Capstone Essay Guidelines

For their essay, students may choose any topic of interest to them within the field of European Studies. Students are also free to choose any member of the Notre Dame faculty to direct their essay, though the Nanovic Institute recommends choosing an advisor from the institute’s List of Nanovic Fellows because of their established interest in European Studies. Both the chosen topic and faculty advisor must be approved by the Director of Undergraduate Studies before permission for credit hour registration will be granted. The MES essay should be a research project based on six to eight primary sources in addition to secondary material.  Students must adhere to the Academic Code of Honor when writing their essay and must therefore include citations in all appropriate situations, as well as corresponding bibliographic end material.

All students in the MES who write a capstone essay will be considered for The J. Robert Wegs Prize for Best Minor in European Studies Capstone Essay

More on The Wegs Prize


Students should follow these style guidelines in writing their essays:

  • 15 to 20 pages, double-spaced
  • 1-inch margins on all sides
  • 12-point Times New Roman font
  • page numbers in lower right corner

The paper must include a cover page with the following pieces of information, also in 12-point Times New Roman font:

  • title of the essay
  • student’s name
  • essay director’s name (e.g. Directed by . . . )
  • course information (EURO 48001—MES Research Capstone)
  • term information (e.g. Fall 2019)

Additional Information

  • Citations and corresponding bibliographic material should be formatted in one of three accepted styles—MLA, APA, or Chicago—as agreed upon with the essay director.
  • Students may include notes, illustrations, or appendices in their essays, but this end material may not be used to reach the required length.
  • The essay director may have additional expectations in addition to the above.  Students should clarify these with their directors as soon as possible and should follow them as required.
  • The essay is due on the last day of classes. Students should submit one copy to the essay director (for grading) and one copy to the Nanovic Institute offices (file copy).

The Nanovic Institute also encourages using The Notre Dame Writing Center as a resource for your writing process.