Capstone Program proposals are now being accepted – deadline extended until 7/28/2022
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 requirement 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.Back to Top
Who can apply?
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.Back to Top
What are the benefits?
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.Back to Top
How much does the Capstone cost?
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.Back to Top
What are some examples of previous 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.Back to Top
What are the proposal requirements?
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 (a literature review should not be the primary project deliverable);
- 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.
How do we apply?
Proposals for Capstone projects are accepted each June & July for the following academic year (September through May). We are currently accepting and reviewing proposals on a rolling basis through July 21st, 2022. Decisions for this year will be announced by August 20th, 2022.
If you are interested in submitting a Capstone project proposal, our Proposal Template can help you to gather the necessary information that we will need. When you are ready to submit your proposal, you may either:
- Enter the requested information using the Online Capstone Proposal Tool; or
- Enter the requested information into the Proposal Template, save it, and email the completed document to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Please be sure your contact information is correct so that we can reach out to you if we have any questions about your proposal.Back to Top
You may email Prof. Micah Jensen, Director of the Client Capstone Program, if you have any questions or would like to discuss a possible project before submitting a proposal.