Capstone Projects

Capstone Experience Options

The capstone project is meant to be a culminating experience, which affords students the opportunity to utilize the knowledge and skills acquired during their course work to do an independent investigation or project related to science and/or mathematics education.  Though the capstone courses are taken during the final year of the program, students are encouraged to reflect on ideas for a capstone project throughout their time in the program. Capstone projects should generally focus in one of the following areas, though other types of projects may be acceptable upon approval by the student’s advisory committee, and Program Director.

  • Action Research - Implement a new approach to teaching a topic in a course or program taught by the student and explore its effect on aspects of student learning.
  • Pedagogical Research - Investigate an existing approach to formal K-12 or non-formal science or math teaching and use the findings to recommend pedagogical or curricular modifications.
  • Curriculum Development - Utilize concepts and skills specifically learned in a graduate level science, mathematics, or education courses to develop a novel curricula and effective assessments of student learning.
  • Professional Support - Investigate the influence of program or institutional policy, culture, professional support on science or math teaching, curricular integration, implementation of educational standards, or other aspects of education.

The development of the project requires discussion with course instructors, the student's advisory committee, and in cases where students are working with people, the consent from College's institutional review board, the institution where the research project is being conducted and subjects who may be participating in the project.  Students must evaluate the impact on learning. 

Capstone projects require that students do an independent study project in science, mathematics, or science or mathematics education. This, too, requires discussion with the advisor, consent from the individual(s) supervising the project, and approval of a written proposal. Students must evaluate the impact on learning. 

The capstone curriculum consists of two courses, SMFT 690 - Capstone Proposal Development (1 credit), followed by SMFT 699 - Capstone Project (2 credits).  A written capstone proposal must be completed in SMFT 690.  Prior to enrolling in SMFT 699, the student must identify an advisory committee composed of a major advisor, and secondary advisor.  Normally, one advisor should be a faculty member from the School of Science and Mathematics, the other from the School of Education, Health & Human Performance.  The students advisory committee and the SMFE Program Director must approve the project proposal prior to enrolling in SMFT 699.  The student must also present the proposed project to the SMFE Program faculty and students.  Completion of SMFT 699 will require that the student write a capstone project report, which must be approved by the advisory committee and the SMFE Program Director.  The student must also present the completed project to the SMFE program faculty, students, and other interested parties.  Students are also strongly encouraged to present their work at a professional meeting, or school/district teacher workshop.