Capstone Experience

All students in the Bachelor of Science in Public Health (BSPH) program are required to complete a capstone experience. This experience varies depending upon the student's interest area and is usually completed near the final year of the program. While students are encouraged to participate in other work, research, or field experience opportunities such as internships when they are sophomores or first semester juniors, earning credit for the capstone requirement is limited to the student's last 3 semesters before completing their degree requirements. This allows the student to integrate more classroom learning during the Capstone.

1. Complete PUBHLTH 3180 (Capstone Preparation) before enrolling in Capstone. While you are enrolled in 3180 you should be actively seeking Capstone Opportunities and have it confirmed by the end of the semester that you are enrolled in 3180.

  • Honors students enroll in Public Health 3180E
  • All other students enroll in Public Health 3180

2. Capstone must be completed within the last 3 semesters before graduation.

3. Capstone must be completed at the same time as the Capstone course.  Capstone course options:

  • PUBHLTH 3191 (Internship)
  • EARTHSCI 5797.20 or another pre-approved Education Abroad experience,  (students will need to consult with their academic advisor to determine which programs are pre-approved)
  • PUBHLTH 3999 (Research) - A research experience provides students with an opportunity to get involved in public health research without requiring a thesis.
  • PUBHLTH 4999 (Research Thesis) - Engaging in research in public health that culminates in an undergraduate research thesis. This requires an application for undergraduate thesis research. Link to guidelines

4. Capstone experience must result in 120 hours of public health-related work meeting BSPH competencies (at least 2 foundational and 1 specialization) between the first day and last day of classes.

5. Students should meet with a public health academic advisor to ensure they are eligible to register for Capstone.

Honors students must complete an Honors Capstone Project, and are required to complete an Honors Capstone Project Application before beginning their Capstone work.    

The choices of Capstones are:

  • PUBHLTH 4999.01H – Senior Honors Thesis
  • PUBHLTH 3191E – Honors Undergraduate Internship  
  • EARTHSCI 5797.20 or another pre-approved Education Abroad experience (students will need to consult with their academic advisor to determine which programs are pre-approved) 


1.     Internship

  • Meet with a staff member in the Buckeye Careers Office to ensure your resume and cover letter are up to date.
  • Utilize Handshake (The Ohio State University Career Management System) to search for internships.
    • Internships can take on many forms and occur in many different types of organizations:
  • Non-Profit, For-Profit, Hospitals, Government Agencies, etc.
  • Internships should relate to and meet specialization competencies (public health sociology or environmental public health).
  • Use this opportunity to develop or enhance skills and explore different areas in the field of public health.

2.     Research

The following is a list of sample activities that undergraduate students enrolled in PUBHLTH 3999 - Undergraduate Capstone Research Experience might pursue under the direction of a faculty mentor. 

  • Complete CITI training, and other trainings as required
  • Read and review study protocols
  • Conduct laboratory based procedures
  • Conduct literature searches, create annotated bibliographies, write a summary of findings
  • Assist with recruitment of study participants, gathering research data, data input, data cleaning, conducting quality assurance procedures
  • Create data tables, figures, posters 

3.     Education Abroad 

EARTHSCI 5797.20 or another pre-approved Education Abroad experience may be approved for the Capstone. Students will need to consult with their academic advisor to determine which programs are pre-approved. 

1. Get registered for a Capstone course options:    

  • PUBHLTH 3191 (Internship) - Students can enroll themselves in the Internship course
  • PUBHLTH 3999 (Research) - Students will need to contact an advisor for a registration form
  • PUBHLTH 4999 (Non-Honors Thesis) - Students will need to contact an advisor for a registration form
  • PUBHLTH 4999.01H (Honors Thesis) - Students will need to contact an advisor for a registration form

2. Complete the Capstone Agreement Form (contact Dawn Williams,, Assistant Director of Practice Education and Career Services) to obtain the Agreement Form. 

3. Talk to your Preceptor/Supervisor to set start dates and establish goals.

After completing a capstone internship, students should be able to:

  • Describe newly acquired knowledge in one or more specific public health areas
  • Integrate classroom knowledge into a work environment
  • Refine BSPH competencies through skills obtained during the internship
  • Describe the 5 steps of effective career planning and development and demonstrate examples of activities accomplished for each of the first four steps.

When can I complete the Capstone Experience?

Students that have completed the majority of the Core Public Health undergraduate courses and are entering their senior year are eligible to complete the Capstone Internship Experience.

How do I find an Internship?

  • Handshake, a comprehensive, web-based career services management platform for sourcing, engaging, and hiring College of Public Health students for jobs, internships, and practicum opportunities
  • BSPH Undergraduate Career Services Carmen Shell.  All undergraduate students in CPH will have access to this platform to search for posted opportunities. 
  • Student Newsletter
  • Public Health organization websites may list internships in their careers section

Field Experience (Education Abroad)

Students may participate in pre-approved education abroad experiences for their Capstone. They should meet with an advisor well in advance to discuss which programs are pre-approved and work with the Assistant Director of Practice Education and Career Services to ensure they are meeting Capstone requirements during their time abroad.