Is a capstone project course similar to a practicum?
September 9, 2019 3:20 PM   Subscribe

Hi. I am a fourth year undergrad, studying a minor in environmental studies and sustainability. I am taking a third-year capstone project course, but I am not sure if it can be considered a practicum for work experience? There's a lot of group research projects and individual research projects as well. I am not sure, since most practicums take place outside of the academic classroom, I believe?
posted by RearWindow to Education (7 answers total)
I have always considered practicums to be nearly exclusively outside the classroom, with minimal (if any) academic deliverables and capstone project courses to include more classroom portions, with some academic deliverables. For instance, my senior design class included sections on ethics and patent law, with corresponding short papers on both - I would not expect that in a practicum.

So, is a capstone project work experience? Not fully, but for a long time, I put it on my resume anyway. The project included the start and proof of concept of a project that ended up transitioning into a funded project after graduation that employed several people on the project team.
posted by saeculorum at 3:57 PM on September 9, 2019 [3 favorites]

No, a capstone is not work experience. It serves the same function as a senior thesis. Presumably you’ve done individual and group projects in other classes, and this is no different except in scope.
posted by Autumnheart at 4:52 PM on September 9, 2019 [7 favorites]

What do you need it to count as work experience for? If you're trying to meet specific requirements for graduation or some such, you should consult an advisor at your school.

As saeculorum says, you can absolutely brag about your results on your resume/CV. And you can absolutely learn skills from it that are relevant to your future career.

However, it's an entirely different beast from a practicum / internship. In a practicum, I'd expect you to be working for an organization alongside people who are paid to be there, getting a sense of what a "real job" is like.
posted by Metasyntactic at 5:58 PM on September 9, 2019 [4 favorites]

To clarify, do you have a specific purpose in mind?
posted by chesty_a_arthur at 6:26 PM on September 9, 2019

@chesty_a_arthur Yes, it is research oriented and we have to present our research /policy issues to an actual environmental organization /non-profit.
posted by RearWindow at 4:17 AM on September 10, 2019

Capstone project courses are not practicums - 25% of your time over one carefully supervised term is definitely not full-time experience - but don't overlook their importance as long-term networking opportunities with people in your fields, both your student colleagues and the people in industry you'll be working alongside.
posted by mhoye at 6:21 AM on September 10, 2019

Generally not work experience.

However, your presentation (oral/ poster) at $foo Symposium 202x definitely goes into your CV (at least until you have enough to put in there and need to start cutting stuff out).
posted by porpoise at 10:13 AM on September 10, 2019

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