The Capstone Experience is the culmination of students’ academic work and includes professional development, an internship and public presentations for students to share their research.
Students majoring in Environmental Studies gain valuable professional experience and explore potential career paths through a 3-quarter Capstone course series that includes a quarter-long internship, study abroad experience or research project with a faculty member. Students produce a written deliverable and tie this professional and hands-on component with their academic study.
The Capstone is usually centered around an internship with a community site partner. Potential Capstone sites range from local nonprofits and government agencies to faculty research projects and private sector initiatives. The Capstone instructor organizes a meet-and-greet small career fair with site partners who have pre-selected projects for students to work on.
Capstone projects can be done individually or with a team of students, depending on the needs of the site partner. With the mentorship of your faculty adviser and site supervisor, you will gain hands-on experience, explore career possibilities and build professional communication skills. This makes the Capstone Experience academically rigorous, extremely practical and personally meaningful.
Sequencing for Capstone Courses
Students must complete three of the four Core courses prior to starting the Capstone courses. ENVIR 300 can be completed concurrently with the first Capstone course when necessary.
The Capstone courses should be taken in sequential order in contiguous quarters (AU-WI-SP or SP-SU-AU).
Capstone Experience (10 credits)
All three courses are required as part of the Capstone course series:
- ENVIR 490: Environmental Studies Capstone – Preparation
- This seminar introduces students to the job search process, with sessions on resume and cover letter writing and ways to practice and present their pitch for an informational or formal interview.
- ENVIR 491: Environmental Studies Capstone – Internship and Research
- Students develop research questions to guide their hands-on learning and gain project management skills, reporting regularly to their site supervisor.
- ENVIR 492: Environmental Studies Capstone – Synthesis and Communication
- Students reflect on their experience through journal reflections, an analysis paper reporting their research findings and informal discussion on a class blog. Students also present their research at the culminating Capstone Symposium.
We hold a Capstone Symposium each spring and autumn. Check back for schedules and student abstracts. This event is open to the public. We encourage students interested in learning about the Capstone as well as members of our community to join us. For those who can’t attend in person, follow the event on Twitter: #POEcap.
Previous capstone symposia have had presentations on topics including food and healthcare sustainability, environmental education and outreach, corporate social responsibility, and policy regulation for environmental pollutants.
News about the Capstone
- UW’s Shelby Logsdon sets out to collect and analyze park data, Washington State Parks Foundation, February 2018
- Environmental Studies Capstone winners skillfully cover food security, urban waste design, fishery certification and plant-microbe partnerships, UW Program on the Environment, December 2017
- Environmental Studies students present capstone projects, UW Sustainability blog, June 2016
- Chickens on campus and a mood shift at EPA: Relevant projects are nature of environmental studies capstone, UW Today, May 2016
- Dean’s Letter: Education that’s experiential – at the College of the Environment’s core, UW College of the Environment, May 2016
- Leah Litwak champions better food assistance integration at local farmers markets, UW College of the Environment, March 2016
- Capstones as real-life applications, UW Provost Report, Connecting the Dots: Linking Academic Passion to Life and Profession, May 2015, page 9
- Empowering young women through nature excursions, UW Program on the Environment, Capstone Q&A with Corina Yballa
- Crunching data to trace the impact of recreational fishing on the movement of aquatic invasive species, UW Program on the Environment, Capstone Q&A with Rachel Fricke
- Activating behavior change for proper waste disposal in WA, UW Program on the Environment, Capstone Q&A with Brooke Stroosma
- Who’s paying for WA state parks, who’s not visiting, and what can we do to provide access for all?, UW Program on the Environment, Capstone Q&A with Joy Shang
- WWOOFing in the Netherlands to sow seeds for the future, UW Program on the Environment, Capstone Q&A with Carly Lester
- Building Citizen Science with Volunteers as Partners, UW Washington Sea Grant, Natalie White
- Student Perspective: What is it like to be a student studying connectivity?, Conservation Corridor, Amy Haymond