Environmental Studies students gain valuable professional experience and explore potential career paths through a 3-quarter Capstone project. The project 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 a quarter-long internship with a community site partner. Potential Capstone sites range from community-based 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:
- 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.
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 December 6 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
- 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 channels 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
Capstone student blog entries
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