prose
  • ENG 571 20th Century British Poetry
  • ENG 572 20th Century British Drama
  • ENG 579 Restoration and 18th Century Drama
  • ENG 582 Studies in Literature (when topic applies)
  • ENG 531 American Colonial Literature
  • ENG 548 African American Literature
  • ENG 555 American Romantic Period
  • ENG 565 American Realism and Naturalism
  • ENG 573 Modern American Drama
  • ENG 575 Southern Writers
  • ENG 576 20th Century American Poetry
  • ENG 577 20th Century American Prose
  • ENG 580 Literary Postmodernism
  • ENG 582 Studies in Literature (when topic applies)
  • ENG 539 Studies in World Literature
  • ENG 549 Modern African Literature
  • ENG 532 Narrative Analysis
  • ENG 540 History of Literary Criticism
  • ENG 541 Contemporary Literary Theory
  • ENG 580 Literary Postmodernism
  • ENG 582 Studies in Literature (when topic applies)
  • ENG 586 Studies in Theory
  • ENG 523 Language Variation Research Seminar
  • ENG 524 Introduction to Linguistics
  • ENG 525 Variety in Language
  • ENG 526 History of the English Language
  • ENG 527 Discourse Analysis
  • ENG 528 Sociophonetics
  • ENG 533 Bilingualism and Language Contact
  • ENG 534 Quantitative Analysis in Sociolinguistics
  • ENG 584 Studies in Linguistics (rotating special topics)
  • ENG 511 Theory and Research in Composition
  • ENG 513 Empirical Research in Composition
  • ENG 514 History of Rhetoric
  • ENG 515 Rhetoric of Science and Technology
  • ENG 516 Rhetorical Criticism: Theory and Practice
  • ENG 583 Studies in Rhetoric and Composition (rotating special topics)

MA Capstone Abstracts Archive 2012 to Present

Fall 2015

Megan Myers, A Girl's Place in Space: Teaching Rhetoric through Contemporary Young Adult Science Fiction.

Kaitlyn Pierce, Constructing Irish Masculinity: Re-defining and Re-imagining Irish Masculinity through the Short Stories of Kevin Barry

Spring 2015

Judith Bond, "Can't Keep My Mind off of You:" Haunting as an Establishing Factor for Female Identity and Agency in the American Gothic Tradition

Diana Bryan, "You are mythical after all": Young Adult Paranormal Romance and the New Folklore

Allison DeVille, "She-Wolf Imperfectly Tamed": Madness, Foreignness, and Female Subjectivity in Bleak House and Jane Eyre

Lucas DiPerna, Shifting Walls: An Interpretation of Rejection and Denial in House of Leaves

Kristie Ellison, Leaving on the Light: Creating Hope by Building a Community with the Reader and Adopting Its Morals in Young Adult Dystopian Literature

James Ensley, Fragmentary Piers Plowman: A Description, Digital Edition and Literary Analysis Of The Poem's Extant Fragments

Heather Harris, "Assembled from the Original":Visuality and Embodiment in Gris Grimly's Frankenstein

Madison Helman, "Hang Your Head and Cry": A Re-Examination of Western North Carolina Murder Ballads

Jody Herring, 'A Meaning Which Includes All Things': Science and Religion in Edward Abbey's Desert Solitaire

Eileen Heyes, Madness, Confession and the Cultural Moment: How Two Victorian Tales Seized Their Day

Robyn Luney, Biopower and the Boomerang Effect in Richard Wright's Native Son and Tayeb Salih's Season of Migration to the North

Katie McCreary, Cultural Identity, Cultural Memory, and Dance in African American Literature

Michael Wocher, "What would you say you do here?": Emerson's Critique of Modern Labor

Fall 2014

Elizabeth Gehringer, A Therapeutic Treatment for Trauma and Violence: Islamic Feminism in Nawal El Saadawi's Woman at Point Zero and Khaled Hosseini's A Thousand Splendid Suns.

Joel Orr, Performance Theory in a Pedagogical Approach to Prespective(s) in Flannery O'Connor's "Revelation."

Khaki Stelten, The Body-Politic in Pieces: Reflections of the English Succession Crisis through Disjointed Body Parts in Titus Andronicus, Othello, and King Lear

Summer 2014

Gretchen Walters, The Price of Prejudice: Narrating Ethnicity in Willa Cather's My Antonia.

