- Alternative Capstone Experience
- SMP Resources
- Highlighted SMP Projects
- Asian Studies Department SMP Guidelines
What is an SMP?
The St. Mary’s Project is a year-long, 8-credit, independently designed and executed course of study intended as a capstone experience for a student’s time at St. Mary’s. Working in close conjunction with one or more professors, in or outside of the Asian Studies department, you have the opportunity to explore, in depth, a question or idea that entrances and intrigues you. Many—although by no means all—SMPs are interdisciplinary, bringing together threads from earlier classes taken across the curriculum. The College has established certain guidelines for the SMP:
- It must be student-initiated
- It must demonstrate methodological competence (by identifying an area to be explored and proposing a method of inquiry appropriate for the topic)
- It must draw on and extend knowledge, skills of analysis, and creative achievement developed through previous academic work. It must include a reflection on the social context, the body of literature, or the conceptual framework to which the project is a contribution
- It must be shared with the larger community through some form of public presentation.
First year students and sophomores:
- Consider your interests and keep track of favorite and interesting topics
- Don’t be too specific, keep it broad
- Talk to friends and seniors doing projects.
- Attend SMPs and look over the archives
First semester of junior year:
- Consider whether you want to collaborate with others. Note that collaborating with students will not necessarily make your work load easier
- Think about whether you want to do the project in two 4-credit blocks or employ some other sequence
Second semester of junior year:
- Narrow your choice to one or two topics
- Discuss and develop your topic ideas with faculty members who might be good mentors.
- Talk to the St. Mary’s Career Center if you want to include an off-campus component to your project.
- Decide if you will be collaborating with a fellow student.
- Have a good idea of what you want to do by advising day.
- Select a faculty mentor in the spring semester.
- Submit a formal proposal
- Work closely with your faculty mentor.
- Submit the budget request form by late October (option to resubmit in March).
- Complete research, hands-on experience, written essay, or poster.
- Present in the Spring semester
How to Choose a Topic
- What areas of Asian Studies interest you?
- What are your career interests?
- Do you want a project to include specific experiences such as doing an off-campus internship or conducting on-site research?
- What was your favorite class and why?
- Would a topic from a class be something you would like to pursue further?
Alternative Capstone Experience
Asian Studies majors are required to complete an eight-credit SMP. However, it does not have to be an Asian Studies SMP.
- Students may choose to complete an interdisciplinary SMP, of which only four credit hours consist in ASIA 493/494, but they must also complete four credit hours chosen from any 300-400 level Asian Studies courses in addition to the major requirements.
- Students may also complete an SMP entirely outside of the Asian Studies department, but they must also complete eight credit hours chosen from any 300-400 level Asian
- Studies courses in addition to the major requirements.
Highlighted SMP Project
Rachael Carter ’07: “Chicken Tikka Masala: Literature of the South Asian Diaspora in Britain”
50% of non-white Britons are of South Asian descent, and the multiple south Asian communities and cultures of Great Britain—focused in London—are a vibrant part of national life. Using four novels written by Britons of South Asian descent, this St. Mary’s Project explores the impact and aftermath of reverse colonization in Great Britain.
Asian Studies Department SMP Guidelines
Students preparing to begin their St. Mary’s Projects should submit a proposal to the program coordinator in the spring of their junior year. Proposal deadlines and procedures will be announced each spring. Students wishing to begin their SMP mid-year should submit a proposal to the program coordinator prior to the last week of scheduled classes in the fall semester.