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Capstone Experience


Completion of 12 hours of coursework in the program. The Capstone Experience Proposal submitted and approved by a Loyola ENVA faculty member.

Getting Started

1. Choose one of the following courses:

  • Internship (ENVA A497 1-3 credits) – this is the course number assigned for a practicum experience that usually involves service learning-type projects or other volunteer work at some community, government, tourism, or non-government organization; however, it is not limited to these organizations. It is expected that students will receive no salary compensation for this work, to avoid conflicts of interest. Students can find their own practicum or contact the ENVA office for a list of practicum locations which they can pursue.
  • Independent Research (ENVA A498 1-3 credits) – this is the course number assigned for a research experience that involves original ideas developed through data collection or library study. This type of experience is often viewed as traditional scholarship in the broadest sense. A faculty member whose research is related to the student may serve as both Project Director and Sponsor.
  • Independent Study (ENVA A499 1-3 credits) – this is the course number assigned for an independent study experience that involves formal supervised activities providing educational experiences focused on Environmental Studies. A wide latitude of experiences are possible here, so care must be taken in formulating the agreement between student and Project Director to spell out exact requirements for completion of this effort. 

2. Choose a project director or a project sponsor

  • Project Director: Loyola ENVA faculty member or a person outside of Loyola’s ENVA faculty (e.g., for off-campus projects) who agrees to oversee all aspects of the project including the final write-up. If your Project Director is not an ENVA faculty member you also need a Project Sponsor.
  • Project Sponsor: Loyola ENVA faculty member to act as the liaison between the Project Director (if outside the university) and university by overseeing completion of the formalities for university credit, including grading the effort after consultation with the Project Director. This also includes overseeing that deadlines are met and all forms completed and turned in to the Environmental Studies Program Chair.


Students are responsible for meeting with their ENVA faculty Project Director or Sponsor for approval at each step in the course is completed. All materials must be completed by May 1 of the graduation year or August 1 of the graduation summer.  The student must also meet with the Environment Program Director for final approval prior to graduation. To successfully complete the Capstone Experience, you must:

  • Complete an Independent Study Course Form at the beginning of the semester of your Capstone Experience.
    This standard university administered form is used for all three courses – ENVA 497, 498, 499 – and is available in the Dean’s office of the College of Humanities and Natural Sciences. A Loyola Environmental Studies faculty (Project Director or Sponsor) must sign the completed form that includes the title for The Capstone Experience and one of the three-course numbers.
  • Complete a practicum/study/research Agreement Sheet.
    The sheet must be signed by the student, Project Director, and Sponsor before the project begins.
  • Complete at least 120 hours for The Capstone Experience.
  • Submit an interim report to the ENVA Project Director/Sponsor.
    The nature and due date of this report will be specified by the Project Director/Sponsor at the beginning of the project.
  • Submit a final report on The Capstone Experience to the Project Director/Sponsor.
    A copy of the final report should also be sent to the Environmental Studies Program Chair. The final report should include how this experience contributed to the student's environmental studies education. The nature and length of the paper should be decided on together by the student and the Project Director/Sponsor. 
  • Project Director/sponsor must submit a practicum/study/research Evaluation Sheet to the Sponsor and Environment Program Director at the completion of the project.
    This Evaluation Form is available from an ENVA faculty or the Environment Program Director. The faculty Project Director/Sponsor will assign a grade for the course that assesses the student’s performance based on the Project Director’s/Sponsor’s evaluation and the student’s written report. The Environment Program Director and Sponsor will write the Project Director of the student (if not a Loyola ENVA faculty) a note of appreciation for his or her time and effort.