Capstone Program proposals are now being accepted through June 21st, 2024

What is the MPP Client Capstone? Anchor

What is the MPP Client Capstone?

The Client Capstone projects provide an opportunity for our graduate students to apply their skills, experience and knowledge to real-world policy and program challenges for real-world clients.

Students in the McCourt School’s Master of Public Policy (MPP) degree program have the opportunity to complete a Client Capstone project—a team-based, professional quality research and analysis consultancy for an external policy client. Over the course of two semesters, student Capstone teams, under the guidance of McCourt faculty, study, analyze and prepare thoughtful evidence-based answers to their client’s research questions by applying their education and training from our core curriculum in microeconomics, quantitative methods, and policy process and management.

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Information for Organizations Interested in Becoming Capstone Clients Anchor

Information for Organizations Interested in Becoming Capstone Clients

We are currently seeking proposals from potential Capstone clients for the 2024-2025 academic year. If your organization is interested in learning more about this opportunity to partner with our MPP graduate students and their faculty, we provide the following resources:

  1. For a quick introduction: Review the Frequently Asked Questions below for an introduction to our Client Capstone Program and answers to the questions potential clients ask most often.
  2. For more detailed information: Download and review our Guidance for MPP Capstone Clients document for details about the Capstone program’s structure, schedule, operations, and expectations if your proposal is selected. 
  3. To submit a proposal to become a Capstone client: Download and complete the Capstone Proposal Template. You may then either email your proposal to the MPP Capstone Director at micah.jensen@georgetown.edu or use our Online Capstone Proposal Tool to submit your proposal. The deadline for submission is June 21, 2024, and we will be reviewing submissions on a rolling basis. We typically receive more proposals than we can accept, but we give every proposal careful consideration and will advise all submitters of our decisions no later than August 22, 2024.
  4. To ask any questions or to discuss your organization’s particular needs and suitability for becoming a Capstone client: Email the MPP Capstone Director, Prof. Micah Jensen, micah.jensen@georgetown.edu, who will be happy to answer your questions via email or set up a convenient time to speak by phone or Zoom.
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Answers to Frequently Asked Questions from Potential Capstone Clients Anchor

Answers to Frequently Asked Questions from Potential Capstone Clients

What is the Client Capstone?

Students in the McCourt School’s Master of Public Policy (MPP) degree program have the opportunity to complete a team-based policy analysis Capstone project for an external client as a culmination of their degree. These projects emphasize application of quantitative and analytical skills for designing, evaluating and managing sound public policy, and offer students practical experience using their education from our core curriculum in microeconomics, quantitative methods, and policy process and management. The Client Capstone projects provide an opportunity for students to apply this knowledge to real-world policy and program challenges for real-world clients.

Within the structure of a course led by a McCourt faculty member, teams of four to five students collaborate with selected client organizations over the academic year to analyze a significant policy issue or problem of importance to the client. In late April, the student team delivers a professional-quality written consulting report analyzing the problem, developing policy alternatives, considering their implications, and making suggestions for implementation of the proposed recommendations. The students will also make an oral presentation of findings to their client.

Who can apply to be a McCourt School Capstone Client?

Any organization that is engaged in public policy may submit a Capstone proposal—we have had successful projects with national, state and local government agencies, non-profit organizations, for-profits, and both U.S-domestic and international institutions.

How might my organization benefit by sponsoring a Capstone project?

Clients that are selected as our partners for the Capstone program will, at the end of the academic year, receive a confidential Consulting Report prepared by the student team under the guidance of McCourt School faculty. The Consulting Report is customized for each client’s needs, and usually includes: a review of published scientific research; the results of rigorous data analysis conducted by the team; plans or recommendations for future data collection and analysis, if appropriate; answers to the client’s key research questions; and relevant policy recommendations. The final Consulting Report belongs to the client organization, with the stipulation that the student authors will be credited if the work is cited or distributed.

How much does the Capstone cost and what kind of resources must the client provide?

In order to make the Capstone program available to the widest possible variety of client organizations, there is no charge for participation. We do ask that potential clients be willing to commit to the project for a full nine months (September through May). We also ask that each client designate one employee or associate who will be their regular point of contact with the students and faculty advisor assigned to their project. The point of contact is asked to meet with the student team at least three times during the academic year (this may be in person or via video conference), and to be available for regular (at least bi-weekly) communication with the team via email.

What are some examples of previous Capstone projects?

Examples of client projects that McCourt Capstone teams have worked on in the past include:

  • Tracing the implementation of international development projects and identifying predictors of success and failure;
  • Developing a rigorous, empirical process for evaluating the impact of various housing security programs administered by a local nonprofit organization;
  • Developing quantitative measures of political budget cycles in election years;
  • Measuring and comparing the impact of various energy efficiency policies at reducing electricity consumption and increasing electricity savings in the United States;
  • Developing a predictive model for youth political violence in Sub-Saharan Africa;
  • Analyzing the impact of housing, education, and job opportunities on demographic changes in the District of Columbia;
  • Analyzing causes of job turnover among senior employees in federal government service and recommending policy options for increasing employee retention; and
  • Conducting cost-benefit analysis of several agriculture value chain interventions and analyzing the likely development impact of competing alternatives.
  • Creating comparative indices of government transparency, and women’s leadership in the public sector.

Are there projects that are not suitable for the Capstone program?

We regret that we cannot accept Capstone projects that:

  • Pose overly broad or primarily descriptive research questions, rather than seeking answers to concrete policy problems, concerns, or questions;
  • Consist primarily of the review and synthesis of other published research (i.e., a literature review should not be the only significant project deliverable—but all projects will include a literature review section);
  • Do not require either empirical data analysis or the preparation of an evidence-based impact evaluation plan; or
  • Are better suited to an individual rather than a team of students.
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