What is the capstone project?

“Think of your capstone project as a bridge between what you’ve learned in your classes and what you plan to do for your career or after you graduate. It is a time to apply what you’ve learned through your coursework in a project.” - Danae Romrell

When is the Capstone proposal due and where can I get more information?

The proposal is a key part of your capstone project. You should send the proposal the semester before you plan to register for the capstone course. The proposals can take up to a week to be approved. The official deadline for the proposal is the first day of the semester you plan to take the course.  However, you can’t register for the capstone course until your proposal is approved, so we recommend getting it turned in long before the deadline.

Click here to access the proposal form and for more information on the project proposal.

When proposing an internship or a project, is it more important that they align to our emphasis or our future career?

Your emphasis should be leading toward your career, but sometimes things don’t line up perfectly, so there is some flexibility there. You have to show that your project/internship relates to your emphasis so you can’t go completely off the rails with something that doesn’t relate at all.

If you do have a project/internship that has less of a connection directly to your emphasis, but is really going to help you with what you plan to do in your future career, you can show that in your proposal and explain how it will benefit you.

“If you’re planning on a career or job in whatever industry or whatever program that you know exists now, chances are that it will not even be a viable option in about 5 to 10 years. So a capstone is a great, safe place to say I’m going to create for a career that does not even exist right now. You test it out and find out other people with similar interests and you’ve now created a new career.” - Brother Kevin Brower

What if we need to change our capstone project after the semester starts?? Is there a way to adjust the proposal?

In week 4 of the capstone course you will submit a revised proposal, which means you will have those first four weeks of the semester to try it out and see what problems you might run into and things that you might want to change. Whatever you submit in your revised proposal at the end of week 4 in the course will stick and that is what you’ll be graded on at the end of the semester.

The capstone that I’m planning on doing is heavily involved in one particular department, do I need to work with that department’s capstone?

You can only use one project idea for each capstone course, you won’t be able to receive credit for two different capstone project courses on the same project. For your project, you’ll need to work with whatever department to help you in your emphasis for the IDS 499 course, but don’t sign up for that department’s capstone project course in conjunction with the IDS capstone course for the same project.

What is your recommendation when we do projects that we are not allowed to show? For example: Say you are working on a project for another company who owns the work and has you sign a non-disclosure agreement How do you submit assignments for the course?

There have been previous situations with students working for companies where they signed a non-disclosure agreement and there is a way for the school to work with those employers so that the student can present their work in a private setting and still get credit for their project.

If you find yourself in a unique situation like that, schedule an appointment to meet with Sister Romrell. Appointments are available in person, over Zoom, or over the phone. Click here to set up an appointment.

How do we show/display our capstone project?

On Campus Students: Your IDS 499 project has to be presented at the research and creative works conference which happens at the end of the semester.

Online/Off Campus Students: You’ll work with the instructor of the course to come up with an alternative place to present. It depends a lot on what your project is, but you have to present to an interested and invested audience of at least 2 people. A lot of people use their mentor or a co-worker and ask them to listen to their presentation.

Is there a bullet point list of the expectations for the Capstone Project or an Internship?

Projects end up being very different which means that there is a lot of flexibility for you. There are however some requirements you’ll want to keep in mind as you start thinking about your project:

  • You have to have a professional mentor throughout the duration of the your project: This mentor can be a BYU-I teacher, a local professional or someone in your field that you can contact regularly and not just via email. It can be anybody who is a professional in your field.

  • You must meet with your mentor 3 times so they can give your proper feedback and guidance on your project and presentation. Try to contact them on the phone, remotely, or in person.

  • You are required to work for 50-hours on your project during the semester that you are registered for the course.

  • Your project must be related to each of the areas you are studying for your IDS degree.

Do the Capstone and Internship courses need to be the last classes we take?

The prerequisite for the capstone project course is the completion of 80 credits and the prerequisite for the internship is the completion of 70 credits.

Interdisciplinary studies recommends that you do your internship at the end of your junior year, which is after about 90 credits. Although you can wait until your senior year to do your internship, we recommend that you not wait till the end and even try to do more than one internship if you can. You should remember that by the time you graduate you should be looking for a job, not an internship.

We recommend you do your capstone project during your last semester. However, you are not limited to taking your capstone project course your last semester. If you have an opportunity that is sooner, we want you to take advantage of that opportunity.

Are there parameters as to what kind of internship to get?

Find an internship that relates strongly to at least one of the pieces of your degree. It should be a minimum of 10 hours a week for a minimum of seven weeks with a minimum of 100 hours total.

“Even though IDS only requires one internship, you are not limited to one internship, you could start an internship right now and get a feel for something. You go and find something out and you experiment, or you find out I’m going down this path and I just did this internship, I don’t want to do this anymore. One internship may not be enough, even though we only require one.” - Kevin Brower

Is there any information on how to ask a company for an internship?

Many companies will post when they have internships. You could take the initiative and approach a company, but most students are looking at postings. The Internship office on campus offers resources to help you find postings for internships.

“[Going to see employers in person and contacting them] still works today because nobody does it, everybody is just looking for somebody to post a job that you can find on your cell phone or computer. Work your connections, work Linkedin. If you don’t have a Linkedin profile, set one up. There are trainings for it here at the career resource networking center in the MC. If you [go] to advising there are resources on the BYU-Idaho website where we can show you a list of all the past internships that students have done across the country in the past four years.” - Mark Willis

Should I look for and accept unpaid internships?

Sometimes there are internship opportunities that you may want to take advantage of that are unpaid. Make sure that what you will be doing and learning in the internship is worth the unpaid experience. If you end up with an unpaid internship and finances are an issue, the university has grants that are specifically for students doing an internship where the internship is creating a financial hardship. If you find yourself in this kind of situation where you have this great internship but will not be paid for the position, visit the financial aid office to see what your options are.

When would you recommend to start looking for an internship?

Start looking for an internship two semesters in advance and by the time registration opens for the semester you want to have your internship you should be applying for internships. For example, if you want an internship for Winter 2020 semester look at different internships during Spring and Fall 2019 semesters. When registration opens for Winter 2020 during the Fall 2019 semester, you should begin the application process around that time. Create a LinkedIn/Handshake profile to see what kind of internships are out there and what you would be interested in. You can always be looking for different opportunities and companies you would like to work with. It is good to be looking way ahead of time so you know what you will need to do and who you will need to contact when you start applying.

Lining up your semester with your internship timeline might be somewhat tricky because we are on a different track system than most, so there is a bit more flexibility with that when it comes to taking the internship course.

Can/Should I apply for international internships?

International internships are often not approved due to safety concerns. If you know of a good international opportunity that would greatly benefit you, start planning that earlier than you would a regular internship and have a good rationale of how it’s connected to your major. The approval process for international internships takes a lot longer and you would need to make sure that you have a really good reason for an international internship and that it is in a safe place.

Important information about Internships and Capstone projects:

  • You can’t do an internship with your family business.
  • You are allowed to go over 50 hours working on your capstone project as long as you have the time. “Putting more into it gives you a better product at the end that you can show in your portfolios to show future employers. Doing a really high quality project has some big benefits.” - Danae Romrell
  • Adding to a project that you previously started but didn’t finish is okay, as long as you fulfil the 50 hour requirement of work during the semester you take the capstone course.

For questions about the IDS Internship, you can email IDSInternships@byui.edu.

For questions about the IDS Capstone project, you can email InterdisciplinaryStudies@byui.edu.