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Wisconsin Energy Institute

Capstone Course Guidelines

Basic Guidelines | Internships, Research or Other Work Experience

Basic Guidelines

The capstone requirement of the Certificate in Engineering for Energy Sustainability (CEES) is meant to be flexible so that students can fulfill the capstone using a number of options: a senior design project, an honors thesis, relevant independent study courses, internships, and other research or work experience. Regardless of how the student chooses to achieve the capstone credits, he or she must adhere to the following provisions:

  1. The purpose of the project has a strong connection to energy and sustainability. This can include energy conversion, energy conservation and efficiency, resource utilization, environmental assessment, etc. related to sustainability of global energy use.
  2. The student demonstrates the ability to use engineering problem-solving skills toward the project.
  3. The number of credits is commensurate with the time spent working on the project. As an example, a student pursuing 3 sustainability credits for a semester should expect to work at least 10-12 hours per week (or 150-180 hours total) on the project.
  4. The project is approved and/or supervised by a faculty member in the College of Engineering.
  5. A designated faculty member from the student’s department also reviews and approves the project to see that it meets departmental standards and certificate principles (see list of designated faculty members below).
  6. The student submits a DARS Authorization form, signed by the faculty member who supervised the project plus the designated faculty member from the student’s department.

Most senior design projects, honors theses and independent study courses will be approved for sustainability credits if they follow these guidelines. Students who wish to obtain sustainability credits for internships and other work experience will need to follow additional steps (see “Earning Capstone Credits for Internships, Research or Other Work Experience” below).

Designated Departmental Professors for Approving Capstone Courses:

Earning Capstone Credits for Internships, Research or Other Work Experience

Students may receive up to 3 sustainability capstone credits for internships, research projects and other work experience. This requires receiving at least 1 academic/course credit and following the Basic Guidelines above. Therefore, students should CAREFULLY READ the following distinctions below!

I. To obtain academic credit for a summer internship:

Engineering students who are pursuing a paid, full-time engineering internship may receive 1 academic credit by enrolling in their department’s “001” course number during the same semester they are completing the internship (usually the summer). Students who enroll in this course must contact Engineering Career Services (ECS) and adhere to the guidelines of ECS in order to receive a passing grade, including:

  1. Attending a work meeting with ECS before you begin your internship. These work meetings are typically held in April and May. If you cannot attend a meeting, please contact ECS to receive a packet with the necessary information to complete the course requirements.
  2. Completing a 4-week progress check with your employer (provided by ECS).
  3. Completing a satisfactory work report to ECS (1200 word written report).
  4. Completing a satisfactory student evaluation in myECS.
  5. Having your supervisor complete the supervisor evaluation and have them send it to ECS.
  6. Participating in and completing your work term in a satisfactory manner.

Even though the 001 course counts for 1 academic credit, students can apply for up to 3 sustainability capstone credits for a given internship using the DARS Authorization form. The CEES faculty committee will review each submission and give final approval over the number of sustainability credits awarded.

II. To receive academic credit retroactively for an internship or research project:

To get credits retroactively, the student must apply for an independent study course with a designated faculty member in his or her department (see list on page 3). It is up to this professor to determine the independent study requirements and how many academic credits the student will receive (in accordance with departmental guidelines).

Regardless of the number of academic credits, students may receive up to 3 sustainability capstone credits per semester course toward their certificate as long as they adhere to the capstone provisions listed under “Basic Guidelines,” plus the following:

  1. The student must obtain a letter from his or her supervisor verifying that the work that the student performed had a significant energy-related component and involved the use of engineering problem-solving skills. In addition, the supervisor should also verify the amount of time the student worked (e.g. 150-180 hours during an entire semester for a 3-sustainability credit course).
  2. The student must apply for an independent study course with a faculty member in his or her department (exception: if a student does not need academic credits within his or her department, the student may take an independent study with a professor outside his or her department). The faculty member will then assign a final project (such as a research paper) related to the work that the student has conducted.
  3. A student who wishes to receive more sustainability capstone credits than academic credits must submit a DARS Authorization form with justification to support this request. The CEES faculty committee will review each submission and give final approval over the number of sustainability credits awarded.

It is up to the faculty member and student to develop an assignment that best matches the student’s interests while meeting academic standards for quality and effort. However, this project does not need to take an entire semester to complete (for example, the 001 internship course requires a 1200-word essay). The goal of this is to reward the student for the work that he or she already completed while adding an academic component. Consider the following example: a student works in an energy sustainability-related internship for 180 hours (and did not receive academic credit) and the professor assigns an independent study project related to the internship worth only 1 academic credit. The combination of the internship plus the independent study project would be worth up to 3 sustainability credits.

Designated Professors for Independent Study for Capstone Credits:

The following professors have volunteered to serve as instructors for independent study courses that can earn students capstone credits (provided that they follow the procedures above). Each professor has agreed to supervise up to 2 or 3 students per semester. If you need to take the independent study course in your department to receive academic credit, please contact one of the professors in your department listed below. If you do not need to take the independent study in your department, please contact Scott Williamsto find an available instructor.