Students working with farmer in a green house. The Capstone Project is a required collaborative project completed in partnership with a public, private, or non-profit institution. Small teams of 3-4 MENV students conduct each project. The Capstone Project consists of the Capstone Innovation Lab course sequence, including five credit hours of applied work during the Summer Session. 

The MENV course sequence (Capstone Innovation Lab 1, 2, 3) will hone students' professional skills, such as project management, community partner engagement, analysis, collaboration, and financial planning, that will be essential to success in their professional careers. Students will also develop valuable contacts and practical experiences through the networks they develop.

Capstone participants are not traditional interns. Instead, students are highly motivated graduate students, generally equipped with prior professional experience, who will provide innovative solutions and pertinent deliverables to Capstone client organizations.

In addition, Capstone Projects provide MENV graduate students with real-world, hands-on, applications-based experiences embedded within the context of an organization's needs and capacities.

For Students

Student Expectations 

An aspect of the MENV Graduate Program is foster future leaders and innovators. Student teams drive the scoping of their project, the planning, research, and associated work. Faculty and partner input is critical, but ultimately successful MENV students:

  • Work closely with teammates and Capstone advisors to set clear project goals and benchmarks
  • Drive the progress of the project with solution-orientated approaches
  • Demonstrate professionalism in all interactions with partner organizations and other community partners
  • Communicate regularly and professionally with the Capstone Partner and submit materials for them to provide feedback
  • Produce high-quality, sophisticated, professional products and services

Capstone Partners

Capstone partners will span a broad spectrum of organizations involved in environment, energy, and planning. CU Boulder's MENV program will partner with organizations from the NGO community, the private sector, as well as local, state, and federal governments. For example, current partners include Applied Ecological Institute, Boulder County Housing Authority, Crocs, Exxel Outdoors, Deloitte, E Source and more. 

Current Capstone Partners

For Partners 

A Capstone Partner is an organization that collaborates with the University of Colorado Masters of the Environment program through a Capstone Project with students. 


Capstone Partner Expectations

As we continue to build our network of community connections from the public, private, and nonprofit sector, we look forward to welcoming new and returning partners. Successful partners will: 

  • Stay fully engaged and committed to working with a student team for the duration of their 9-month project
  • Mentor and advise graduate students
  • Support of the educational goals of the project and the MENV program
  • Provide a single point of contact for the team and timely in response to team members
  • Give constructive feedback


Partnering with CU Boulder brings a number of benefits to external organizations:

  • Solutions to the complex problems faced by many organizations
  • Additional capacity from MENV program's top-level graduate students
  • Opportunities to gain insights regarding potential future employees
  • A relationship with CU Boulder that could result in other partnerships
  • Participation in training the next generation of environment, energy, policy, and planning professionals

Interested in working with our students?

Learn More or Submit a Capstone Proposal