You are here

Capstone Options

The B.S. degree capstone requirement can be met in various ways based on the chosen degree option, by demonstrating independent application of physics knowledge outside the classroom. For the biophysics option (no longer accepting new students), research on a bio-related project is needed; for the teaching physics option, Phys 401/402/403, or a pedagogy-related research project is required.

For the comprehensive and applied tracks, the capstone requirement may be satisfied with any of:

Research for credit, Phys 499:
To find research projects, contact professors to discuss ideas, make a plan, and get approval for Phys 499 enrollment by completing the Independent Study Contract. Research in other departments or off-site can also fulfill the capstone requirement with proper documentation. Phys 499 and Astr 499 credits both count towards your capstone requirement.
Team Project Participation:
Participation in engineering teams like robotics, human powered submarine, Formula, SpaceX, etc. can fulfill your capstone requirement with proper documentation and credits.
Off-site Internship:
Internship or technical job participation can fulfill capstone requirement. If job doesn't involve physics, supplement with 1-2 credits of different physics capstone option. Documentation and assignable credits needed. Contact the Undergraduate Faculty Advisor ( well before the start date if you need Curricular Practical Training (CPT) approval.
Directed Reading in Physics (DRiP), Phys 498:
Undergraduates work with graduate student research guides in a 1 or 2 credit course to engage with advanced academic literature and communicate scientific material. Applications for DRiP open about one month before the quarter starts. For more information visit the DRiP site.
Physics Pedagogy, Phys 401/402/403, and an Undergraduate Learning Assistantship:
Phys 401/402/403 classes connect with Phys 121/122/123 and train undergraduates as learning assistants for labs and tutorials. Completion is a prerequisite for being hired as an undergraduate teaching assistant. Applications open one month before the start of the quarter.
Senior Seminar, Phys 494/495/496:
These 1-credit seminars engage students in current literature and topics of interest in physics by having them create and deliver a presentation, and learn from the presentations of others.

Use of out-of-department activities

To fulfill your Physics capstone requirement, submit a 3500 word paper to Undergraduate Faculty Advisor detailing how you applied physics skills to non-classroom activities for at least 30 hours/credit. The paper must include accomplishments, learning outcomes, and relevance of physics education. Supervisor (must have at least a bachelor's degree) must confirm paper's accuracy. A project may fulfill all three credits if it is physics-related, or up to two credits if the skills learned are transferable to future career. Combine with Phys 494/495/496 if the project is not explicitly physics-related.

To fulfill the capstone requirement on DARS, you need actual credits such as a 299/499 course in another department or an additional course that meets physics advanced elective requirements. The department is currently working on creating a course number for off-site internships. Contact the Undergraduate Faculty Advisor for alternative options until this is approved.