Community Planning and Development: Capstone Project Overview
The capstone is an integrative 3-credit experience completed near the end of a student’s curriculum. It provides an opportunity for the student to demonstrate capacity to do professional work. The capstone project results in a professional paper that may be conducted as a research project or the preparation of a plan, evaluation, or assessment used in support of planning with a comparison of the outcomes/deliverables to the current state of practice (as drawn from research and/or professional literature). The capstone is normally undertaken as an individual project but under special circumstances may be conducted as a group project.
Completion of the capstone requires three elements:
- A prospectus, which consists of a brief paper of approximately four to five pages outlining the objectives, methods, and public interest relevance of the proposed project or professional paper. The prospectus is submitted to the capstone advisor, who may be any member of the Muskie faculty who agrees to supervise the capstone. The advisor determines when the prospectus is sufficient to proceed with the project. No presentation of the prospectus is required.
- The capstone presentation: Upon completion of the project, the student presents the results of the capstone. This normally takes place at capstone presentation sessions held in May, September, and December. The presentation of the capstone must be approved by the advisor based on a written penultimate draft of the final capstone paper. Capstone presentations are much like panel presentations at professional meetings, lasting about 20 minutes on average with additional Q&A time.
- The final report: The advisor determines the format and length of the final capstone report. The final report is normally submitted to the advisor after the presentation in order to incorporate comments received at the presentation, and is approved for meeting the MCPD degree requirement once all relevant comments and editorial guidance have been completed.