Capstone Coursework

To graduate, you must complete capstone coursework (or transfer in an equivalent) - either an internship, capstone project or individual research. Capstone coursework integrates special studies with the HSS major, and extends, critiques and applies knowledge gained throughout the program. Students typically complete the capstone coursework in the final semester before graduation.

  • Most students complete an internship as their capstone coursework.
  • 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.
  • Occasionally a student with extensive health care experience may decide that their future goals are best supported by completing an individual research project.
  • For students who are accepted into the Audiology accelerated degree program, the clinical placements in those programs serve as an internship and they do not need to officially take the internship class or an additional capstone.

Internship in healthcare services (HSV 4900)

Students completing an HSS 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 the 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). Before completing the internship application, please read the HHS Internship Placement Process.  Additionally, 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 Internship 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, review the background check information and instructions.

Internship requirements

  1. You must complete all prerequisites before enrolling
  2. Apply to the internship program via the Intern Placement Tracking (IPT) system. You must complete the form and upload your resume and unofficial transcripts. See Application for Internship and Capstone Project below.
  3. Review the listing of internship sites and list any placements you are interested in on your application.
  4. Once we receive your application, you will meet with the internship coordinator to establish an appropriate, supervised placement to further your education and professional objectives.

  5. You must enroll in HSV 4900 and attend the internship seminar.

  6. You must provide proof of health insurance at the time of enrollment.

  7. WMU provides liability insurance coverage (a fee assessed when you enroll in HSV 4900).

You must have at least a 2.5 GPA to enroll in HSV 4900. If your GPA is lower than 2.5, you will have one semester to raise it to 2.5 so you can take the course. If you are unable to achieve the 2.5 GPA in one semester, you will be dismissed from the program.
Note: If there are hardship circumstances, the internship coordinator, the program coordinator and the director of the School of Interdisciplinary Health Programs will review the case.

If you are a registered, certified or licensed health care professional, you may pursue a clinical experience IF it exposes you to new skills or puts you in a situation outside your usual employment.

 

CAPSTONE PROJECT (HSV 4895)

The capstone project provides you with an opportunity to design and complete a project in health services. You can select this option if you have completed at least one year of employment at a health care or health-related organization. You will complete the project over one semester, typically your final semester before graduation. 

  • The capstone project requires you to conceive, plan and implement a special project in the scope of health care services and sciences. Students usually work on this project at their place of employment.
  • Capstone projects may take many different forms. Some examples are: patient satisfaction surveys in an applied setting, a written health literacy project, analysis of a health informatics system, clinical review of a therapeutic intervention, implementation of a quality improvement project, development of a patient manual or an educational program.
  • You will work under the supervision of an HSS onsite capstone project instructor.
  • Enrollment in the capstone project course requires departmental approval from the HSS internship coordinator.
  • Contact the HSS internship coordinator at (269) 387-3800 or by filling out our contact form.

You must have at least a 2.5 GPA to enroll in HSV 4895. If your GPA is lower than 2.5, you will have one semester to raise it to 2.5 so you can take the course. If you are unable to achieve the 2.5 GPA in one semester, you will be dismissed from the program. 
Note: If there are hardship circumstances, the internship coordinator, the program coordinator and the director of the School of Interdisciplinary Health Programs will review the case.

 

HEALTH AND HUMAN SERVICES INDEPENDENT RESEARCH (HSV 4890)

Restricted to certified, licensed or registered health providers, this course requires you to complete a research project related to a current issue in health and human services.

Independent research standards:

  1. You must select a research committee consisting of 1) a faculty mentor knowledgeable in the field of inquiry, and 2) a reader who can also act as a project resource (the second individual may work outside of the University).
  2. The program coordinator must approve the research project at the beginning of your senior year.
  3. You must document your research project in a paper, written in the professional or academic style appropriate to the discipline, and presented in a public forum approved by the program coordinator.

You must have at least a 2.5 GPA to enroll in HSV 4890. If your GPA is lower than 2.5, you will have one semester to raise it to 2.5 so you can take the course. If you are unable to achieve the 2.5 GPA in one semester, you will be dismissed from the program. 
Note: If there are hardship circumstances, the internship coordinator, the program coordinator and the director of the School of Interdisciplinary Health Programs will review the case.

 

APPLICATION FOR INTERNSHIP AND CAPSTONE PROJECT

Western Michigan University's Healthcare Services and Sciences (HSS) program uses a web-based data management system called Intern Placement Tracking (IPT) to track all students in field placements.

IPT allows the internship coordinator, graduate assistant and internship organizations to communicate with each other and with student interns. Students must complete and submit the online application for the HHS Internship or Capstone Project. Information about the application process, how to set up an account and how to use the system can be found here: HSS Internship and Capstone Project Application Instructions.

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.

Internship/Capstone
Project Semester
Application
Deadline
Spring June 1 (previous year)
Summer December 1 (the previous year)
Fall March 1 (of the same year)