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EIU Online Psychology

Psychology Capstone Experience

A capstone is the top and last stone to be placed on a structure (like an arch).  Capstone requirements are meant to be completed during a student’s senior year (after completing 90 hours and PSY 3805), and are designed to provide a culminating educational experience for the psychology major. In combination, completion of the capstone requirements can serve the student in a number of ways. They may allow students to (1) apply many aspects of the major, (2) integrate coursework, knowledge, skills, and experiential learning, (3) synthesize psychological theory and experimental research on a particular topic, (4) obtain in-depth understanding of one aspect of the field of psychology and a chance to explore extensive research on that topic, OR (5) display a mastery of learning and the ability to apply it to new, unusual, and integrated project requirements.

As a requirement for graduation with a psychology major, all students must complete and document the following four requirements.  

Capstone Requirements

  1. Presentation. Students will demonstrate the ability to communicate information about psychology effectively in an oral format (e.g., conference presentation, debate, lecture) and for various purposes (e.g., informing, defending, explaining, persuading, arguing, teaching).
    This requirement may be met by any of the following:
    • In-class presentation.
    • Oral Presentation at either an undergraduate or professional research conference.
    • Poster Presentation as a first author at either an undergraduate or professional research conference.
    • Presentation of directed research results at a special Psychology Department Research Forum (NOTE: Although this may be held in conjunction with the Research Methods forum, it is not meant to include presentation of research methods class studies.  This requirement must be met after the student has completed PSY3805)
  2. Engagement with Original Primary literature. Students will demonstrate the ability to engage with original primary literature in psychology. In doing so, students can demonstrate reasonable skepticism and intellectual curiosity by asking questions about causes of behavior; seek and evaluate scientific evidence for psychological claims; tolerate ambiguity and realize that psychological explanations are often complex and tentative; and/or recognize and respect human diversity and understand that psychological explanations may vary across populations and contexts (APA, 2007).
    This requirement may be met by any of the following:
    • Completion of a course with substantial reading and discussion of original published psychology research.
    • Completion of a paper for a course which requires substantial citation of original published psychology research.
    • Completion of independent study, thesis, or directed research requiring reading and use of original published psychology research.
  3. Writing in Psychology. Students will demonstrate the ability to write effectively about psychology.
    This requirement may be met by any of the following:
    • Completion of an honors thesis or directed research requiring the write-up of original conceptual or empirical psychology research or an integrative theoretical paper, whereby the student may engage original primary literature and demonstrate critical and integrative thinking.
    • The write-up of original conceptual or empirical psychology research or an integrative theoretical paper, whereby the student may engage original primary literature and demonstrate critical and integrative thinking.
    • Submission of an article to a professional psychology journal as first author.
  4. Critical and Integrative Thinking. Students will demonstrate critical and integrative thinking pertaining to psychology (e.g., use the scientific approach to solve problems related to affect, behavior, and mental processes).
    This requirement may be met by any of the following:
    • According to APA: “A capstone experience can be an extended project that requires the application of critical thinking skills to a wide range of issues. If well designed, capstone experiences can provide meaningful measures of critical thinking, but the instructor needs to have clear critical thinking objectives in mind when planning the capstone experience because it is not likely to assess critical thinking without deliberate planning.”

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Contact Information

Eastern Illinois University
600 Lincoln Avenue
Charleston, IL 61920

(217) 581-2127
Fax: (217) 581-6764
onlinepsych@eiu.edu


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