Capstone seminars are problem based, project-oriented courses for senior Environmental Studies students. They require self-initiated, collaborative, interdisciplinary and integrative student work. The capstone entails students working for a client (actual or hypothetical), and using an applied approach to learning. Students work collaboratively on a current environmental problem, including characterizing the problem, analyzing possible solutions, implementing some solutions, and publicly presenting the results.
The aim is to improve students’ ability to synthesize and integrate material from a range of disciplines while deploying diverse methodologies and vocabularies in a problem-solving context. The capstone relates theoretical knowledge and skills to practical problems, while students work collaboratively in real world situations to research and communicate results to a variety of audiences.
Each capstone works as a single, problem-solving team under the leadership of an instructor. Capstones meet weekly, and much of the work may be done outside of class in interviewing stakeholders, analyzing data, visiting sites, and so on. Experts may be brought in to brief the seminar on particular aspects of the problem under discussion. At the end of the term, the research projects are presented to the client, students, ES faculty and interested members of the community.
You can view most of the past capstone presentations on our YouTube channel.