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Students in the School of Public Policy and Urban Affairs complete their degree requirements by participating in a group capstone project in conjunction with and in service to a public or nonprofit sector partner.    

Collaborative Projects: Led by Neighbors, Supported by Student Teams

The Policy Capstone is a School of Public Policy and Urban Affairs graduate course where our partners and our students integrate research, policy, and practice in real-world projects. It is an opportunity for graduate students to use their skills and knowledge to support a local, community-led initiative. And it is an opportunity for our public service and non-profit partners to increase their networks and capacity to push a project forward.

Projects are proposed by public sector and non-profit organizations. Areas of focus span:

  • urban and regional policy (e.g., transit-oriented development, housing, and sustainability);
  • social policy (e.g., workforce development, community services, urban education, health); 
  • public and nonprofit sector management (e.g., strategic planning, budgeting, program evaluation).

Each project partner works with a team of three to five faculty-guided graduate students over the course of 15 weeks. Most students are enrolled in School of Public Policy and Urban Affairs Urban Planning and Policy, Public Policy, and Public Administration programs. These policy programs sharpen students’ policy skills and deepen their knowledge of policy issues. Students are trained in policy analysis, research methods, statistics, and, to varying degrees, more specialized skills (e.g., cost/benefit analysis, program evaluation, data visualization, survey research, GIS). 

If you have any questions, contact our Capstone Director, Dr. Kim Lucas:

Example Spring 2023 Capstone Videos

CultureHouse wanted to develop new data collection and engagement methods to use as part of their urban transformation work. Our MPP/MPA student team created an update-able interactive map and some innovative and easy-to-use data collection tools. 
Boston Public Schools’ Department of Early Learning recently started an internal working group focused on family engagement. This working group wanted to understand ways that their internal work might better align to serve families across the City of Boston. They engaged our MPA/MPP/SRS student team, who deployed their skills to interview 22 professionals, analyze findings, and recommend next steps for the working group.