Global Capstone


Global Capstone is the culminating experience and signature project for Elliott School graduate students from seven masters programs, including International Affairs, Security Policy, Global Communication, Asian Studies, European and Eurasian Studies and International Economic Policy. Every year, over 300 students in 17 different thematic sections collaborate with client organizations to identify policy solutions to current global challenges. Capstone teams conduct in-depth policy analysis, often involving field-research trips to foreign countries, and present policy recommendations to some of the most prestigious institutions in Washington, DC. Previous Global Capstone clients have included the US Department of State, the Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS), The World Bank Group, and other exceptional private, public, and non-profit organizations.

*International Development Studies, Middle East Studies, International Science and Technology Policy and Latin American and Hemispheric Studies have program-specific Capstones.

Learning Outcomes

Capstone projects will employ academic knowledge, original research, and professional skills in a culminating project. Over the duration of the capstone, students will:

  • Enhance their knowledge of a policy issue and identify the key actors and dynamics involved
  • Design and execute a policy-oriented research project
  • Identify and utilize appropriate quantitative and qualitative research methods
  • Cultivate effective teamwork and work-related negotiation skills
  • Strengthen time-management skills to meet target dates
  • Develop project management, formal briefing, and analytic skills


The Capstone program is usually completed in the second year of graduate study at the Elliott School.

During the Fall semester, students register for the IAFF 6898 Capstone Workshop; in this course, students form groups, select topics, and develop client partnerships and project proposals.

In the final semester, students register for the IAFF 6899 Capstone Course; in this course, the majority of the policy research is completed. In late April, students present their findings to peers, faculty, and clients in a culminating Global Capstone event.

The Global Capstone Office has also started offering Spring/Fall and Spring/Summer sequencing options, in order to broaden Capstone offerings for students.


Communications and Public Diplomacy

Irina Karmanova

[email protected]

Conflict Resolution

Tobias Greiff

[email protected]

Defense Analysis and Policy

Robert A. Zirkle

[email protected]

Disinformation and International Affairs

Kristina Wilfore

[email protected]

Humanitarian Assistance and Global Gender Policy

Jennifer Fox

[email protected]

International Organizations and Security

Fabio Capano

[email protected]

International Development and Security

Russell T. Porter

[email protected]

International Economic Policy and Finance

Rollie Lal

[email protected]

International Security and Technology Policy

Atta Nasib

[email protected]

Transnational Security

Katie Donahue

[email protected]

Transnational Security: Security and Religion

Rollie Lal

[email protected]

Transnational Security: Environmental Security

Kurt D. Donnelly

[email protected]

U.S. Foreign Policy and Global Interests

Chris Kojm

[email protected]

Spring Cycle

Neal Kringel

[email protected]

Samuel Ledermann

[email protected]

Michael Simsik

Client Information

Working with clients is a fundamental aspect of the Capstone. The principal client deliverable is a report that identifies a clear policy action for the client, an argument for the policy action, or a policy-based deliverable that can be implemented by the client.

Working with an Elliott School Capstone team offers clients:

  • Research and analysis on a timely policy issue

  • Professional consulting from a team of diverse professionals

  • Innovative thinking from graduate students of a world-class international affairs program