Capstone Experience

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:108_2014.UW Undergrad Research Fair 1

  • 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.

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

Capstone student blog entries