Capstone Projects

Capstone I

The program aims to improve the ability to carry out research tasks through capstone and research topics.

Capstone II

The program aims to improve the ability to carry out research tasks through capstone and research topics.

Capstone III

The program aims to improve the ability to carry out research tasks through capstone and research topics.

Description of the Capstone Project

Students in PSM start the supervised Capstone Project once they have completed nearly all core courses in the program by enrolling either in person or online. The Project is coordinated by a faculty advisor and is intended to demonstrate the student’s ability to carry out independent scholarly research, draw logical conclusions from data gathered, and present the results in a clear, intelligible, and consistent form according to established convention in the scholarly community. In essence, the Capstone Project will allow students near the end of their programs to have the opportunity to synthesize the course work while applying their knowledge to a practical problem. The student may choose a research area of interest discovered while taking a course.

Therefore, it is the student’s responsibility to meet all of the requirements and NOT the faculty advisor who must ascertain that the standards have been met. Students meet as a class once a week for two months either in person or online. Upon completion of the Project, students present the Project in an open forum to the committee, other faculty, and peers.

Goals of the Capstone Project

The purpose of this course is to provide students with the opportunity to acquire and demonstrate skills involved in developing and designing a viable research Project, which are collecting and analyzing data, evaluating research data and drawing conclusions, making an oral presentation of research findings, and applying the APA format. Capstone Projects must address practical issues in public administration and must do so in a rigorous fashion.

Although variations are permitted, these Projects commonly take one of four forms:

  • 01Analysis of a policy question with recommendations
  • 02Analysis of a public law issue with administrative guidance and recommendations
  • 03Description and analysis of a public management strategy, approach, or trend with recommendations
  • 04Case study of an organizational issue with lessons learned and recommendations

The Capstone Project challenges student and tests their abilities and has proven its value over and over. For instance, many students have found Capstone Projects to be useful as writing samples in job searches. Some have developed substantive and technical skills by completing the capstone research that has proved instrumental in securing a job following graduation. Consequently, it helps exemplify the students’ professional competencies and has been designed to be an integrative experience for PSM students.

Objectives of the Capstone Project

Upon completion of the Project, students will be able to:

  • 01Develop a research question
  • 02Formulate a testable research hypothesis
  • 03Conduct a literature review
  • 04Draw conclusions and make recommendations based on the available data
  • 05Show an understanding of the ethical issues surrounding the collection and reporting of research data

Requirements of the Capstone Project

Each student must complete a research Project that conforms to the requirements described in the handout called “Capstone Project - Requirements.” Each Project must be organized into a five-chapter APA format on a topic related to public administration. Research Projects must utilize a methodology appropriate for the research topic.