ESRM students in the Wildlife Conservation option, Restoration Ecology and Environmental Horticulture option, and honors students are required to complete a 10-credit Senior Capstone, including a poster presentation at the end of their project. Students in the other ESRM options, including the general option, are no longer required to complete a capstone.

There are three ways to meet the capstone requirement:

  • Restoration Ecology Capstone (ESRM 462, ESRM 463 and ESRM 464): A three-course yearlong capstone sequence in restoration ecology that begins in autumn.
    • Autumn 2 credits – ESRM 462: Students work in groups to review and assess project plans and installations. Class meets with members of previous capstone classes to review their projects.
    • Winter 3 credits – ESRM 463: Student teams prepare proposals in response to requests for proposals (RFPs) from actual community clients and prepare restoration plans.
    • Spring 5 credits – ESRM 464: Teams implement and install restoration plans developed in ESRM 463. This may include supervision of volunteers, preparing management guidelines for the client and conducting a training class for their use. Completing the capstone involves preparing and delivering a final public poster presentation at the final Restoration Capstone event in late May/early June.
  • Senior Project (ESRM 494 and 495): Individual or team-based study of an environmental science and resource management problem under direction of chosen faculty member(s). Requires selection and scoping of project topic, proposal, implementation of project activities and/or research, analysis, and final project report and poster presentation.
  • Senior Thesis (ESRM 494 and 496): Individual research on an environmental science and resource management problem under direction of faculty member(s). Students work with a faculty adviser to develop a thesis proposal, complete field or laboratory research and analysis, and prepare a final thesis document and poster presentation.

All students must fill out the ESRM Senior Capstone Form, indicating which capstone they are completing.

ESRM 494/495 and 494/496 Guidelines

  • Select a project from the list of suggestions provided by faculty or discuss your research idea(s) with an appropriate faculty member. Meet with the faculty member to prepare the ESRM Senior Capstone Registration form. (Student and Academic Services can help you find faculty if needed). Complete all of Step 1 of the form.
  • Return the form to Student and Academic Services in AND 116/130 to obtain add/faculty codes. A copy of the form will be kept in your student file for tracking purposes.
  • Meet at least weekly with your faculty adviser, discussing your progress on the project. You should expect to work on your project a minimum of 3 hours per week per credit unit on average. The Capstone is a total of 10 credits (usually spread over 2 quarters).
  • Written requirements:
    • ESRM 494: With guidance from your faculty adviser, write a research proposal. This must be read and approved prior to beginning your research and starting ESRM 495 or 496.
    • ESRM 495/496: At least two weeks prior to the end of the quarter write your thesis document (ESRM 496) or research project report (ESRM 495), using an agreed upon format, such as a journal. The report should include background information, materials/methods/research design, data gathered, results (both written interpretation and graphs), and conclusions. Your faculty adviser should critique the draft, and a final report or thesis document needs to be submitted by the end of the quarter for grading.
  • Poster presentation requirements for all capstone options: Prepare and deliver a final public poster presentation of your project/thesis work. Include background information on the project, a description of your research methods, the data collected, and a summary. You should be able to answer any questions about your project. At the final quarter of the Capstone, give a graded poster presentation to a larger group in SEFS or at the UW Undergraduate Research Symposium spring quarter.
  • Turn in your final project/thesis to your faculty adviser for evaluation as per the agreed-upon timelines.
  • Submit one copy of your final project/thesis to Student and Academic Services, along with the finalized and signed copy of the ESRM Senior Capstone Form. Your project/thesis will be kept for the SEFS student reference  library. Suggested grading (faculty adviser chooses an appropriate percent):
    • Lab notebook – 10 percent
    • Overall research – 30 percent
    • Final draft of proposal or report – 30 to 60 percent
    • Poster presentation – 0 to 30 percent

Capstone Funding

For help with capstone project funding, use the Capstone Award Form. ESRM Senior Capstone students are encouraged to apply for Director’s Office financial support to defray costs incurred to complete their ESRM capstone. Funds are at three levels: $50, $150, and $250, and are awarded in Autumn, Winter, or Spring quarters. Students MUST be registered for a capstone course (ESRM 494, 495, or 496) during the quarter of the award. Deadline is on the second Friday of each quarter. You will be notified of your award no later than the fourth week of the quarter.

Printing a Poster for your Capstone Project

  • The below are resources on campus that can be used to print posters for your capstone project:
  • When submitting a poster at UW, use the budget number 65‐6078 and a PI UW NetID of nord, in order to pay for the poster using the capstone support fund. Poster boards, easels and clips are available in the department. The poster boards we supply are 36×48 inches, feel free to print your posters with these dimensions or smaller. However, posters should be no smaller than 32×40 inches.
  • The Design Help Desk offers free advice for UW seeking to improve their visuals for presentation and publication.

Other Notes

  • For additional help, you can refer to the thesis guide, Solving the Mysteries of ESRM 494 and 496.
  • Graduate students or postdoctoral fellows can be the immediate adviser but there should be a faculty member as overall adviser, supervisor, and evaluator.
  • Foreign study or study abroad is allowed with prior faculty approval.
  • Questions? Email or stop by Student and Academic Services in Anderson 116.
  • A separate form is required for departmental honors, SEFS departmental honors.

Back to Top