Spring 2014

Vincent Agosta, Returning to Omelas: A formal Analysis of Ursula K. Le Guin's "The Ones Who Walk Away from Omelas" and its Relationship to Traditionalist Narrative Structure and Postmodernism

Kristina Bender, A Recursive Processing Sketchbook: Programming Play with Language and Numeracy

Evan Brisson, The Digital Wasteland: An Acoustic Enactment of T.S. Eliot's The Waste Land

Kayla Forrest, More Than a Moment: American Expatriate Writers in Paris from the Lost Generation to the Twenty-First Century

Stuart Hubbard, Through a Glass Darkly: Translating Performance and Selfhood in Richard Yate's Revolutionary Road

Erin Kayajian, Regimenting Gender Under Trujillo and Duvalier: Female Spiritual Repression and Recovery

Kerri McMurray, Economics of Hybrid Spaces in Gaskell's North and South

Valerie Voight, False Females: Metamorphosis and Mutability in The Faerie Queene

Herman Joseph Wright, Atomic America And Ferlinghetti's Identity Poetics: The Reclamation of Radical Innocence in an Age Less Charged, Less Mythic, and More Fallen

Fall 2013

Rebecca Brodney, Guinevere: An Exploration of Queenship and Authority in Arthurian Legend

Donald Ward, Lacan and Idealism: Borgesian Time in David Mitchell’s Cloud Atlas

Nicholas Winstead, Holy Orientalism! Batman, Anti-Japanese Depiction, and the 1940s

Amber Woolsey, Bodily Disorders: Spectacle and Self-Abnegation in The Blazing World, Roxana, and Great Expectations

Summer 2013

Sierra Moore, Octavia Butler’s Subversive Heroes

Spring 2013

Bethany Bradshaw, The [Im]materiality of Memory: A Comparative Media-Specific Analysis of Scott McCarney’s Memory Loss, Anne Carson’s Nox, and Reiner Strasser’s In The White Darkness

Amanda Bryan, Decolonization and Mysticism in William Butler Yeats’s The Celtic Twilight and The Secret Rose

Jacob Clayton, A World of One’s Own: Cavendish’s Fanciful Places and the Male Academy

Jill Coyle, David Lee’s The Porcine Canticles: Creating a New American Mythology

Jana Koehler, “I Ain’t Precious”:Embracing Shame in Sapphire’s Push

James Kornegay, Women in the West: American Idealism in Willa Cather’s My Antonia and A Lost Lady

Bruce Lamont, Reading William Faulkner’s “A Rose for Emily,” “Dry September” and “Fox Hunt” in their Historical and Discursive Contexts

Miranda Langston, Lesbianism in Southern Women’s Writings: Rubyfruit Jungle and The Revolution of Little Girls

Christopher Murray, “To write what nobody peruses”:The Romanticism of F.T. Prince

Lucas Nossaman, Agriculture and Biblical Tradition in Jewett’s ‘A Dunnet Shepherdess

Alexandra Olney, Portents of Darwinism: Evolution and Regression in Wuthering Heights

Cynthia Potter, “Bringing The Scarlet Letter to Life for Modern Students” 

Catherine Rose, Haunted Houses, Haunted Minds: An Analysis of Liminal Spaces in the Supernatural Fiction of Henry James

Erik Russ, “It’s a Man’s, Man’s, Man’s World:” Peter Taylor’s Investigation of Potential Social Orders through the Female Characters in The Oracle at Stoneleigh Court

Logan Taylor, Life and Death, Loyalty and Treason in Shakespearean Tragedy

Deniz Alemdar Tuck, Wounded Earth, Groaning Nature: Milton’s Ecotheological Hermeneutics in Paradise Lost

Ian Wolf, Zombies and Tulips: Predestination and Time Travel

Hanhan Zhang, Attitude and Act: Recontextualizing Li Qingzhao’s poetry

Fall 2012

Elizabeth Cooper, English Pastoral in Milton's Lycidas and Wordsworth's Michael

David Gatewood, "the truth will be there yet": History, Violence and Representation in Cormac McCarthy and Tim O'Brien 

Rachel Phillips, The Canonization of Young Adult Literature: Lessons from William Wordsworth in "Preface to Lyrical Ballads"

Fall 2015

Cadwell Turnbull, Vernacular Third Person and the Politics of Accessibility

Spring 2015

Lacey Arnold, The Role of Production in Perception of Vowel Merger: A Study of pre-/I/ Mergers in Youngstown, Ohio

Kellam Barta, Your voices will be heard: Raising awareness of language diversity through an expanded outreach program

