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Capstone Courses SOC 480/494/495

All the Capstone Courses in the Department of Sociology are designed for undergraduate students to demonstrate independent learning in their major. In part, that’s what a college degree symbolizes! The goal of the Capstone Project is to transform personal interests into researchable interests through a written project. Ideally, students enroll in a capstone course having reflected on the ideas and experiences that bring each of you to pursue a degree in Sociology and/or Criminology and Justice Studies in the first place.

Ultimately, a Capstone Project should demonstrate:

  • the ability to identify an original advocacy position for research and/or action;
  • the ability to find, engage, and critique peer-reviewed scholarly research, and as such, identify any “knowledge gaps” that need to be filled in; and,
  • the ability to articulate an informed vision on future research ideas AND practical actions.

By taking a Capstone Course, all students create their own platform of skills and ideas that propel the next chapter of life and career beyond college graduation.


Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the Department of Sociology is modifying our approach to SOC 494 and SOC 495 in Fall 2021 and Spring 2022. For Fall 2021 and Spring 2022 community service learning/internship classes, Soc 494 and Soc 495 will be adjusted to accommodate students with and without internships. Every section will include alternative online classroom activities and assignments related to paths after graduation such as career exploration and graduate school information/preparation. Students will also learn about the field of public criminology & justice studies and/or sociology. The University strongly recommends that students search for and choose virtual (remote) internships. 

Advising for SOC 494 and 495

Dr. Theresa Suarez, Internship Coordinator will be hosting 3 optional advising meetings each semester:

Fall 2021 Dates

  • Tuesday, October 26th, 4:30-5:30pm
  • Thursday, November 18th, 12 – 1 pm
  • Wednesday, December 1st, 4:30-5:30pm 

 Spring 2022 Dates

  • TBD

Please fill out the form below if you would like to attend any of the information sessions this semester. 

Fill out my online form.
After registering, you will receive a confirmation email containing information about joining the meeting.

Overview of SOC 494 and SOC 495

Both classes are capstone or culminating seminars for our majors, with a small class size of only 25 students. The goal for both SOC 494 and SOC 495 is to apply your knowledge in the major to real life issues.

Soc 494 or SOC 495 is required for the CJS major.

Soc 495 is an option for Sociology majors. (The alternative choice is Soc 480, a class that focuses on scholarly projects such as an extended literature review or research study proposal.)

During this pandemic, the professor will not expect a minimum of hours for your virtual or remote internship.

In non-pandemic context, you would be required to complete at least 60 hours during the semester. You should secure the internship prior to starting the course; graded assignments in class based on your internship start in the second week of the semester. Training sessions in your internships “count” as hours. Up to 10 hours prior to the semester starting “count” towards your hours. 

  • How do you enroll in class?

    Enroll directly in Soc 494 (CJS majors only) or Soc 495 (SOC or CJS majors) at your appointed registration time. You should be a senior and concerns about prerequisites should be directed to the department internship coordinator.

  • How do you choose an internship?

    Important: During the pandemic and following university guidelines (7/31/20), virtual or remote internships are strongly recommended and they are indicated on the Office of Internship database. As described above, while we are in the COVID-19 context, you can enroll in Soc 494 or 495 without an internship. Visit this department website for updates.

    This process takes several steps and ideally should start weeks if not months before you start class.

    1. Log onto the Office of Internships Database and review opportunities.

      1. If you want to work with a particular community partner that is not in the database, you will need to complete a Request community partner form.

      2. If you have any questions about the appropriateness of the internship site and relativity to your major, you can contact your instructor Dr. Theresa Suarez (Fall 2021-Spring 2022).

    2. Apply for the internship position by following the instructions detailed in the opportunity listing.

    3. The process for each site varies and might be a very lengthy the process (e.g., law enforcement).

    4. You likely will need to have an application, cover letter, resume, fingerprinting, background check or a formal interview.

    5. Once you secure the internship position, return to the database and create your placement prior to the start of the semester.

    6. Professors may require a timesheet for the hours during the semester and most require you take fieldnotes about your experiences. 

  • How to Find Remote Internships
    1. Log onto the Internship database, choose CSUSM as your campus, and click on the Opportuites tab at the top of the page.
    2. Choose Internship under the Opportunity type box’s drop-down menu, then choose Remote in the Tags’ Boxes drop-down menu. You will see a list of remote opportunities.  Check to make sure the one you are interested in is not restricted to students of a particular major or graduate degree.
    3. Apply for the remote internship by following the information on the application instructions for the site you have chosen.

Advising for SOC 480


Feel free to review a presentation on Internship Online Student Registration - Spring 2020

Please do not hesitate to contact the Department of Sociology Internship Coordinator Dr. Theresa Suarez (Fall 2021-Spring 2022) who will be happy to answer any questions you may have.


Visit the CSUSM Office of Internships for additional updates and information