Syllabus for HUS-495



The six-credit Bachelor-Level Human Services Capstone is an in-depth, student-centered experience that requires the integration of theory and practical experience. In this course you apply the skills and techniques you have learned, as well as your knowledge of agencies and culturally diverse client populations, to a specific project. The project will identify an issue, problem, information gap, or creative endeavor in which you will explore, research, evaluate, and theorize in a final paper. On successful completion of the course, you will have met the learning outcomes of the Human Services degree program.


To successfully complete this course, you will be expected to:

  1. Demonstrate proficiency as an independent learner and critical thinker by analyzing and documenting your training and job responsibilities, applying theory to practice, and preparing a comprehensive research paper on an issue, problem, information gap, or creative endeavor..
  2. Evaluate agency policies and procedures by identifying an issue, problem, information gap, or creative endeavor in your field of study as the focus of a capstone project.
  3. Apply two major theories in your field of study and two theories in management to the explanation of agency policies and procedures as they relate to the capstone project.
  4. Design a capstone project based on previously studied theory and coursework to resolve the issue, problem, information gap, or creative endeavor identified.
  5. Research, interpret, and critically analyze literature pertaining to the capstone project.
  6. Synthesize research findings, theories, and practice into a comprehensive explanation and resolution of the issue, problem, information gap, or creative endeavor identified.
  7. Summarize the historical development, current state, and future direction of your field of study as related to the capstone project.
  8. Critique the code of ethics in your field of study and agency as it applies to the capstone project.
  9. Apply cultural diversity to the field of human services, your agency, and capstone project.
  1. Revise and submit an ethically responsible final project in an academic, professional format that serves as a bridge to your future work or employment.


You will use the following materials to complete your capstone:


The Bachelor-Level Human Services Capstone consists of seven modules. Each module includes an overview, list of topics, module objectives, list of study materials, one or more activities, and additional resources to help you with your assignments. The module structure is as follows:


For your formal work in the course, you are required to complete eight essay assignments; prepare and submit an outline, draft, and final capstone paper; and take a standardized proficiency profile from Educational Testing Service (see below for details). All assignments will be graded by the mentor with the use of an evaluation rubric designed for the particular assignment.

Essay Assignments

The eight essay assignments in Modules 1–4 each address a particular component of your final capstone paper and thus prepare you, step by step, for outlining and writing your paper. Each assignment is worth 4.75% of your course grade for a total of 38%.

Prepare your essay assignments using whatever word processing program you have on your computer. Include your name at the top of the paper, as well as the course name and code and the semester and year in which you are enrolled.

Before submitting your first assignment, check with your mentor to determine whether your word processing software is compatible with your mentor's software. If so, you can submit your work as you prepared it. If not, save your assignment as a rich-text format (.rtf) file, using the Save As command of your software program. Rich text retains basic formatting and can be read by any other word processing program.

When satisfied that your assignment represents your best work, submit it to your mentor.

Capstone Paper

You will complete your capstone paper in three stages, beginning with a comprehensive outline in Module 5 (worth 5% of your course grade), continuing with a draft of your paper in Module 6 (worth 20%), and culminating in the submission of your final paper at the end of Module 7 (worth 35%).

ETS Proficiency Profile

This course requires that you complete an assessment called the ETS® Proficiency Profile. This test, offered through Educational Testing Service (ETS), measures general academic knowledge and skills in the core areas of reading, mathematics, writing, and critical thinking. It is a widely accepted standardized assessment tool that will provide the University with important data to assess its overall quality and effectiveness in meeting the general education needs of our students. It serves as a valuable tool in helping us measure progress in achieving established learning goals and evaluate the effectiveness of our programs.


The ETS Proficiency Profile is administered in a non-proctored, online format. It should take you no longer than 45 minutes to complete. The confidentiality of your responses and scores will be protected. Your individual score will not be recorded, but you will receive a certain percentage of your overall grade (see Syllabus for details) for completing the assessment. Consult the course Calendar for the due dates for taking this test.


Please use the following link that explains the steps involved in taking the exam, including the system checks that must be completed prior to taking the exam: ETS Proficiency Exam Instructions. Please read all instructions prior to taking the exam and allow extra time to complete the system checks.


To receive credit for completing the ETS Proficiency Profile, post a comment about the test and your experience taking it to the ETS Proficiency Profile discussion forum. In your posting, indicate the date on which you took and completed the test. For students taking a Guided Study version of the course, you may be asked to submit this information as an assignment instead of posting it to a discussion forum. Your mentor will verify your participation and will give you credit for it. Upon completing the test, you will receive a confirmation email from ETS. Retain this email for your records as verification that you completed the test.


