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Capstone Projects

The Capstone project is a compulsory course undertaken by all second year MPA students. This one unit course is a key part of the MPA core curriculum and is designed to ensure that students have an intensive and closely supervised experience of working in a group on a real-world public policy project. The Capstone groups tackle socially relevant and topical policy issues and the contribution of MPA students has been highly valued by the Capstone clients. As for the MPA students, they overwhelmingly consider the Capstone a major highlight of their LSE experience.

Capstone Partners and Projects

Over the years, the MPA programme has collaborated with a diverse group of highly reputable organisations. Our most recent partners include:

  • private sector companies: Centre for Public Impact of the Boston Consulting Group and ARUP
  • international organisations: UNICEF, UNESCO, the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development, OECD, and Gates Foundation
  • international development consultancies: Oxford Policy Management
  • NGOs and foundations: Migration Policy Institute, Bertelsmann Stiftung foundation and Fatherhood Institute
  • public corporations: Bank of England
  • UK government agencies: Greater London Authority and DFID

How it Works

During their second year of study, MPA students are assigned to groups (usually consisting of 3 to 5 members) and team members are expected to devote around 1.5 to 2 days a week to the project between October and February, including some holiday time.

Each project is supervised by a member of the MPA faculty, who provides guidance and monitors progress. The project earns a collective grade and students are expected to manage the division and development of work amongst themselves.

Developing Professional Skills

The Capstone provides an excellent opportunity to:

  • Learn and improve organisational skills required for successful planning and implementation of policy projects.

  • Strengthen policy analysis skills through the involvement in a variety of activities, such as reviewing policy literature, developing methodology, designing analytical framework, gathering data, carrying out the analysis, and drawing policy recommendations.

  • Sharpen policy report writing skills. Policy report is different from academic paper in that it requires application of analysis and research for solving a practical problem. Students learn how to effectively frame a policy problem and make strong and compelling arguments, whilst tailoring the report to a particular policy audience.

  • Enhance group working skills. Group working is an area that potential employers are increasingly focusing on during recruitment. Students are given guidance and professional development support during to help them focus positively and proactively on group working and also to enable them to deal promptly, effectively and appropriately with any issues that arise.