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Southern Oregon University

PSY 498/499: PROJECT CAPSTONE

Frequently Asked Questions

The undergraduate capstone experience is designed to bring reflection and focus to the whole of your college experience. It encourages you to integrate facets of your interests with important concepts from Psychology.

Capstone is a culminating college experience that focuses on features of your interests and requires the use of skills, methodology, and knowledge you have learned throughout your undergraduate curriculum in Psychology.

  • To help youcritically reflecton,reviewthe scientific basis for, andintegratewhat you have learned and accomplished as a psychology major.
  • Toprepare youfor graduation and create a bridge between school and career.
  • Toexplorethe cultural, social, and ethical impact ofpsychological applicationon your community and your daily life.
  • To provide you with aprofessional experiencethat will enhance yourcareer portfolio.

The Project Capstone isNOTmerely a matter of putting in some volunteer hours or community service. The Project Capstone requires careful consideration and considerable planning. You need to develop clear learning objectives that provide the basic foundation for your capstone experience. The planning process occursduringthe PSY 498 class.

In PSY498 you complete your Capstone Portfolio and develop your Capstone Plan. The Capstone Portfolio is composed of a critical analysis of a research proposal (from PSY 228/229 graded with comments), a critical analysis of a pop psychology book, a resume, and a Career Exploration and Statement of Personal/Professional Goals paper. The Capstone Plan is a paper that details your capstone plan; it includes learning objectives, a summary of where you will be and your responsibilities during the capstone experience, and possible ethical considerations. You are also required to have a contract signed by you, your capstone site supervisor, and the capstone professor.

In PSY 498 you also learn what is expected while you are completing your capstone and what is required for your Capstone Presentation. During your capstone experience it is important that you engage in continuous critical analysis and that your analyses are documented regularly. All of which is covered in PSY 498.

A Professional Presentation that articulates the overall goal and objectives of your capstone experience. You also critically evaluate your classmates’ capstone presentations.

Once you have completed a well-thought out capstone plan, obtained a signed contract, AND received approval from your capstone professor,during PSY 498. ANY hours completed without a plan and prior approval do not count towards your required 100 hours.

It is best to have at least ONE full term in between PSY 498 & 499. Completing the required hours can often prove to be a major challenge to students in capstone.

Enroll in PSY 499 when you are within no more than 10 hours of completing the required 100 hours is highly advised. You will NOT be able to present your capstone experience until ALL hours are completed.

All is explained and discussed in PSY 498. You basically have a choice of either a project or an internship. Most students engage in an internship, however, there are opportunities for projects in our community. Again, all is explained in PSY 498.

  • You cannot enroll in capstone unless you have successfully completed both PSY 228 & PSY 229. The capstone sequence is designed for you to complete during your senior year.
  • It is assumed that each student entering the PSY 498 Project Capstone has discussed the two capstone options; Research and Project,with his or her advisor. ALWAYS have a discussion with your advisor regarding which capstone is best for you. Your advisor knows your interests and academic goals. He or she can assist you in making the decision.

PSY 498/499: RESEARCH CAPSTONE

Frequently Asked Questions

The undergraduate capstone experience is designed to bring reflection and focus to the whole of your college experience. It encourages you to integrate facets of your interests with important concepts from Psychology.

Capstone is a culminating college experience that guides you to reflect upon, integrate, and synthesize the knowledge and skills learned during your academic years and to prepare for graduation and your career.

  • To help youcritically reflecton,reviewthe scientific basis for, andintegratewhat you have learned and accomplished as a psychology major.
  • To initiate the process of planning and preparing for post-college work/career.
  • To provide you withresearch experiencethat will further prepare you for graduate research studies or for research and program evaluation conducted in various work settings.
  • To further develop a sensitivity to ethical issues in psychology, especially in conducting research.

In PSY 498 & 499 you plan and conduct a research project.Although different instructors may organize the two terms slightly differently, typically in the first term (498) you will select a research topic, review the literature of published empirical research and write a research proposal paper (which includes your literature review).You will also initiate your application to the Institutional Review Board (IRB) for the ethical use of human subjects in your research.Either during the interim term between 498 & 499 or during the second term (499), you recruit subjects, collect and analyze the data, and finally during 499, write a research report and present your research in a poster session.(A few students who are doing their research capstones in conjunction with their work in the research labs of particular psychology faculty or in conjunction with their McNair project might be granted variations in the scheduling of components of the research capstone, but discussion with and approval by the capstone teacher is required before initiating the capstone portion of this collaborative project.)

Dispersed throughout the two terms you will also prepare a “post-graduation preparation” portfolio that will include documents such as a professional goals plan, resume, knowledge and skills vita, and practice at job searching.

Although most students formally begin the process during the term they are taking PSY 498-Research, it is a good idea to start thinking about your research topic beforehand.That might involvedoing brief literature searchesto determine some of the existing research in the topic and thinking critically abouthow feasible it would be to conduct your selected research project. “Feasible” means taking into consideration 1) that you are an undergraduate student working within a limited time frame (approximately 4 – 5 weeks for recruiting subjects and collecting data), while also meeting your other school demands, 2) that your topic is one that probably does not involve psychopathology (e.g., major depression, eating disorders) or therapy, and 3) that your subjects are adults (18 yrs. and older).Some instructors of 498/9-Research may have a limited range of topics (e.g., learning, memory, & cognition or positive psychology) they are willing to supervise for the course.Talking to the instructor before registering for the course will aid in getting you enrolled in the appropriate research capstone to match your interests.

Instructors for the Research Capstone vary in their schedule for enrollment in 498 & 499.Some may require the two courses to be consecutive terms (e.g., fall and winter).Others may organize the course to have a full term in between PSY 498 & 499 (e.g., fall and spring terms).

  • You cannot enroll in capstone unless you havesuccessfully completed both PSY 228 & PSY 229(minimumC-grade for students on catalogs before 2012/13; minimumC+grade for catalogs 2012/13 and thereafter). The capstone sequence is designed for you to complete during your senior year.
  • It is assumed that each student entering the PSY 498 Capstone has discussed the two capstone options, Research and Project,with his or her advisor.ALWAYS have a discussion with your advisor regarding which capstone is best for you. Your advisor knows your interests and academic goals. He or she can assist you in making the decision.