MPA – Capstone Project

20:834:563 Capstone Project (3)
The Capstone provides students with an opportunity to integrate learning from various courses with applied analysis of real-world issues. Students work individually under the guidance of a faculty member to develop a research design, carry out data collection and analysis, evaluate their findings, and provide conclusions and recommendations. The outputs are a project report and presentation to fellow students, faculty members, and invited guests. The capstone seminar serves as a culminating experience in the MPA program.

The course allows students to draw on material presented throughout the curriculum to develop and conduct an applied research project on a topic salient to public or nonprofit administration. This seminar will prepare students to use the skills they have developed throughout the program to analyze and solve key public management and policy problems. Students will complete practical analytic papers suitable for publication or public consumption as their key graded assignment. These papers demonstrate each student’s abilities and their collective body of skills and knowledge acquired throughout the MPA curriculum. The capstone project challenges students to clearly articulate a research question, identify best practices in the field through a literature review, and develop and execute a research protocol, in which the student:

  • Defines a research question that addresses an existing public or nonprofit problem.
  • Identifies a theoretical model through which to approach the issue.
  • Selects appropriate data collection methods.
  • Collects data.
  • Analyzes and interprets the data.
  • Develops a written report and oral presentation of the findings and recommendations.

Final projects are presented at a Public Policy and Management Forum. At the conclusion of the course, students will have demonstrated effective research skills, excellent oral and written communication skills, and will have displayed the level of knowledge necessary for effectively managing a public or non-profit organization as a competent leader.

[Prerequisites: 26:834:561 Applied Statistics & 26:834:562 Applied Research Design in order]

DOWNLOAD: Capstone Orientation Presentation

DOWNLOAD: Capstone Orientation Presentation Part II IRB- 1/11/18


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