CALS Capstone

CALS Capstone is a course in which students are required to integrate diverse bodies of knowledge to solve a problem or formulate a policy of societal importance with the intent of facilitating the transition to post-baccalaureate life.  The Capstone experience will normally be completed during the student’s final 2 or 3 semesters.  The intent is to have the student utilize and integrate their undergraduate learning into a culminating, or capstone, experience.  Students should consult with their advisor for specific information regarding this requirement.

A Capstone experience should:

  • Develop problem-solving skills
  • Expose student to multidisciplinary approach
  • Develop teamwork and interpersonal skills, including the ability to communicate effectively to multiple audiences
  • Develop skills in accessing and using information resources (e.g., electronic databases, library resources, national repositories)
  • Address societal, economic, ethical, scientific and professional issues
  • Communicate and extend the capstone experience via written, oral, and/or multimedia reports by each student

The Biology Major does not oversee any course and there is not a specific Biology Capstone Course. Instead, Requirement 6 (additional lab or field experience) of the Biology Major requirements is intended to expose students to many of the experiences listed above. Students may have some of these experiences in other courses, or other activities they undertake including work experiences, volunteer activities, etc. Advisors of CALS students need to discuss each advisee’s experiences and ensure that, between work done in fulfillment of Requirement 6 and other work the student has done, whether formal class work or other experience associated with their degree, the student has the experiences stated above.

Currently, any additional lab course from among those listed as intermediate or advanced biology courses, or any directed study completed after finishing one year of college biology is accepted for Requirement 6 by the Biology Major. This may or may not suffice as a capstone experience and it is up to the advisor to determine if the student has had experiences that meet the expectations identified above. On rare occasions an advisor could accept a course for the additional field or lab experience that was not research based, if this would better serve the student’s interests and goals. Experiences that are focused on teaching assistance, even if the course number used is a 699 course, are not appropriate for the Biology Major capstone.

A student seeking to complete capstone requirement with a “699” (independent study) must complete and submit the CAPSTONE Approval Form in collaboration with an instructor (and lab supervisor, graduate student or post-doc) who will have direct oversight of the experience and the responsibility to assign the final grade.

The following courses, along with 682’s and 692’s in biological science departments (taken senior year), will automatically be accepted as fulfilling the capstone experience.  Note:  some courses have advanced prerequisites.

Biocore 486: Organismal Biology Laboratory (if Biocore 382 & 384 completed)
Biomolecular Chemistry 504: Human Biochemistry Lab
Botany 455: Vegetation of Wisconsin
Botany/F&W Ecol/Zoology 460: General Ecology (effective Fall 2016 – Summer 2018)
Botany 670: Adaptive Restoration Lab
Envir St/Zoology 511: Ecology of Fishes Lab (effective Fall 2016 – Summer 2018)
Forest & Wildlife Ecology 599: Wildlife Research Capstone (limited access)
Microbiology 525: Adv Biological Laboratory Practices:  A Research Experience
Microbiology 551: Physiological Diversity of Prokaryotes Laboratory
Physiology 435:  Fundamentals of Human Physiology
Zoology 316: Laboratory for Limnology-Conservation of Aquatic Resources
Zoology 555: Developmental Biology Laboratory
Zoology 612: Comparative Physiology Laboratory (last offered Spring 2015)