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

Spring Semester 2023

PSY 410D Section A 

Capstone Cognition: Behavioral Decision Making

Instructor: Dr. Joseph Johnson

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

Psychology and other behavioral sciences are indispensable when forming policies and guiding practices of individuals, organizations, and governments to improve individual and social well-being. Such work is exemplified by Nobel laureate Richard Thaler and Cass Sunstein in "Nudge," describing the psychological principles that underlie how we can purposefully structure choices to guide them. We will learn about these principles and use a project-based approach to provide students with a deeper understanding within a focused topic area of their choosing. Students will produce research-based recommendations to influence individual or group decision making relevant to a targeted real public or private entity.


PSY 410F Section B

Capstone: Social Psychology: The Social Psychology of Electoral Politics

Instructor: Dr. Heather Claypool

Tuesday/Thursday 10:05 am - 11:25 am (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 410K Section A

Capstone: Clinical Psychology: Global Mental Health

Instructor: Dr. Vaishali Raval

Wednesday/Friday 10:05 am - 11:25 am (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 norms regarding emotions, mood states, 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 410K Section B

Capstone: Clinical Psychology: Trauma and Psychopathology

Instructor: Dr. Terri Messman

Tuesday/Thursday 4:25 pm - 5:45 pm (Face-to-Face)

If you become a mental health service provider, you will encounter many patients who experienced trauma during their lifetime. This course will focus on trauma in the context of clinical psychology. The content will include definitions of trauma, patterns of trauma exposure, the psychobiology of trauma, how trauma may impact distress and different forms of psychopathology, including different psychological responses and clinical intervention, and how trauma experience relates to held social identities. We will discuss trauma-informed care and trauma-focused interventions. You will be asked to read case material that focuses on traumatic experiences, 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 textbook, Trauma and Recovery. This text will be supplemented 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 410U Section A

Capstone: Developmental Psychology

Instructor: Dr. Vrinda Kalia

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