GV342M      Half Unit
Philosophy, Politics and Economics: Capstone

This information is for the 2021/22 session.

Teacher responsible

Dr Joachim Wehner


This course is compulsory on the BSc in Philosophy, Politics and Economics. This course is not available as an outside option nor to General Course students.

This course is exclusively for fourth year BSc PPE students.

Course content

The Capstone requires groups of students to carry out research and analysis in order to address a practical policy issue or problem relevant to a client organisation. This allows students to extend their capabilities and apply disciplinary and methodological knowledge and skills they learned in the PPE core courses to address real-life policy needs. Capstone clients may include public sector bodies, private companies, international organisations, think tanks and NGOs. The initial weeks of the course will introduce students to the requirements of Capstone projects, key research strategies and essential questions. At the same time, from week 1 students will begin to research in allocated teams. Students are also expected to work steadily throughout the term with members of their team and with their advisors. The completed research has to be presented by week 11 MT, both in the form of a team presentation and a research report.

Further details: There will be a two-hour workshop in week 0 of MT to introduce the projects available and students will then be able to list their preferences, which will be taken into account in deciding allocations. This session will also explain key issues and demands on the students. The workshops in weeks 1 and 2 of MT will discuss key research and project skills. The workshop in week 5 of MT will be a “course correction” session for teams to get guidance on the planned final shape of their reports. In addition, students can access regular help sessions throughout the term. Capstone teams will present their project findings by week 11 of MT.


8 hours of workshops in the MT.

These workshops are supplemented with regular help sessions.

This year, some or all of this teaching may be delivered through a combination of online and on-campus workshops and help sessions. This course includes a reading week in week 6 of MT.

Formative coursework

Capstone groups must produce 1 team presentation for the “course correction” session, usually in week 5 of MT. They must also produce a poster or presentation from their final (assessed) presentation for a final showcase workshop, which is usually held in week 1 of ST.

Indicative reading

  • Charles E. Lindblom and David K. Cohen. Useable Knowledge: Social Science and Social Problem Solving (New Haven: Yale University Press, 1979).
  • Eugene Bardach and Eric M. Patashnik. A Practical Guide for Policy Analysis (Sage, 2016).
  • Brian A. Griffith and Ethan B. Dunham. Working in Teams: Moving from High Potential to High Performance (Sage, 2015).
  • Ray Pawson. The Science of Evaluation: A Realist Manifesto (Sage, 2013).


Project (80%, 8000 words) and presentation (20%) in the MT.

Course selection videos

Some departments have produced short videos to introduce their courses. Please refer to the course selection videos index page for further information.

Important information in response to COVID-19

Please note that during 2021/22 academic year some variation to teaching and learning activities may be required to respond to changes in public health advice and/or to account for the differing needs of students in attendance on campus and those who might be studying online. For example, this may involve changes to the mode of teaching delivery and/or the format or weighting of assessments. Changes will only be made if required and students will be notified about any changes to teaching or assessment plans at the earliest opportunity.

Key facts

Department: Government

Total students 2020/21: 36

Average class size 2020/21: 33

Capped 2020/21: No

Value: Half Unit

Guidelines for interpreting course guide information

Personal development skills

  • Leadership
  • Self-management
  • Team working
  • Problem solving
  • Application of information skills
  • Communication
  • Application of numeracy skills
  • Commercial awareness
  • Specialist skills