Public Health Capstone

The Public Health Capstone is intended to be an integrative service-learning experience in which students bring together much of the competencies and skills acquired during their time in the Public Health Major and in college. The capstone will count as 5 credits and a minimum grade of 2.0 is required.

A recent student shared this about Capstone:  “SPH 491/492 class has honestly been my favorite class I've taken at UW! [This] made me more aware of a population I had never worked with, it gave me the opportunity to apply skills I had learned as an undergrad, and helped me understand how to assess and address a public health problem.”

The Capstone integrates previous knowledge, applies it in a real world setting, and helps develop skills such as cultural competency and civic responsibility as students seek to identify, assesses, and address public health problems.

In Capstone, students engage in a service-learning experience, a literature review, reflections, a synthesis paper, and a presentation.

Students may register for the following options to complete their Capstone:

  • SPH 496 – one 5-credit course completed in one quarter; offered AUT & WIN quarters
  • SPH 491 & SPH 492 – two courses, total 5 credits, completed in two quarters requiring enrollment in the same discussion section across quarters; SPH 491 is offered in WIN quarter for 2 credits, and SPH 492 is offered in SPR quarter for 3 credits
  • Grand Challenges Impact Lab: India – one quarter study abroad, 5 credits may be applied to meet the Capstone requirement; offered WIN quarter
  • Grand Challenges Impact Lab: Seattle – one course, total 5 credits; offered SPR quarter

The service-learning component, which is a community based, real-world experience completed in small groups and will be arranged ahead of time by the course instructor. The service-learning sites are predominantly direct service organizations that support efforts to address a wide range of public health issues such as homelessness, food insecurity, access to health care, educational opportunity gaps, recent immigrant and refugee services, housing and many more.

Service-learning sites in recent quarters have included the following:  The American Heart Association, Bailey-Boushay House, Chinese Information and Services Center, Cleveland High School, East African Community Services, HS3 High School in the Highline District, KC Juvenile Detention Center, Mary's Place, Noel House, Planned Parenthood, Votes NW, Redmond High School, Refugee Women’s Alliance, Seattle Public Library, Teen Feed, Union Gospel Mission, United Way of King County, Urban Rest Stop, the Vulnerable Populations Strategic Initiative, and Within Reach.