Global Capstone

An Interdisciplinary Approach to the Capstone Project

Students from four Elliott School master's programs — Asian Studies, Global Communication, International Affairs, and Security Policy Studies — form teams to tackle a real-world policy challenge in the Global Capstone project. Capstone teams plan, implement, and present a group-designed, research-based project. The final products should make defensible policy recommendations that can be showcased as the culminating experience of a student’s time at The George Washington University. Although the Capstone is conducted under the guidance of a faculty member, groups have considerable agency throughout the process and are encouraged to be ambitious.

Capstone projects demonstrate students' ability to take an idea from conception to final presentation and combine academic knowledge, research, and professional skills into a coherent product. Students employ project management skills, briefing and public speaking skills, and analytic and policy relevant skills through the project.

At the end of the Capstone experience each group will have produced several deliverables.

  • A written product with policy recommendations.
  • A final briefing to a professional audience.
  • Various methodological outputs — both quantitative and qualitative.

Dissemination might additionally include:

  • A podcast
  • A product for a client or a particular audience
  • A website

Bottom line: The Capstone is a product for your résumé demonstrating combined academic and professional skills.

Capstone Course Credit

IAFF 6898 (1 Credit): Capstone Workshop
During the 1-credit Capstone workshop, students are organized into small groups or teams, refine the project’s policy question, develop a research strategy, select appropriate research methods, and begin their research. To enhance the educational experience of the student, all Global Capstone students are required to collaborate with a client organization. Capstone groups also develop a plan of action and assign specific tasks to their individual members. Each Capstone workshop and course is supervised by a policy expert who guides the project development and provides additional resources to the teams.

IAFF 6899 (3 Credits): Capstone Course
The 3-credit Capstone course includes the bulk of the team’s research, the completion of the report summarizing research results and/or presenting policy options, and an oral presentation of research findings and recommendations. In many cases, outside experts in the areas under investigation are invited to act either as resources or to evaluate the project's final conclusions and recommendations.