Capstone Experience

Every Environmental Sciences student must complete a capstone experience or research project under the supervision of a scientist, which must be previously approved by the Program. This course provides the student an opportunity to work on a real problem in the environmental sciences area, analyze it in an objective and critical manner, and develop a supervised research project on the subject. Also, as part of the process, the course exposes the student to the latest published literature in his or her field of study and provides experience in the writing of a thesis, which will be of great use when continuing graduate studies. The student interested in developing a research project must:

  • Define a problem
  • Revise relevant scientific literature
  • Establish one or various hypothesis
  • Develop a methodology to study the phenomenon
  • Analyze the data to establish quantitative relationships, construct models and accept or reject the hypothesis
  • Inform the results and findings of the research project in a structured manner to share these and to be verifiable by other researchers


The student will meet with the Director of the Program and will describe the nature of the research project he wishes to develop. In this stage, the Director will discuss with the student the viability of the project in terms of the magnitude of the work needed and the resources available. The student must present a proposal and register to the course CINA 4997 (PROP) (1 credit) one semester before registering to the course CINA 4997 (2 credits). The BS thesis should be started by the end of the Junior year or at the beginning of the Senior year, so that most of the work is done by the end of the first semester of the Senior year. During the proposal the student agrees to:

  • Choose and meet with the advisor, which after formally accepting supervising the BS thesis, will discuss the details of the research project with the student. The advisor must be a research scientist with at least a Masters Degree and must have knowledge in the research area the student proposes. Selection of an advisor must be approved by the Director of the Program.
  • Prepare the research proposal and submit a copy to the Director of the Program and his Advisor to obtain recommendations from both in a later meeting. The proposal should not exceed a page in single space and must include the following sections:

  1. Preliminary title
  2. Exposition of the problem
  3. Project description
  4. Proposed itinerary
  5. Name and signature of the Advisor


After incorporating the recommendations from the Advisor and the Director, and the proposal approval, the research project will formally begin. The student will bind the BS thesis and will submit a printed copy in its final form and an electronic copy in PDF form, incorporating all the comments and recommendations that arise during the presentation and evaluation of the final draft.

Organization of the BS Thesis

Title page i

Dedication (optional) ii

Acknowledgements iii

Summary iv

Table of Contents v

List of Tables vi

List of Figures vii


I. Introduction 1

II. Exposition of the problem

III. Methods

a) Materials and Equipment ...

b) Experimental Design ...

c) Statistical Treatment of the Data ...

IV. Results ...

V. Discussion ...

VI. Conclusions and recommendations ...

VII. References ...

Note: For more details contact the Undergraduate Thesis professor or the Environmental Science Department Chair.