Capstone Experience

To graduate, you must complete a capstone experience: either an internship, capstone project or individual research.  A capstone experience is one that integrates special studies with the IHS major and extends, critiques, and applies knowledge gained throughout your program. The capstone experience is typically completed in the final semester before graduation.

  • Most students will complete an internship as their capstone experience. 
  • Students who have at least one year of paid experience in health care or in a health-related organization may opt to complete a capstone project instead of an internship. 
  • Rarely, a student with extensive health care experience may decide that their future goals are best supported by completing an individual research project. 

Internship (HSV 4900)

Students completing an IHS internship integrate and apply their knowledge and abilities, as well as hone skills in preparation for employment or graduate study in a health care or health related organization. 

In the semester prior to internship, students meet with the internship coordinator to establish an appropriate, supervised placement that will further their education and professional objectives. A minimum of 200 clock hours is required for internships (some internships require more). A classroom seminar accompanies the internship placement (HSV 4900).  Please Note:  Before completing the internship application, please read the IHS Internship Placement Process.  Additionally, beginning fall 2018, all hosting agencies must have an affiliation agreement in place with WMU in order for a student to complete his/her internship there.  Please read the Student Intern Agency Affiliation Agreement Requirements.

Background check information

Some sites require pre-internship testing. You may be responsible for paying for these tests.  To process your self-initiated background check, please review the background check information and instructions.

Capstone Project (HSV 4895)

The capstone project provides students an opportunity to design and realize a project in health and human services.  It may be selected only by students who have completed at least one year of employment at a healthcare or health related organization. The capstone project is completed over one semester, typically the student’s final semester of his/her undergraduate career.

The capstone project requires students to conceive, plan, and implement a special project in an area within the scope of interdisciplinary health services. Capstone projects may take many different forms. Some examples are: analysis of a health informatics system, clinical review of a therapeutic intervention, implementation of community or public health services, review of ethical considerations in a specific healthcare setting, assessment of public health policy, or an educational program development.

Students will work in small groups under the supervision of an IHS capstone project instructor. Enrollment in the capstone project course requires departmental approval from the IHS internship supervisor. If you have at least one year of healthcare experience and desire to take the capstone project course, email Kathy Lewis Ginebaugh for more information.

 Individual Research (HSV 4890)

This course requires the completion of a credible research project related to a current issue in health and human services. The project must be approved and supervised by a full-time faculty member. This course is only open to students who are registered, certified, or licensed health care providers who wish to substitute a research project for an internship or capstone project. Interested students should email Doris Ravotas for more information.

Application for Internship and Capstone Project

Western Michigan University's School of Interdisciplinary Health Services (IHS) has begun using a web-based data management system called Intern Placement Tracking (IPT) as a means to track all students in field placement.

IPT allows the IHS internship coordinator, graduate assistant, and internship organizations to communicate more easily with each other and with students participating in internship. Students must complete and submit the online application for the IHS Internship or Capstone Project.

Please read IHS Internship and Capstone Project Application Instructions that detail how to access the application and set-up an account on IPT.

Direct link to create an application or access your existing account.

Application Deadlines

Applications are generally due one academic school year ahead of the semester in which the student wants to complete the internship/capstone project. Late applications are considered on a case by case basis.

  • Fall internship/capstone project - March 1 deadline
  • Spring internship/capstone project - June 1 deadline
  • Summer internship/capstone project - December 1 deadline