Capstone Project

Certificate in International Learning Capstone Project

The capstone project is the final requirement for the Certificate and should be undertaken only when most of the other requirements have been satisfied.

What is a CIL capstone project?

The CIL capstone project is a personal essay, where you reflect on what you have learned as you completed the various components of the Certificate (e.g., coursework, experiential learning, co-curricular activities, language learning and intercultural training).

In your capstone, you should demonstrate your achievement of the CIL learning outcomes:

  • Knowledge of international and global issues and systems.
  • Understanding of the interconnectedness of systems and of local and global issues.
  • Knowledge of other countries, cultures, and understanding of one's own culture as one worldview in a global context.
  • Ability to apply one's awareness and understanding of culture and language skills to communicate and interact with people of other cultures in local or international contexts.

When is it due?

If you are convocating in June (i.e. your coursework is complete by the end of December or April), your capstone project is due March 1.

If you are convocating in November (i.e. your coursework is complete by the end of August), your capstone is due August 1.

How long should it be?

1000 - 1500 words

What makes a good capstone project?

In the best capstone projects, students analyze the full range of their CIL-related experiences.

Here are some tips


  • Reflect on your personal experience.
  • Analyze your experiences. Tell us what you learned and how you've changed.
  • Be specific, give examples and use lively language to illustrate your points.
  • Consider the full range of activities (i.e. orientation, intercultural experience, courses, language learning, co-curricular participation, intercultural communication training).
  • Honour the uniqueness of your experience. What are your CIL takeaways?
  • Use correct grammar and syntax (i.e. write using complete sentences to express your thoughts and spell check your work).

Do Not

  • Write an academic paper
  • Merely describe your experiences. Tell us what you did.
  • Use vague generalizations and opaque, hyperbolic language (i.e. wonderful, awesome, amazing).
  • Focus on a single requirement (i.e. your abroad experience).
  • Follow a formula or copy a model capstone we have provided.

I'm not sure what to write about. Any suggestions?

Some questions worth considering might be:

  • What have I learned from completing the Certificate? What did I learn about myself? How have I changed?
  • What is my biggest takeaway? What was the highlight of the Certificate for me? Why was that experience/learning so powerful?
  • What most surprised me about _______________? (Fill in the blank with studying abroad, learning another language, exploring global issues and/or interacting with different cultures). In retrospect, why was that surprising?
  • Has this program answered old questions? If so, how so? Has it raised new ones? If so, what are the burning questions that I'm left with?

Are there alternative formats for the capstone?

While most students choose to do a written reflection, we have accepted capstone projects in a variety of formats, from PowerPoint presentations to posters to poems. Students who submit a non-traditional capstone project must submit a 500-700 word explanation of their project.

If you are interested in submitting a non-traditional project, you must first seek the permission and advice of the CIL Academic Director.

How do I submit my capstone project?

Initial capstone projects are emailed in .docx format to Approved capstone projects must be attached to a capstone claim and submitted on the CIL Online Portal. Please ensure your approved capstone project is saved and attached as a .pdf file. See How to Claim Your Capstone Project for additional, required details.

What happens after I've submitted it?

The CIL Academic Director will review the entire cohort of capstone projects and may ask you for revisions before deciding to approve or not approve the project.

Once your project is approved, upload the revised/final copy as a PDF file that is no larger than 20 mB to the CIL Online Portal and we will approve your capstone claim.

What should I expect at the capstone celebration session?

At the end of each term, graduating students may share the highlights of their capstone project with one another at an informal gathering. If you submitted a capstone project, you will be invited to a capstone celebration session by email. The capstone celebration is not required in order to receive your CIL.

The structure of capstone celebration sessions can vary depending on the number of graduates. Please refer to your email invitation for specific details.

Typically, students are organized into small groups and partake in relatively short individual reflections (approximately 5 minutes each), followed by whole-group discussion.

When are capstone celebration sessions?

Typically, capstone celebration sessions take place in October (for November grads) and April (for June grads). Students are invited to these sessions by email.