Capstone Projects

Every Certificate Student is Required to Complete a Capstone Project

Capstone projects provide an opportunity for students to apply classroom learning to hands-on sustainability challenges working with an organization, agency, business, or non profit on campus or in the community. 

Sustainability Capstone REquirement

Sustainability Certificate Students are required to complete a 3 credit Sustainability Capstone, typically satisfied by taking the Sustainability Certificate Capstone Course (SUST 4500s/6500s). If you need to request an alternative Sustainability Capstone credit, please review the Non-SUST 4500s/6500s Capstone guidelines below.

Sustainability Capstone Guidelines

  1. Capstone projects can occur during fall or spring semester and may extend over more than one semester. (You do not need to wait until your last semester at UGA to complete your capstone.)
  2. Capstones are typically team projects (3-5 students on average).
  3. Students must register for a minimum of 3 credit hours for one semester for the capstone project.
  4. Students must identify or be matched with 1) a campus or community partner and 2) a faculty or staff Subject Matter Expert.
  5. For capstone projects involving children, students will not assume a supervisory role over minors (i.e. parents/guardians and/or school staff will always be present during any interaction with minors).
  6. Students must write a reflection on the capstone project to be included in the final portfolio.
  7. Students must present their capstone project prior to graduation.


  1. Identify capstone project
    1. There are two possibilities for project identification. You may:
      1. Participate in our Project Selection Survey at the end of the semester preceding your capstone project semester, from which you will be assigned a project identified by a campus or community client as part of an interdisciplinary team, or
      2. Develop your own project, which must be approved by the Director prior to the start of your capstone semester (please see guidelines for developing your own independent project below) that you will invite teammate to join.
    2. It is recommended that all students attend the Capstone Workshop the semester prior to their capstone semester. The workshop will be the starting point for understanding the structure, process, and expectations of the capstone. The workshop will include the following:
      1. self and skill evaluation
      2. nuts and bolts of the capstone process
      3. details about the capstone course
      4. details on working with a campus/community client and faculty/staff Subject Matter Expert
      5. process for developing your own capstone
  2. Identify Subject Matter Expert
    1. Prior to beginning work on the project, the capstone team will need to identify a Subject Matter Expert (SME).
    2. SMEs can be internship supervisors, faculty, or staff. All SMEs must be approved by the Certificate Director.
    3. The main role of the SME is to be a point of reference for expertise and advice.
    4. Depending on the type of project, the  SME’s degree of involvement will vary.
  3. Register for course credit
    1. Students must register for a minimum of 3 credit hours for their capstone course (SUST 4500s/6500s) prior to drop/add deadline
  4. Reflect on capstone learning
    1. At the end of the capstone, students will be expected to develop a reflection (essay or video essay) on their project to be included in their certificate portfolio. The reflection should communicate how the capstone experience influenced their sustainability learning and their ability to approach sustainability challenges.
    2. Written reflections should be 3-5 pages in length. See the Portfolio page for more details.
  5. Present capstone work
    1. Prior to graduation, the student must deliver a presentation about their capstone experience.
    2. Typically this occurs at the Capstone Final Presentation event.  Alternatives include the Semester in Review or the Sustainability Seminar course. 
      1. Students must indicate their presentation venue in their certificate checklist.

Independent Capstone Projects as part of SUST 4500s/6500s

When developing an independent Capstone Project students should:

  1. Identify a campus or community partner
  2. Work with that partner to identify a specific problem or need that will engage the student’s academic learning with a hands-on sustainability challenge
  3. Student or partner compete the Project Request form


We strongly encourage all students in the Sustainability Certificate program to consider applying for these grants as they develop their capstone project. Deadlines apply for these opportunities; please check websites for complete details.

CURO Research Assistantship

The CURO Research Assistantship (CRA) supports experiential learning opportunities that only a major research university can provide. As part of an initiative to enhance the UGA learning environment, the CURO Research Assistantship Program provides 500 stipends of $1,000 each to outstanding undergraduate students across campus to actively participate in faculty-mentored research.

Campus Sustainability Grants

The UGA Campus Sustainability Grants Program provides competitive funding for student-proposed projects and initiatives designed to advance sustainability through education, research, service, and campus operations.  Applications in the fall, implementation in the spring. 

Social Ecology Studio Project Pilot Grants

The Social Ecology Studio is a multi-researcher, collaborative art workspace dedicated to advancing sustainability and resilience through the arts. Capitalizing on art's ability to engage, inform and activate a diverse range of constituents, the studio acts as a bridge, humanizing and connecting community members and policy makers with issues entrenched in social ecology. The Studio facilitates collaborations with scientific and social research topics from across campus and the community, serving as a hub for graduate and undergraduate students to identify research opportunities while providing space and resources to work collaboratively. Download the full details (PDF)

Non-SUST 4500s/6500s Capstones

Reasons for requesting an alternative capstone

  1. Academic: Alternative capstone best meets academic trajectory, post graduation goals, and connects Sustainability Certificate to discipline of study.
  2. Scheduling: The Sustainability Certificate Capstone Course conflicts with a required course for graduation both fall and spring semester of your senior year. (If you know you have a required course middle of the day MWF your final semester, you should make every effort to take the Sustainability Certificate Capstone course the semester before.)

Process for non-SUST 4500s/6500s capstones:

Prior to enrolling:

  1. Identify options for an alternative capstone that is at least 3 credits (course, internship, etc.) and determine how you will ensure that this alternative will provide you with an opportunity to apply your academic sustainability learning to a hands on project in your primary field of study. Ideal projects are collaborative (teams) and meet an identified community need. Theoretical projects will be considered on a case by case basis.
  2. Present your alternative capstone to the Certificate Director in Office Hours or at a scheduled appointment time for approval prior to registration for the term in which you will complete your capstone.
  3. Complete the “request for a substitution form” on the SC Website. Capstone substitutions for fall semester must be submitted by April 15. Capstone substitutions for spring semester must be submitted by November 15.

During the semester:

  1. At the beginning of the semester, update the Director with project details and how your work will incorporate all three spheres of sustainability through e-mail or during office hours.
  2. Check in through e-mail or office hours mid-way through the semester on project progress and to identify opportunities to enhance the sustainability components of the project.
  3. Present capstone project at the Sustainability Capstone Final Presentations at the end of the semester.
  4. Write Sustainability Capstone reflection and upload it to your Sustainability Certificate Website with supporting artifacts.

If you are a project partner interested in hosting a capstone team, more information is available here.