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BSPH Capstone Experience

BSPH student reading to a child.

The Capstone Experience (3 credit hours) is designed to integrate, synthesize, and apply knowledge as developed through a student's academic program. Students are eligible to begin their capstone after completing five semesters of university coursework. There are five options for completion of the capstone requirement:     

SPHU 4540 Senior Seminar Capstone The seminar involves discussion and reflection on issues related to the practice of public health as well as a survey of job opportunities, and includes professional development. The goal is to facilitate individual growth and career development through a series of guest lecture presentations, reflection essays, and the development of a professional public health portfolio. BSPH seniors can register themselves for this option.

SPHU 4550 Capstone Independent Study Working one-on-one with a faculty member, the student will complete a high-level research paper. Students should seek out a sponsoring faculty mentor and speak to the program manager to register for credit.

SPHU 4560 Capstone Internship This option can build professional skills through real world experiences. There are many great opportunities in New Orleans, or students can do an internship out of town during the summer. This capstone includes a weekly internship seminar taught by current PhD students. Students apply to this program through the Center for Public Service. Students receive capstone and service-learning credit.

SPHU 4580 International Capstone The BSPH program offers Summer International Capstones, or the student can do a semester-long program that includes a capstone. Tulane's Office of Study Abroad works with about a dozen international programs which can include a public health capstone. To complete this type of capstone, the experience needs to be approved by department faculty. Upon return from studying abroad, students present their work at the BSPH program's International Scholar Symposium and are graded by faculty before credit can be given. Tulane-taught summer international capstones include The Health Systems of China and Public Health Threats in Suriname.

SPHU 4990 & 5000 Honors Thesis This option is open only to students who are part of Tulane's Honors Program. The Honors Thesis requires two semesters of work with a three-member faculty thesis committee. This option can be very rewarding for students planning to go on to graduate school. Interested students should speak to a faculty member during their third year at Tulane about this option, as well as to administrators of the Honors Program. Students receive seven total credit hours as well as writing intensive credit for completing an Honors Thesis.

General Capstone Guidelines:

Students must be more than half-way through their degree program to start a capstone. Students will typically reach this point as a second -semester junior, but please consult with your advisor to be sure.  Students must resolve any incompletes before registering for the capstone.

Except for SPHU 4540, students may not register for a capstone without receiving departmental approval; please seek advising before proceeding.

Capstone Q&A

1. If I am doing the internship, how do I find a placement?
See the website of Center for Public Service for more information, help getting placement in New Orleans, and to get an application.
 
2. Should the internship be paid or unpaid? What about my GPA?
If you want an internship to qualify as your public service requirement, it must be unpaid. The work should clearly be considered "public service." Students must have a 3.0 GPA to sign up for a Public Service Internship.
 
3. Will I graduate if my capstone is not completed?
  No. You will be unable to graduate and your degree will not be granted until all documents are completed and approved.
 
4. Are there guidelines available for the Honors Thesis?
 
5. I'm not sure what I'm doing this summer, but I want to get my capstone done. Can I register for the capstone after I find an internship or take an international class?
You need to have your capstone approved before leaving Tulane for the summer.

 

Students are responsible for initiating and following through with their Capstone.