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College of Environment and Design

Capstone Independent Research Project

Capstone Independent Research Project Course Description

EETH 4010/8010 - Credit: 3 hour

An environmental ethics research project under the direction of a faculty member done independently of regularly scheduled classes.



Students successfully completing this course will:

  • Complete an environmental ethics research paper.
  • Recognize and differentiate between competing perspectives that impact complex environmental issues.
  • Draw from and synthesize interdisciplinary resources to propose solutions to complex environmental problems.


Research Project Expectations

Because the certificate program is interdisciplinary and draws undergraduate students from many majors, schools, and colleges, students produce papers covering a wide variety of topics. Development of the topic requires a commitment to mentorship on the part of the supervising faculty member. Faculty interactions with their students last over the course of one and sometimes two semesters.

Supervising faculty advise students through the process of conceptually developing a research project, devising appropriate research methods, obtaining any requisite institutional consent (e.g., IRB approval for human subjects research), collecting and analyzing data, and summarizing and interpreting the results in the form of a final paper.

During the early stages of this process, students often perform a review of existing literature dealing with the ecological impacts and ethical issues connected to their chosen topics. This literature review exposes students to different views regarding specific aspects of their topic as well as various approaches to research. Faculty often meet with the student to discuss details of the research project along with broader issues. Broader issues commonly encompassed ethics and other values that are entailed in both the decision-making processes of individuals as well as the responsibilities and limits of public policy.

Once the groundwork for the paper is established, faculty continue to interact with their students throughout the writing process, commenting on multiple drafts that culminate in the final paper. Regardless of the topic chosen by the student, successful completion of the certificate paper entails the synthesis of a broad range of ecological and philosophical theories.


Past Research Projects

EECP Undergraduate Certificate Papaer Archive

EECP Graduate Certificate Paper Archive

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