The formal SAGES capstone program is based on courses offered by individual academic departments within the university. These courses may vary widely in nature, as deemed appropriate for various disciplines by the department offering each course. Some SAGES capstone courses will involve individual research while others are based on group design projects. Some courses may be similar to an advanced seminar while others will require live performances or other creative endeavors. In some courses, faculty will define the topic on which a course is based while other courses will provide students the option - or even the requirement - of doing work based on their own ideas. There are, however, some unifying principles for all SAGES capstones. Across the university, SAGES capstones must include:
- Critical thinking on the part of the student.
- Clear goals with an appropriate plan of action.
- Regular oversight by the project adviser.
- Periodic reporting of progress.
- Regular writing (e.g. drafts, progress reports, critiques) throughout the project including a final written report which may be a thesis or equivalent document associated with the project or activity, (e.g., such pursuits as performance, experiment, live case analysis, or creative writing), as approved by the department of capstone origin.
- A public presentation at the Senior Capstone Fair, a conference, a performance, a public lecture, a teaching presentation, or other, as approved by the department of capstone origin.