Biological Sciences Shadowing Capstone

Working with a professional in your chosen career

Please read and ensure that you understand these guidelines before submitting your proposal. In developing your project and filling out all forms, be complete and descriptive to avoid delays. If you have any questions, contact the capstone coordinator:
Dr. Brian Antonsen
Phone: 304-696-6496

Note: you must have completed at least 16 hours, and preferably more, of BSC courses that count towards the major before registering for Capstone.
A complete list of the required forms and other resources can be found by clicking here.
Start early enough to leave sufficient time to complete required paperwork before the registration deadline.

Shadowing Projects

You may build a Capstone project based upon your learning during a professional shadowing experience. You must register for Capstone while you are shadowing, to permit building a strong reflective project during the experience. This also enables your shadowing experience to be verified as sufficient for building a project, and performed within the specified time. For that reason, we ask your shadowing mentor to monitor your performance and report back. However, the shadowing itself and the mentor’s assessment of your performance are not your Capstone project. The reflective materials you develop during the shadowing, and then deliver back to the department for assessment, constitute the Capstone.

You should understand that neither the department nor Marshall University require shadowing, or select the location of your shadowing experience. Biological Sciences is not a clinical department and does not require internships, rotations, clinical experience, or any other experiential training as a requirement for completion of your degree. Any shadowing you choose to do, and any agreements or stipulations associated with it, are completely between you and the facility that agrees to allow you to shadow.

Shadowing Mentor

Start the process of identifying a mentor early, at the latest halfway through the semester before the semester during which you want to perform your Capstone. Some guides to help you identify possible mentors can be found by clicking here. In identifying your mentor, try to find someone who works in a field that interests you or is part of your career goals, and who seems to be enthusiastic about mentoring a shadowing student. Situations where either the mentor or mentee are less than enthused about the project are not likely to result in a worthwhile experience for the student.

Important Note: Relatives, or anyone else who might have a conflict of interest, cannot mentor shadowing projects. You cannot receive pay for a shadowing experience used for a grade. If you have any doubts about a potential conflict of interest, please discuss the circumstances with the capstone coordinator before submitting the project.

Once you have identified a mentor, it is critical that both you and your mentor fully understand the guidelines and due dates. Be sure that your mentor sees and agrees to the conditions  as outlined in the Shadowing Mentor’s Agreement Form. Your mentor will sign this form before the project begins, but you should make them aware of the form and requirements early. The agreement form can be found on the forms and resources page. As you and your mentor develop the proposal, ensure that you set clear expectations for your shadowing experience. The project description you will submit should make it clear to the capstone administrator exactly what activities you will undertake. Fine details of the activities themselves are not necessary at this time. Be sure to get your mentor’s address and phone number to include on the proposal form.

Start early enough to leave sufficient time to complete required paperwork before the due date for that paperwork.

Writing Your Proposal

We will look for three main things when reviewing your proposal:
1. Sufficient detail to be convincing that it is a worthwhile, and legitimate, professional shadowing experience that will benefit you in your career development.
2. Enough detail to understand what you will experience, and that you cannot gain this experience in a regularly scheduled course.
3. A clear assessment plan, with some deliverable in the form of a report, presentation, or some other tangible proof that the experience is worth two credit hours.

Hints: Your Capstone should allow you to apply  knowledge gained in classes. In order to simplify the approval process, you should ensure that you describe the merit of your shadowing in view of your career goals, the types of specific experiences you will have, and how these experiences will benefit you academically or professionally. Also be sure to clearly describe the expectations for delivering some manner of project report or presentation for assessment. The standard assessment for most shadowing projects consists of a daily log book, and a comprehensive and reflective written report. If you plan to use the standard assessment, you must specifically say that you plan to do the log book and comprehensive report in your proposal.

You can also propose an alternative assessment plan for consideration. Details are discussed during the approval process.

Project Approval

The project approval process works as follows:

1. After working out the details of your project with your mentor, you fill in the online project proposal form and submit it to the Department of Biological Sciences for approval.
2. After review, you will either receive notice that your proposal requires changes, in which case you follow the instructions to address any deficiencies, or you receive a preliminary approval notice. In that email you will get a link to an approval form.
3. Once you have your preliminary approval notice, you take the approval form and the Shadowing Mentor’s Agreement Form (on the Forms page) to your shadowing mentor for signatures.
4. You return the signed approval and agreement forms to the capstone coordinator BEFORE the start of classes. Submit all forms via email. At that time you will receive final approval, and receive permission to register. You should deliver the Mentor’s Evaluation Form to your mentor now if you have not already.

During the Shadowing Experience

Once you begin your project you must keep a log of your activities. Use this log to help reflect on your activities and get the most out of your experience.  Note: patient information is confidential. You should not keep any identifying or personal information in this log, nor should you discuss any patient specifics with anyone. You must submit midterm drafts as you progress, and final projects at the end. More information concerning the log book and report will be distributed once you are in the course.


Using the standard assessment plan, your evaluation will be based 50% on the log book, and 50% on a final report you will prepare based on your experiences. More on writing the report can be found by clicking here, or on the “Forms” page. Start writing the report early. It is worth 50% of your final grade and is assessed for clarity, comprehensive coverage of the experience and related knowledge, and depth of reflection. You must submit all evaluation materials before the start of final exams. If you proposed an alternative assessment, we will set your evaluation during the approval process.

Your clinical mentor must also, before the start of final exams, submit the Mentor’s Evaluation Form to the capstone coordinator. This form does not directly contribute to your grade, but your mentor must report good performance on your part for you to receive a good grade. If you require an extra copy, the evaluation form can be found on the forms and resources page.

Following submission of the log, the report and the mentor’s evaluation form, we will award your final grade. If any of the required items are late it may jeopardize your grade and graduation.

Online Project Proposal

Once you have read and understood the above information, and developed your project plan, click below to access the online form.

Click here to access the Online Shadowing Capstone Project Proposal form.