Capstone Course Series

The Capstone Experience is the culmination of students’ academic work and includes professional development, an internship and public presentations to share their research.


Environmental Studies students gain valuable professional experience and explore potential career paths through a 3-quarter Capstone Course Series which includes a quarter-long internship, study abroad experience or research 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 non-profits and government agencies to faculty research projects and private sector initiatives and the Capstone instructor organizes a Meet and Greet 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 valuable hands-on experience, explore career possibilities and build professional communication skills. The end result is a Capstone Experience that is academically rigorous, extremely practical and personally meaningful.

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 information 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 Capstone Symposiums each Spring and Autumn. Check back for schedules and student abstracts. This event is open to the public and 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 our live tweets on Twitter: #POEcap.

The Program on the Environment will host our Autumn 2017 Capstone Symposium on November 29 at Alder Hall Auditorium. We welcome all to attend and support students as they present on the culmination of three quarters of hard work.

The Spring symposium covered topics including: sustainability through behavior change and policy, theory and practice of environmental education, community engagement and arts, technology and our relationship to nature.

Symposium Schedule to come

Previous capstone symposiums have covered presentations that range in topic, from 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