Senior Capstone Descriptions

The Capstone Experience, completed near the end of baccalaureate studies, integrates liberal learning with specialized knowledge. Each Capstone emphasizes sharing of ideas, synthesis, and critical, informed action and reflection, and each includes student initiative in defining and investigating problems or projects.

Capstones may be completed in or outside student's majors; in some departments, for psychology majors, the Capstone Experience is a requirement. All Capstones presume a significant scholarly background of specialized study in a major as well as in liberal education course work. In other words, a Capstone does more than culminate years of baccalaureate study: it culminates a student's liberal education.

Ordinarily, a Capstone Experience is taken at Miami and completed in the senior year (minimum of 96 hours registered or earned). Students who plan to transfer any course to meet the Capstone requirement must obtain permission from the Office of Liberal Education before they take the course.

Senior Capstone/Senior Course Titles and Descriptions

Fall Semester 2021

PSY 410D Section A 

Capstone Cognition: Psychology of Medical Decision Making

Instructor: Dr. Christopher Wolfe

Tuesday 8:30am - 9:50am  (Face-to-Face)

This discussion-based course explores the psychology of medical decision making. Medical decisions are among the most important that a person will ever make in their lifetime, and the decisions made by  physicians and other healthcare providers can be matters of life and death. Thus,  efforts to understand and improve medical decision making are potentially valuable to provide an excellent real-world domain to test psychological theory. We will explore the professional medical decision making literature, and consider a number of issues related to medical diagnosis and the comprehension and communication of medical risk.

PSY 410F Section A

Capstone Social Psychology

Instructor: Dr. Heather Claypool

Wednesday/Friday 11:40am - 1:00pm  (Face-to-Face)

This capstone will explore many social-psychological factors that shape how we evaluate political candidates, the values that underlie our political stances, and our decisions to vote (or not). Specific topics will include, among others: how do stereotypes influence our views of candidates, what role does social belonging play in determining our reactions to election outcomes, and which types of political messages are persuasive and why?

PSY 410F Section B

Capstone Social Psychology: Stress and Coping

Instructor: Dr. Allison Farrell

Wednesday/Friday 8:30am - 9:50am (Face-to-Face)

Stress and coping: Stress is an ongoing problem for many people, especially college students. In this course, students will read empirical journal articles and reviews by experts to learn about different forms of stress, identify populations who are at risk of experiencing especially high levels of stress, understand the consequences of stress for psychological and physical outcomes, and discover how to combat stress and promote resilience. In addition to typical seminar activities like class discussions, students will complete a variety of short daily activities to reflect on the stress in their lives, and will ultimately propose an intervention to help an at-risk group reduce their stress.

PSY 410F Section C

Capstone Social Psychology: Identity and Fandom

Instructor: Shannon Pinegar


"Do you ever become the character that you read in a story? Can you actually take the identity of someone in a novel or movie? This course examines how one's identity and world can become immersed within a story. We will cover the concept of the self and the effects of narratives on personality and behavior. Topics will include the self, fandoms, parasocial relationships, transportation, and experience-taking.".

PSY 410K Section A 

Capstone Psychology: Cross-Cultural Psychology

Instructor: Samantha Clark

Tuesday/Thursday 11:40am - 1:00pm  (Face-to-Face)

What is the role of culture in understanding how people function – our self-perceptions, relationships, personality, and psychological well-being? How are people’s lives, minds, and behaviors affected by intercultural encounters, cultural transitions, and cross-cultural mobility in a globalized world?

In this course, we will critically examine the importance of culture for psychological processes, focusing both on cross-cultural comparisons and the ways people enact and shape their cultural identities in everyday life. We will examine the role cultural processes play with regard to socialization, family and youth, self-perceptions, clinical psychology and gender dynamics.

PSY 410K Section B 

Capstone Clinical Psychology

Instructor: Lauren Jones

Wednesday/Friday 10:05am - 11:20am  (Face-to-Face)

Are you interested in becoming a provider of mental health services? Becoming a clinical psychologist, counselor, social worker, or substance abuse counselor? If so, you will encounter many patients who experienced trauma in their lifetime. This course will focus on trauma in the context of clinical psychology. The content will cover definitions of trauma, trace how trauma may impact distress and different forms of psychopathology, discuss the psychobiology of trauma, patterns of exposure, different psychological responses and clinical intervention, and how responses may vary by gender. We will discuss trauma-informed care and trauma-focused interventions. You will be asked to read case material that focuses on trauma, which may include but not be limited to the following: child abuse/neglect, sexual assault/rape, domestic violence, motor vehicle accidents, combat/war, refugees, etc. The entirety of this course is built around the text book, Trauma and Recovery, and supplementing this text with the most updated contemporary research. You will be reading research articles that are "hot off the press" published in the past few years, and that will provide a significant, updated complement to Herman's book in terms of the latest findings in neurobiology, psychology, and psychiatry.

PSY 410K Section C 

Capstone Clinical Psychology: Global Mental Health

Instructor: Samantha Clark

Monday/Wednesday/Friday 10:05am - 11:00am  (Face-to-Face)

People around the world experience mental health problems, though the burden associated with these problems is highest in low- and middle-income countries due to high population density. The gap between mental health needs and available resources is highest in these countries and yet, very little published research is available to address this gap. Researchers and policy makers need to think outside-the box to address the gap while being attuned to cultural and community differences in beliefs regarding health and wellness, help-seeking preferences, and relationships. In this capstone, we will grapple with key challenges in global mental health, explore culturally grounded beliefs and norms regarding mental health, and consider innovative solutions developed by individuals around the world.

PSY 410U Section B 

Capstone Developmental Psychology: Evolutionary Developmental Psychology 

Instructor: Dr. Brooke Spangler-Cropenbaker

Monday/Wednesday 2:50pm - 4:10pm  (Face-to-Face)

This capstone will be examining human development through an evolutionary developmental psychology lens. We will cover the genetic and ecological mechanisms that influence development and how developmental processes have influenced evolution. Topics include: parent-child relationships, the importance of play, the role of siblings and peers, language development, and more.