Physical Sciences Capstone Description
In their final year, students are required to complete an independent research-based Capstone project in the Physical Sciences in consultation with a faculty supervisor. This academic experience will be a valuable opportunity for the student to engage in cutting-edge research in the physical sciences, while simultaneously synthesising and utilising what they have learnt in their courses. The student will also have to communicate the results of their Capstone project to the faculty and their peers, using presentation and writing styles consistent with practices in the professional scientific disciplines.
Identification of project and supervisor
The capstone project in the Physical Sciences will be identified in conversations between the student, the potential supervisor, and the Head of Studies. Direct supervisors may be Yale-NUS faculty or other members of the academic community approved by the Head of Studies. If a student’s direct supervisor is not from Yale-NUS, a Yale-NUS faculty member will be assigned as a faculty supervisor who is responsible for the assessment and grade submission of the project.
The capstone project is expected to be a significant piece of original research that will be carried out over the course of the final year. It may involve experimental work in the laboratory of the supervisor, or theoretical/computational work under the guidance of the supervisor. The project will culminate in a dissertation that documents the context of the project based, the research performed, the results obtained, the ensuing discussion, and the conclusions reached at the end of the capstone.
Range of topics and formats
The capstone can be an experimental or theoretical project in, but not restricted to, physics, chemistry, or earth sciences. Purely library research-based projects will not be approved. The capstone project has to be a significant piece of original independent research, which may be a part of, or related to, the current research of the supervisor. The capstone may also be a project proposed and developed by the student, with the supervisor agreeing to provide laboratory space and guidance for the project.
Activities as part of the project
In addition to conducting the attendant research and writing of the dissertation, students are expected to meet with their capstone supervisors regularly throughout both semesters of the final year. This may involve formal scheduled meetings, attendance of the student at regular research group meetings of the supervisor, or informal discussions in the laboratory or research offices. This will enable the student to receive timely feedback on their work progress.
Format(s) of final product
The capstone dissertation is a substantial scholarly document that includes:
- An abstract
- Introduction which puts the student’s research into context
- Description of the experimental or theoretical methods used in the work
- Description of the results obtained
- Discussion based on the results
- Conclusions reached
- Bibliography listing the references used throughout the capstone dissertation.
There is no minimum or maximum word limit, but the dissertation can be expected to contain between 30 and 100 pages (even though much of that might just be data and results in the appendix).
The Physical Sciences capstone projects will be assessed based on: (1) the oral presentation (20 %) given to the faculty and peers in the second semester, and (2) the dissertation (80 %) submitted by the due date (as advised by Registry). Besides the faculty supervisor, the faculty attending the oral presentation will also contribute towards the assessment of the oral presentation. Assessment of the dissertation will be carried out by the faculty supervisor and a second examiner (assigned by the Head of Studies or designee), and it covers two aspects: (1) an assessment of the effort put forth by the student into the capstone project and (2) the scholarship of the written document.
All Capstone dissertations are archived in the Yale-NUS Library (home page → Capstone), which can only be accessed by faculty and students (https://nusu.sharepoint.com/sites/Repository).
Class of 2018
Gazit, Y. A. “Estimating Noise Bias of a Single-Qubit Pauli Channel”
Lai, Y. T. “Predicting III-oxide Transparent Conductors Using Materials Informatics”
Lee, K. Y. “Towards Fluorination of Leucine for Probing Inter-Peptide Side Chain Interactions”
Wu, S. J. “A New View of Fornax A in Ha”
Class of 2017
Chan, L. T. “Biological imaging using nitrogen-vacancy colour centres in nanodiamonds”
Naidu, R. P. “Insights into cosmic reionization, or how the universe went from hydrogen bubble bath to us-containing star stuff”
Sin, T. “Thermal comfort in urban environments: a 3D numerical model for standard effective temperature”
Updated Sept 2018