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Capstone Analytic Project (CAP)

UPDATE november 2, 2018:

We will continue to accept proposals until all students have a project in place; however, we highly recommend as soon as possible (ideally by December 1st) in order to maximize the number of students available to apply for your project.

Client-Based Projects

Overview for Prospective Clients - What is the CAP (Capstone Analytic Project (CAP)?

In their final (third) semester of study at the Goldman School of Public Policy (GSPP), each MPA student, with faculty guidance, conducts an analysis of a significant policy or programmatic challenge or opportunity facing an organization or policy practitioner. In this project, the Capstone Analytic Project (CAP), the student applies the interdisciplinary methods, approaches, and perspectives that comprise the GSPP curriculum.

MPA students spend 10-15 hours per week on their CAP (for a total of 150-250 hours of work), starting over the winter break or in January and finishing by early May. A student’s findings and recommendations are most often presented as a professional quality written report, but may take other forms (such as, for example, a reorganization plan) as agreed between student, client and instructor. During the Spring semester students meet weekly with their faculty advisor and MPA peers to discuss their project work. The final product must meet both the academic standards of the School’s faculty and the standards and needs of the client.

If you or someone else in your organization would benefit from having a public policy graduate student analyze and develop recommendations regarding a policy problem faced by your organization, we encourage you to consider submitting a proposal. You are more than welcome to forward this information to other organizations who might be interested.

For more details about the CAP, please review the Letter to Prospective Clients above.

CAP Project Timeline

August - November

Submit proposals. Clients begin to submit project proposals in early September for students to review, with most students finalizing their client choices by mid-November.  We encourage clients to submit project proposals early during this timeframe as students begin to apply for project proposals as early as September. In principle, relationships between students and clients, as well as the basic project scope, should be established no later than December 15th.

January - May

Project work begins. Students begin projects during the week of January 22, 2019, although students can begin preliminary work on the project depending on the needs of the client and/or the project (if mutually agreed upon between the client and student).  Students are required to attend a weekly seminar with a faculty advisor and another 10-12 Goldman MPA students doing their own projects.  Students are expected to spend 10-15 hours per week on the project throughout the Spring semester.


Draft project due. Draft paper is due to the faculty advisor and client for review and feedback.

Early May

Final paper due. Final paper is due to the faculty advisor, client, and GSPP student services unit.