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. Public Health students are eligible to complete their capstone during their last 3 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 practical experiences. Students apply to the Center for Public Service (CPS) internship program to receive academic and service-learning credit for the internship. Students must complete a minimum of 60 internship hours and attend an internship seminar, SPHU 4560 Capstone Internship Course concurrently with the internship. All Capstone internships must be approved by BSPH staff prior to starting the internship. Students may only use the CPS Internship program one time; we encourage students to wait until they are Capstone eligible to apply to this program. View this flyer for information on the Capstone Internship.

SPHU 4580 International Capstone Tulane's Office of Study Abroad works with international programs that provide academic research or internship projects, which can count as a public health Capstone. To complete this type of Capstone, the experience needs to be approved by the department program staff. Upon returning, students present their work at the BSPH program’s International Scholar Symposium before credit is given..

SPHU 4990 & 5000 Honors Thesis During the senior year students may write an Honors Thesis or complete an equivalent Honors project that may be used to fulfill the BSPH Capstone. To be eligible to write an Honors Thesis, a student must have an overall cumulative GPA of 3.4 or higher, and a GPA of 3.5 or higher in the major or majors for which the thesis is to be written. 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 Office of Academic Enrichment. Students receive 7 total credit hours as well as writing intensive credit for completing an Honors Thesis.

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. See also the Undergraduate Public Health Studies WordPress site for a directory of recent internships held by Public Health majors.

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 program requirements are complete. 

4. Are there guidelines available for the Honors Thesis?

Yes. You can find Honors Thesis guidelines here.

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 by the department before leaving Tulane for the summer.


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