Angela Tramontelli, Living Languages: Developing Sociolinguistic Curricula in Foreign Language Teaching

Fall 2014

Kendra Intihar, Dialect Preservation and Leveling in Hickory, North Carolina

Spring 2014

Erin Adamson, In the Words of my Sister: Use and Function of Constructed Dialogue in a Natural-Haired Community

May Chung, The Hmong Among Many: A Descriptive Analysis of a Southern Interlanguage Variety

Meghan Cooper, The Linguistic Transformation of a Tobacco Town: Southern Features in Winston-Salem and Forsyth County, NC

Jaclyn Daugherty, Spatial Language and Homeland Language Variety in Shaping American Indian Identity: The Cherokee and Lumbee of North Carolina

Shivonne Gates, Style and intra-speaker variation in African American English: A multi-dimensional approach

Laura Griffith, Prosodic variation of adolescent Hispanic heritage speakers in central North Carolina

Jon Inscoe, Sorority Talk: An Intonational Study

Md. Jahurul Islam, Explaining four-way stop categories in Bangla: Perspectives of Harmonicity, Intensity, Center of Gravity, and Open Quotient

Samina Khan, An Integrated Study of Language Attitudes Among the Burushaski Speakers of Hunza

Megan Risdal, An acoustic and articulatory study of coarticulatory vowel nasalization in two dialects of English

Martha Summerlin, Voice Onset Timing in L1 and L2 Speakers in North Carolina and Texas

Spring 2013

Jon Forrest, The Times They Are A-Changin’: (ING) Variation and Dialect Leveling in Raleigh, NC

Michael Fox, Quantifying cross-dialectal variation in vowel-to-consonant coarticulation using locus equations

Caroline Myrick, Putting Saban English on the Map: A Descriptive
Analysis of English Language Variation on Saba

Joel Schneier, Sociolexting in Texting: Social and Relational Negotiation through Text-Messaging

Liang Zhang, When English Meets Cantonese --- A phonological and prosodic study on Hong Kong English

Spring 2015

Jennifer Bedard, Peer Review in ENG 101 and its Influence on Students' Attitudes, Beliefs and Feedback-Seeking Behavior

Cassie Curtis, Using Multimedia Technologies to Meet the Goals of Universal Design for Learning in Composition Courses: A Curricular Unit

Gavin Johnson, Click Here For an A; or, Grade Distribution Data, Student Course Choice, and the Implications of a Grade-Driven University

Julie Schurr, "Wecome to the Distributorship!": The Construction of Discursive Power and Manipulation in the Evangelical "Prosperity Gospel" Movement

Jordan Smith, Student Perceptions of Knowledge Transfer in the First-Year Writing Classroom

Fall 2014

Robert Hazelgrove, The Boundaries are Limitless: Use Values and Generic Instability in Contemporary Music

Summer 2014

Denise Sawyer, A Peer-Centered Approach: A Case Study on the Experiences of Early College High School Writing Tutors.

Spring 2014

Skyler Bunn, Lacan and the Unconscious Function of Ideology: Subjectivizing Avatar's Hyperreal Fantasy

Nesren Elhertani, Understanding Information Literacy in the Digital Age: A Review of the Research on Students' Research Process

Sarah Greenberg, Gluten-free College Life: A Case Study of Students with Celiac Disease at NC State University

Juliana Kocsis, "There Wasn't Much Writing Involved": Teaching a Multimodal Project in a FYW Course

Molly Meachum, Writing at the Agricultural Institute: Reflections from Faculty and Student Survey Results and Self-Perceptions

Charlotte Mitchell, "Haunting Back:" The Subaltern Gothic and Genre as Cultural Haunting

Heather Nocera, The Imagined Communities of Nonprofit Twitter

Lauren Taylor, Teaching Writing to All: Teaching Strategies for Students with Learning Disabilities and Basic Writers

Meridel Thomson, Writing Chronic Pain: A Metacritical and Creative Practice of the Rhetoric of Pain

Spring 2013

Melanie Cregger, Hearing Voices: Addressing Student Reflection in the Genre-Based Classroom

Jessica Odom, Countervailing University Commemoration: For Whom Do the Bells Toll?

Amy Pippi, Informal Research Talk: A resource for academic socialization of international students

Nikki Weickum, The Rhetoric of Democratic Constitution: A Comparative Social Movement Analysis of Occupy Wall Street and Barack Obama’s 2008 Presidential Campaign