Options for the Capstone Experience in Geology
The University of Cincinnati College of Arts and Sciences presently requires each graduating senior to have had a "capstone experience" that involves:
- Hands-on integration of knowledge
- Analytical and problem-solving aspects
- Written and oral documentation
- Demonstration of some aspect of social relevance
To this end, each Geology student must complete a form (see below) describing the courses and experiences that will satisfy the criteria for a capstone experience. There is considerable flexibility in this procedure; students have two major options: a) field course/camp experience (recommended for most students); b) individualized training and research projects. All proposals will be reviewed in the last week of the spring semester and must be approved by a committee prior to the field experience. Students may also be considered for departmental financial aid, but only if this form is completed and approved. Members of the committee will also conduct "exit interviews" of students who have completed the capstone courses to determine the extent of understanding of the broader geological/ environmental issues.
Field Course Option
The primary means of completing capstone experience will continue to include "traditional" geology field camps (minimum of 6 credits and typically 4-6 weeks mapping). The committee will provide a recommended list of field camps but others will be considered. For those students who opt to take an abbreviated (2-4 credit) geology field course or short marine lab course in lieu of geology field camp, some additional experience will be required. This could include: a) completion of a minor (2 credit) project related to the field experience, b) development of a separate senior project (2 credits), or c) completion of other field trip courses, including at least two extended field trips (e.g., GEOL 207, Curaçao trip, Iceland Trip, Hawaiian trip), together with the preparation of notebooks and brief written summaries of these experiences.
To evaluate students completing field camps through other universities we will also require some form of feedback from all students, in addition to the grade for the course; this will include:
- Submission of a package to include copies maps, cross sections and other documents produced during the field camp (students should be sure that this is permitted by the field camp).
- A notebook that logs (ideally with photographs) day to day activities and documents aspects of geology including comments on environmental and economic aspects and/or geologic hazards associated with field sites observed or studied during the field course.
- A brief interview with members of the department, at which students will give a brief (10-15 minute summary of their field experiences)
Individualized Study Option
Alternatively, students may describe an individualized program of rigorous study and research. This program must involve a field component (it might include, for example mapping a quadrangle under supervision of a faculty member, together with a report; it might also involve a mixed field and laboratory analysis based project). It should be registered for in the form of at least 6 credits of independent study and it must be carefully justified, using criteria as indicated below. This will also require an "exit interview", as above.
Download an application for the Capstone Experience.
For a list of approved field camps, visit the Field Camp page.