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AVS 402: Capstone in AVS II


Students will draw together the knowledge and experiences they have gathered in their undergraduate program to create a Capstone experience.  This takes the form of a project which reflects the culmination of their degree and the work typical of their academic field of study.  Students will identify a faculty mentor to supervise their project, which investigates a problem in animal or veterinary science, aquaculture, or a related field.  The investigation may include scientific research in a laboratory, farm, or field site; literature review; meta-analysis; survey; design problem solving; or other hypothesis-driven testing.  For the 402 portion, students are required to submit a written project report and present an oral report to faculty and students.  AVS 401 and 402 collectively serve as the Capstone experience for Animal and Veterinary Sciences students. This course fulfills a Writing Intensive requirement.

Course Goals

The student will conduct a research/problem solving project, which can be performed under the supervision of a faculty member, as a group, or independently. In AVS 402, students will complete a written project report that will explain the project objectives and the context behind the proposal, the methods, and results/outcomes. Students will present the report/project results to faculty and students. Students completing the general education area of Capstone experience will be able to:

  1. Synthesize knowledge, skills, and dispositions gained throughout the student’s major of study.
  2. Demonstrate competence within the discipline through professional conduct and, as appropriate, critical reasoning, analytical ability, and creativity.
  3. Demonstrate effective communication skills.

Student Learning Objectives

At the conclusion of this course, student will have the skills to perform the following numbered tasks.  Course objectives specific to each learning outcome are provided.

  1. How to find and assess the quality of scientific information.
    1. In assembling background information about their topic, students will learn how to perform a search of scientific databases, how to read scientific literature, and how to assess information for validity and generalizability.
    2. In peer-reviewing other student research reports, students will learn how to peer-reviews manuscripts, including reviewing, editing, and scientific critique.
  2. How to present scientific information.
    1. Students will learn how write a scientific project report, including how to format documents according to a pre-specified scientific format, how to incorporate instructor and peer-review comments and revisions, and how to progress the maturity of concepts and writing with each successive draft. (Writing Intensive objective)
    2. Students will learn how to present results, including graphs and statistics, accurately and in ways which promote scientific communication skills.
    3. Students will learn how to create an oral presentation of their report using software tools and present to a technical audience.
    4. In going from the research project proposal in 401 to the final project report in 402, students will learn how to address the ideas and objectives they  “pitched” in their research project proposal which failed or which worked out differently than expected.  Students can explain ‘next steps’ or what they would have done differently.
    5. In developing the written research report, students will learn how to build a citation database and use it to create relevant in-line citations and a bibliography.

Taught Spring semesters

Satisfies a Writing Intensive general education requirement


** Syllabus is subject to change.



Attendance policy: Students are expected to attend lectures, but it is understood that life often precludes this.  Students may attend class virtually, through Zoom, which will be offered for each class.  Students who will miss a significant number of classes, or who require additional accommodations, may contact me to make alternate arrangements.

Class participation: Students are expected to participate in discussions in class.  I strive to create inclusive discussions, but if students still find it challenging to participate please notify me and I will alter the discussion format as needed.

Late Assignments: I will accept assignments after the due date. You will not receive a grade reduction for late assignments, but you waive the right to receive feedback which might impact the quality of successive drafts and your next grade.  Assignments will not be accepted after the final exam slot for this class.

Classroom policy: Supporting inclusion and community in science is an active process that involves both invitation, and support to ensure that the scientific community is and remains an equitable and inclusive place. Students are expected to conduct themselves in a professional and courteous manner, and to abide by University policies.

Campus Policies: “The University of Maine is an EEO/AA employer, and does not discriminate on the grounds of race, color, religion, sex, sexual orientation, transgender status, gender expression, national origin, citizenship status, age, disability, genetic information or veteran’s status in employment, education, and all other programs and activities.” Follow the links for more information.

Academic Honesty Statement*   

Students Accessibility Services Statement*

Course Schedule Disclaimer*

Observance of Religious Holidays/Events*

Sexual Discrimination Reporting (Long)*

Sexual Discrimination Reporting (Short)*

** I am a “mandatory reporter”.  If you disclose something to me, I am obligated to disclose to the relevant campus Title IX office.  This includes information revealed in class assignments.

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