All College of Philosophy and Letters programs aim to provide students with basic tools for intelligent reflection on contexts of Christian ministry and service. The capstone project that concludes each program puts those tools to work by confronting the challenges and problems that arise in the service of the Gospel and the common good.
In organizing its programs around the capstone, the college seeks to implement the 2014 guidelines set forth by Adolfo Nicolás, S.J., who identified the central task of Jesuit First Studies programs with learning to reflect on the “context of mission,” which for Jesuits involves “the service of faith, the promotion of justice, dialogue with cultures and religions.”
As a student enrolled in the College of Philosophy and Letters, in your first semester you begin to plan for the capstone project. Your first task is to identify and describe a social-institutional context in which specific challenges confront the work of Christian service. Over the years students have tackled a wide range of contexts and challenges, leading them to write on such topics as:
- Challenges of cross cultural adjustment for immigrants
- Helping non-believers become aware of God's love
- Suffering and its meaning for human existence and personal growth
- Social media and its effect on practices of friendship
- How to understand the preferential option for the poor in the U.S. today
- Fostering a sense of mission in Jesuit higher education
- Environmental challenges of caring for our common home
The capstone project requires you to address a specific question or problem posed by your chosen context of ministry, using tools you have acquired through your coursework in the program and your personal experience.
Besides the capstone course, Jesuit students must also take a preliminary capstone preparation course (optional for other students), in which they develop the key philosophical positions that will inform their treatment of the capstone problem. The capstone preparation should cover three or four areas of philosophy, selected with a view to their potential relevance for the capstone project.