Senior Capstone Experience


Completion of 12 hours of course work in the program. Senior Capstone Experience Proposal submitted and approved by a Loyola Environment program faculty member.

Choose one of the following:

  • ENVA A497 Internship
    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 that qualify.
  • ENVA A498 Independent Research
    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’s research may serve as both Project Director and Sponsor.
  • ENVA A499 Independent Study
    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 taken in formulating the agreement between student and Project Director to spell out exact requirements for completion of this effort. 

You need a:

  • 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.

Requirements for completion of The Senior Capstone Experience

Students are responsible to complete the following steps and meet with their ENVA faculty Project Director or Sponsor for approval as each step is completed.  The student must also meet with the Environment Program Director for final approval prior to graduation.  These steps are:

  • An Independent Studies course form must be completed, usually at the beginning of the semester in which The Senior Experience takes place. This standard university administered form is used for all three courses – ENVA 497, 498, 499 – and it is available in the Dean’s office. A Loyola Environmental Studies faculty (Project Director or Sponsor) must sign the completed form (filled out with the title for The Senior Experience and one of the three course numbers).
  • A practicum/study/research Agreement Sheet (signed by the student, Project Director, and Sponsor – if needed) and a Waiver of Liability Form (signed by the student) must be filled out before the project begins.
  • It is expected that a student will complete at least 120 hours for The Senior Capstone Experience.
  • An interim report by the student must be submitted 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.
  • At the completion of the project, the student will submit a final written report on The Senior Capstone Experience to the Project Director/Sponsor. A copy of the final report should also be deposited with the Environmental Studies Program Chair. Included in this final report should be a discussion on how this experience contributed to his or her environmental studies education. The nature and length of the paper is to be negotiated between the student and the Project Director/Sponsor. 
  • If there is a Project Sponsor for The Senior Capstone Experience, the student must have his or her Project Director submit to the Sponsor and Environment Program Director a practicum/study/research Evaluation Sheet at the completion of the project. This form is available from an ENVA faculty or the Environment Program Director.
  • All of the above must be completed by May 1 of the graduation year or August 1 of the graduation summer.
  • 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.