Your grade in the course will be determined as follows:

All activities will receive a numerical grade of 0–100. You will receive a score of 0 for any work not submitted. Your final grade in the course will be a letter grade. Letter grade equivalents for numerical grades are as follows:






























Below 60

To receive credit for the course, you must earn a letter grade of C or better (for an area of study course) or D or better (for a course not in your area of study), based on the weighted average of all assigned course work (e.g., exams, assignments, discussion postings, etc.).


First Steps to Success

To succeed in this course, take the following first steps:

Study Tips

Consider the following study tips for success:


Thomas Edison State University is committed to maintaining academic quality, excellence, and honesty. The University expects all members of its community to share the commitment to academic integrity, an essential component of a quality academic experience.

Students at Thomas Edison State University are expected to exhibit the highest level of academic citizenship. In particular, students are expected to read and follow all policies, procedures, and program information guidelines contained in publications; pursue their learning goals with honesty and integrity; demonstrate that they are progressing satisfactorily and in a timely fashion by meeting course deadlines and following outlined procedures; observe a code of mutual respect in dealing with mentors, staff, and other students; behave in a manner consistent with the standards and codes of the profession in which they are practicing; keep official records updated regarding changes in name, address, telephone number, or e-mail address; and meet financial obligations in a timely manner. Students not practicing good academic citizenship may be subject to disciplinary action including suspension, dismissal, or financial holds on records.

All members of the University community are responsible for reviewing the Academic Code of Conduct Policy in the University Catalog and online at

Academic Dishonesty

Thomas Edison State University expects all of its students to approach their education with academic integrity—the pursuit of scholarly activity free from fraud and deception. All mentors and administrative staff members at the University insist on strict standards of academic honesty in all courses. Academic dishonesty undermines this objective. Academic dishonesty can take the following forms:


Thomas Edison State University is committed to helping students understand the seriousness of plagiarism, which is defined as using the work and ideas of others without proper citation. The University takes a strong stance against plagiarism, and students found to be plagiarizing are subject to discipline under the academic code of conduct policy.

If you copy phrases, sentences, paragraphs, or whole documents word-for-word—or if you paraphrase by changing a word here and there—without identifying the author, or without identifying it as a direct quote, then you are plagiarizing. Please keep in mind that this type of identification applies to Internet sources as well as to print-based sources. Copying and pasting from the Internet, without using quotation marks and without acknowledging sources, constitutes plagiarism. (For information about how to cite Internet sources, see Online Student Handbook > Academic Standards > “Citing Sources.”)

Accidentally copying the words and ideas of another writer does not excuse the charge of plagiarism. It is easy to jot down notes and ideas from many sources and then write your own paper without knowing which words are your own and which are someone else’s. It is more difficult to keep track of each and every source. However, the conscientious writer who wishes to avoid plagiarizing never fails to keep careful track of sources.

Always be aware that if you write without acknowledging the sources of your ideas, you run the risk of being charged with plagiarism.

Clearly, plagiarism, no matter the degree of intent to deceive, defeats the purpose of education. If you plagiarize deliberately, you are not educating yourself, and you are wasting your time on courses meant to improve your skills. If you plagiarize through carelessness, you are deceiving yourself.

For examples of unintentional plagiarism, advice on when to quote and when to paraphrase, and information about writing assistance and originality report checking, click the links provided below.

Examples of Unintentional Plagiarism

When to Quote and When to Paraphrase

Writing Assistance at Smarthinking

Originality Report Checking at Turnitin

Disciplinary Process for Plagiarism

Acts of both intentional and unintentional plagiarism violate the Academic Code of Conduct.

If an incident of plagiarism is an isolated minor oversight or an obvious result of ignorance of proper citation requirements, the mentor may handle the matter as a learning exercise. Appropriate consequences may include the completion of tutorials, assignment rewrites, or any other reasonable learning tool in addition to a lower grade for the assignment or course. The mentor will notify the student and appropriate dean of the consequence by e-mail.

If the plagiarism appears intentional and/or is more than an isolated incident, the mentor will refer the matter to the appropriate dean, who will gather information about the violation(s) from the mentor and student, as necessary. The dean will review the matter and notify the student in writing of the specifics of the charge and the sanction to be imposed.

Possible sanctions include:

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