Students in the MS in Urban and Regional Policy program complete their degree requirements by engaging in a group capstone project in conjunction with and in service to a public, nonprofit, or private sector partner. These capstone projects are research based and client oriented policy analyses, focused on client needs and, in the end, to be applied by the client to the problem at hand. Such projects should focus on the kinds of problems that clients ideally want addressed but which they neither have the time nor resources to pursue given other priorities. The projects should be large and multi-faceted enough to challenge a team of students, but not so open ended or sophisticated that it requires PhD economists or statisticians.
Project teams are comprised largely of students in the Urban and Regional Policy program, who will have had core training in program evaluation, research methods, statistics, and, to varying degrees, more specialized skills (e.g., Cost/Benefit analysis, survey research, GIS). The capstone is open to other programs, so it will not be unusual for teams to include students from architecture, law and policy, public administration, and, even, civil engineering. Areas of focus can range from transportation, parking, housing, and sustainability to more social policy oriented problems of workforce development, immigration, and health. Students will work in 3-5 person teams over the course of 15 weeks, supervised by program faculty, and conclude with presentations to clients, faculty, and fellow students.
Laurie Dopkins, Ph.D.
Director of Academic Programs