There are three capstone options for Biology majors: Test based, Group/Course based capstone, and internship/research based capstone.
You choose ONE option. Each one has its own associated rigor so no one option is easier than the others.
Test based capstone: Students pursuing degrees in health professional fields like Dental school, Optometry school or Medical School can take the DAT, OAT or MCAT. Students pursuing Masters or Doctoral degrees in the biological sciences can take the GRE subject exam in Biochemistry and Cell Biology or Biology.
The major outcome of this capstone is for a student to study for and complete the standardized test (listed above). The student must receive a 50 percentile or ABOVE to pass the capstone requirement and graduate. Students must provide the instructor with a printed hardcopy of the results by the end of the semester that they wish to graduate. Students must enroll in BIO 490 during the semester that they are studying for the exam. The best way to complete this outcome with optimal time to take the test more than once (most people need to do this) is to enroll in BIO 490 during the Spring semester one year before you intend to graduate, that way you can take the May exam and then if your score is not adequate, study again during the summer months and take the Fall exam. You will not receive your diploma until you fulfill this requirement, if this is the capstone route that you decide to take.
Test study materials are located in the library under reserve for BIO 490. Only students enrolled in BIO 490 can utilize the test materials on reserve. Students that choose the test based capstone option do not present at the capstone festival.
Group Capstone or Course based capstone associated with an approved capstone course: We have a number of approved capstone courses within Biology. BIO 360L: Eukaryotic molecular biology, BIO 344L: Environmental Biotechnology, BIO 310L: Biochemistry and Laboratory, BIO 448 Aquatic Ecology, BIO 495 Ecology of Marine Fishes. ENVS 400 and 403 are also approved as the capstone course for some of these classes.
Students that wish to do a group capstone must:
- Inform the course instructor by week 5 of the course and acquire the instructor’s approval to conduct a group capstone or course associated project in their class.
- Pass the capstone-associated course.
- Enroll in BIO 490 the semester AFTER the capstone-associated course is complete.
The group capstone will culminate in a poster that is generated during the associated capstone course. In BIO 490 students will work in their group to enhance their in depth biological knowledge of the project, and set up their presentation. Group capstones will be responsible for a five minute oral presentation and a two hour poster session (where students stand by their poster and answer questions asked by students, faculty and staff). If the course-based capstone is not a group venture, the same deliverables apply. The student will work in BIO 490 to enhance the in depth biological knowledge of the project, improve their poster (if necessary) and set up their presentation. Course based capstones will also be responsible for a five minute oral presentation and a two hour poster session.
Internship based capstone: Students who have successfully completed a summer internship (REU or other relevant internship) can utilize the data from their internship to fulfill the capstone requirement. Students must have completed the internship BEFORE enrolling in BIO 490.
- Example 1: External REU or research project. The student completes a summer internship, enrolls in BIO 490 in the Fall, and with his/her onsite CSUMB advisor and summer advisor, completes in depth readings to develop a deeper understanding of the biological relevance of the project. Enhance the poster that you developed during your internship, present that poster at a scientific meeting during the Fall (or sign up to present your poster at a meeting in the Spring). Your advisors can help you determine which meeting would be best to submit your poster.
- Example 2: Internal Research project. The student works in an internal CSUMB lab (with Dr. James Lindholm and IFAME, Dr. Corey Garza, Dr. Marc LosHuertos in Biogeochemistry, Dr. Aparna Sreenivasan in the Molecular Lab, Dr. Suzanne Worcester in Ecology, Dr. Steve Moore in EEL, Dr. Henrik Kibak in the Molecular Lab, or another approved laboratory that is associated with CSUMB – like one at MLML, MBARI, or the Dept. of Agriculture). The student generates a poster product from the work completed in the laboratory, and presents that poster at a regional or national scientific meeting. That poster will also be presented at the senior capstone festival. During BIO 490 (or BIO 400/403) the student will focus on developing a more in depth knowledge of the biological foundations and principles behind their research, in addition, he/she will expand their poster (if necessary) and practice their presentations.
The major deliverables for this capstone are a poster, a poster presentation at a regional or national scientific meeting, and a poster presentation at the capstone festival. These projects will be considered for honors status.
Questions about capstones can be addressed to Dr. Aparna Sreenivasan, Dr. Sharon Anderson or Dr. Suzanne Worcester.