Writing/Capstone Requirements for all EES Majors
How does it work?
When the NU Core was implemented, it increased the number of “writing intensive” courses that students had to complete, from 2 courses (English’s first year course ENGL 1111, and English’s Advanced Writing course, ENGL 3301-3302-etc.) to 4 courses, by requiring that, in addition to the two English courses, two courses in each major will be required that involve substantial writing assignments as part of the grade. The NU Core also established a Capstone requirement for every student, that provides an opportunity for a student to have a substantial writing assignment in their major at junior/senior level. Most programs in the university set up a Capstone course requirement within the major that serves as one of the two writing-in-the-major courses, as well as fulfilling the NU Core Capstone requirement. The two approaches to Capstone we take (Thesis, for Environmental Studies majors, and Capstone, for Environmental Science majors) satisfy one of the two required writing-intensive-in-the-major courses.
Other writing-intensive courses that students take include: the either-or requirement of ENVR 5210 Environmental Planning (Prof. Rosen, Fall semesters) or ENVR 5250 Geology & Land Use Planning (Prof. Ross, Spring semesters); ENVR 2310 Earth Materials (Prof. Hill, semester offered varies); and (for students in the Marine Science or Wildlife Studies concentrations) BIOL 2311 Ecology (Fall, Summer 1 semesters). There are ample pathways for each student to complete the two writing-intensive-in-the-major courses for the NU Core, just by paying attention to your major requirements.
Environmental Studies majors satisfy the Capstone requirement by completing ENVS 4997 Senior Thesis. Talk with Jennifer Cole, the Head Advisor for Environmental Studies, about planning when and what topic to write on in that course.Professor Cole encourages Environmental Studies majors to consider starting on their thesis before their final semester. A few students have found that their topic grows to a larger scale project than they anticipated, and if you don’t finish by the time Spring grades are due, it will postpone graduation until the summer. Starting late in your junior year, or Fall of your senior year, should keep that from happening.
Environmental Science majors satisfy the Capstone requirement by taking ENVR 4900 Capstone (although you can sign up for a Thesis instead if you prefer). We offer a Capstone section every Fall and Spring semester, and it can be added to a summer term also if a student wants to enroll during the summer. You work with a faculty advisor who agrees to supervise your topic. Depending on what your topic is, one or another of the faculty will be the better choice to supervise it, depending on each person’s area of expertise. You don’t have to work out a project idea before signing up for Capstone, but talk with Mal Hill if you have questions or aren’t sure who might be the best person to ask. It’s a good idea to start thinking about what you might like to do, a few months ahead of time. That gives you time to talk with one or more faculty members to see who will supervise your project, and what the general scope will be.
Dual majors/Combined majors – Some of our Environmental combined majors don’t have a specific Thesis or Capstone requirement within the list of required major courses yet. Students in these programs need to keep in mind the NU Core requirements of completing two Writing-intensive-in-the-major courses, and remember that Capstone (or Thesis) is on the list of approved courses to meet the Capstone requirement of the NU Core. Students in Combined majors (new term for Dual major) can choose whether they prefer to complete the capstone following “Major A”, or “Major “B”, unless the program requirements specify one over the other department’s Capstone offering.
This probably seems a bit confusing, but Northeastern faculty have generally preferred to allow students to work with some flexibility in meeting graduation requirements where possible. So, it takes more sentences to cover all the options. No matter what year you are, if you have questions about these requirements, feel free to ask Mal Hill or Jennifer Cole for more information.