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The Capstone Courses

Senior Practicum Projects for Psychology Majors: Psychology 496R, 410R, 420R, 430R

Definition: A capstone course is an educational experience for senior students that integrates classroom activity with supervised practical experience in instructional, community, or more formal research settings. Students enrolled in a capstone course must meet the following prerequisites: Psych 307, Psych308, Psych309, and Psych 310 (or instructor’s consent) and senior standing.

Graduation Requirement: A 3-credit capstone course is required for all students. The only exception is for students who declared the major prior to Fall 2002; for them, the completion of a capstone course is optional. Capstone Exit Exam Requirement: All graduating seniors enrolled in a capstone course fulfilling their capstone requirement are required to take an exit exam through the Psychology department. This exam is not for a grade and is strictly for departmental purposes. Capstone instructors should inform their students about the capstone exit exam requirement, but if students have any questions about this requirement, they may contact Student Support Services (1005 SWKT,, 801-422-5356).

Capstone Course Substitutions (Receiving Capstone Credit from Courses Offered Outside the Department)

The Psychology Department capstone requirement must be completed through the psychology department in taking one of the capstone options(Psych 410, 420, 430, or 399). Some requests for substitution may be accepted but will be considered on an individual case by case basis. Students must contact Student Support Services (1005 SWKT,, 801-422-5356) to submit a substitution request for approval. Upon approval by the psychology department for a course substitution, the psych department will create a section under the name of the professor and the most applicable psych capstone course listed above. For substitutions to be approved for capstone credit, students must be seniors and have completed or be concurrently enrolled in Psych 307, 308, 309, and 310.

Availability: Many faculty members offer a capstone course at some point during the academic year. In some cases, they may require a year-long commitment working with them from the students who enroll (the class would be a semester but the RA/TA position may last a year). On average, about 15 capstone opportunities will eventually be available each semester and fewer each term. Students must be proactive in the enrollment process.

Catalog Listings: The capstone courses are listed as follows:

  • Psychology 496R: Academic Internship Capstone
  • Psychology 410R: Senior Practicum: Teaching of Psychology
  • Psychology 420R: Senior Practicum: Community Projects in Psychology
  • Psychology 430R: Senior Practicum: Research in Psychology

NOTE: The integrative nature of the capstone course, reflected in its requirements and format, differentiates it from 399R: Academic Internship. Psychology 492R: Supervised Instructional or Research Experience, Psychology 495R: Independent Readings, and 499R: Independent Research. As a result, it is possible that, on a given research team, for example, there may be some students who are receiving 492R credit, others who are working for pay, and those who are enrolled in a capstone course. Students on the team who receive capstone credit will participate in an integrative academic experience with requirements that may differ from those of the other research team members.

Sections: Each faculty member who offers a capstone course is assigned his or her own section and is responsible for determining the structure and content of the course: for example, the enrollment capacity, the course requirements, the course format, the course meeting frequency,the grading policy, additional prerequisite courses or skills, etc., as well as the syllabus.

Advertising: Not all sections of a capstone course may appear in the class schedule, but all will appear on AIM, together with brief headers that specify their topics. A more complete description of each section will be found at the Psych Student Support Services Office (1005 SWKT).

How many hours are expected per week for every credit hour?

Students must work/ participate in 3 hours of capstone activities for every one credit hour. It’s a 3 to 1 ratio. To get all 3 required credit hours, students must complete a total of 135 hours in a semester (averages about 8 – 10 hours of work per week).

How do you get started for Psych 496R (Internships)?

Contact Karen Christensen, our Family Home & Social Services Internship Coordinator, to explore possible internship opportunities and their availability, ex. 2-3697, SWKT 945.

Click here to visit our page about internships for more detailed information.

There is also a searchable internship database in SWKT 945 that students can use as well. There is an application process to get an internship approved to be used for course credit. This process can be done at:

Students can receive credit for both paid and unpaid internship positions.

How do you get started for Psych 410R (TA)?

Students need to be proactive and seek out professors to TA for. Students should consider courses particularly interesting to them that they did well in when seeking professors. The weekly psychology email is a place some professors utilize to solicit for TA’s.

Once students have instructor approval they need to contact Rachelle Gunderson to obtain the add code for the course at, ex. 2-4560, 1097 KMBL.

Students cannot receive 410R credit if they are getting paid for their TA position.

How do you get started for Psych 420R (Community Projects)?

Students should look at available sections for their desired semester on MyMAP, or keep an eye out for future courses in the psychology weekly email. When students find a potential 420R course they need to contact the professor instructing the section to find directions of how to get started, or follow instructions already provided (i.e., in psych mass email solicitations).

Repeating/ current 420R projects:

  • Section 1: Instructor, Miller. Student Journal Editorial Staff

How do you get started for Psych 430R (Research)?

Students need to be proactive in finding research to do. Some solicitations can come through psychology weekly announcement emails. Faculty research interests can be accessed online under the faculty directory when clicking on individual faculty members’ profiles. Current research capstones can be viewed on MyMAP, with individual instructors and research aims denoted with each section of the course. Professors should be approached, but students need to be explicit if they desire capstone credit because not all professors are willing to give credit. Students can also approach professors they already do research for to see if they will give credit.

Professors willing to take students will give them an add code if they have a capstone set up already. If professors don’t have a section set up they need to prepare a syllabus and get it to Rachelle Gunderson who will provide professors with add codes. ex. 2-4560, SWKT 1097.

Students cannot receive 430r credit if they are a paid RA