What Is the Capstone Requirement?
Every student is required to complete a Capstone Requirement as a part of their FEPAC-accredited degree. This requirement typically consists of 90-120 contact hours over the course of a fall, spring, or summer semester in which the student gets a deeper look into a specific field in a lab or justice system-related environment. Depending on individual student goals and circumstances, they may gain this experience as an intern, shadow, research assistant, or in some cases, an entry level employee. During this time, the student may hone or develop new skills (technical, soft, research, etc.), network contacts, and most importantly, greater perspective of the field in which they hope to work.
This requirement also consists of 3 upper level credit hours towards your degree, an 8-10 page paper on a scientific topic related to your experience, and a brief presentation to your peers about what you did during your experience.
When Do I Complete the Capstone Requirement?
Most students do internships during the last 1-2 years of their degree, but technically you're free to do this whenever you would like! You should take your class schedule/availability, course load rigor, and any other outside jobs, family responsibilities, etc. into careful consideration before deciding.
How Do I Complete the Capstone Requirement?
Our program advising office maintains a working list of possible opportunities (mostly in the DFW area) that would be suitable capstone experiences (examples below). Some of these are formal, recurring internship opportunities while others are local labs, researchers, etc. who are looking for help with some specific tasks. The latter are not necessarily always looking for interns, and a spot at your top choice is not guaranteed. Please keep in mind that many of these opportunities can be competitive and that we ultimately do not have final control over the placement of students - mentors will select interns that best meet their needs and requirements based on the application materials and/or interview process. You are also free to reach out to other crime labs, medical labs, analytical labs, police departments, researchers, or other justice system-adjacent mentors on your own as you see fit.
We can help you select a choice based on your qualifications and interests and provide guidance on reaching out to mentors and applying.
Possible Application Requirements
- Specific coursework, grades, or academic standing
- Specific availabilities
- Specific duration (most are 1 semester, but some prefer a 1-year committment due to training requirements)
Note: Some internships require background checks (may take months for federal agencies), drug tests, polygraphs, and more. Please remember to view requirements carefully.
- Let us know when you're interested by filling out an interest form
- Note: This is not an application and you do not need our permission to do an internship at any time. This process just allows us to help you understand eligibility constraints and see when multiple students are competing for the same opportunity.
- A Forensic Science Advisor will need to approve each internship
- An estimated 90-120 hours of contact should be expected and confirmed by mentor
- Any position in a lab or law-related environment is usually acceptable, though additional details may be requested for new or atypical internships.
- The internship or research mentor with whom the student will be working must email us confirmation before we can register you for the credit hours
Examples of Ideal Capstone Experiences
Local, State, Federal Laboratories
Tarrant County Medical Examiner's Office
Texas DPS Crime Laboratories (location availability varies)
Drug Enforcement Agency (Dallas location)
Private Forensic Labs/Firms
These are independent practitioners or privately owned businesses that offer forensic services in the DFW area that are sometimes looking for interns. Specific fields for these include:
- Forensic toxicology
- Forensic engineering
- Document examination
- Trace analysis
Law Enforcement Agencies
Local Sheriff's Offices or Police Departments
Federal Bureau of Investigation
Other Government Offices and Agencies
Denton County District Attorney's Office
Analytical, Clinical Laboratories
Shaken Baby Alliance
NSF-funded Research Experiences for Undergraduates (REU)
Capstone Thesis in Lieu of Internship
This option is typically reserved for students with unsurmountable barriers to obtaining or completing an internship or undergraduate research. Over the course of a semester, the student will write an in-depth research paper on a forensic science topic that is mutually agreed upon by the student and a faculty member who has agreed to mentor them. Express permission from a Forensic Science Advisor is required to substitute the thesis paper for a more traditional experience.