GV4H8E      Half Unit
Executive MPP Capstone Project

This information is for the 2015/16 session.

Teacher responsible

Dr Joachim Wehner and Dr Daniel Sturm


This course is compulsory on the Executive Master of Public Policy. This course is not available as an outside option.


There are no pre-requisites for this course.

Course content

Students will undertake a group project (in teams usually of 3 to 5 people) relating to a public policy problem faced by the Civil Service. The group will have a period of approximately 3 months to work on an issue defined by the client organisation, investigating and developing a workable solution to the problem.


Each Capstone group will be allocated a supervisor, who will provide overall guidance on the project's development and assistance with client liaison. Other members of staff may also advise as required.

Formative coursework

Feedback will be provided on presentations of work-in-progress during the project duration.

Indicative reading

Readings that are specific to project work will be distributed at the beginning of the course.  Useful preliminary reading includes: Charles E. Lindblom and David K. Cohen, Social Science and Social Problem Solving (New Haven: Yale University Press, 1979; Martha S. Feldman, Order Without Design: Information Production and Policy-making (Stanford, CA: Stanford University Press, 1989); Ray Pawson, Evidence-based Policy: A Realist Perspective (London: Sage, 2006); Office for Government Commerce Common Causes of Project Failure (London: OGC, 2004); Strategy Survival Guide (London: Prime Minister's Strategy Unit. July 2004; C. R. Cook, Just Enough Project Management (McGraw-Hill, 2004); J. E. McGrath and F. Tschan, Dynamics in Groups and Teams: Groups as Complex Action Systems, chapter three in M. S. Poole and A. H. Van de Ven (eds) Handbook of Organizational Change and Innovation (Oxford University Press, 2004).


Project (100%, 10000 words).

The project work is conducted in teams, and the assessment is based on a collective group mark for each component except in exceptional circumstances.

1) Presentation and submission of the project report to the client organisation. 20% of the marks are assigned by the client organisation.

2) Group project report. The main body of the report may not exceed 10,000 words and will be read by academic markers whose assessment will count for 60% of the final grade. 

Additionally, each group member must write a personal reflection on their contribution to the group's work, to be submitted alongside the report. The reflection should be no more than 600 words, and should include specific details of the student's contributions to the project. The reflections should not be included in the report submitted to the client.

3) The final 20% of the marks are allocated by the Capstone supervisor on the basis of the group's performance in terms of (i) scoping and project development (including coping with difficulties) and (ii) group working and self-management as a team.

Key facts

Department: Government

Total students 2014/15: Unavailable

Average class size 2014/15: Unavailable

Controlled access 2014/15: No

Value: Half Unit

Guidelines for interpreting course guide information

Personal development skills

  • Self-management
  • Team working
  • Problem solving
  • Communication