Capstone Project Policy

All Fletcher students must complete a capstone project during their final year. The capstone project must evidence scholarly and/or professional analysis informed by the sustained and appropriate application of analytical methodologies. The capstone project is a significant analytical piece of work: it represents work of a higher standard than what is normally expected of a term paper and provides an opportunity for students to draw on their methodological, analytical, and substantive learning in a comprehensive written study.

While all capstone projects are alike in that they must build on significant analytical work and consist of a written final product, the specific form of the final product can differ widely. While capstone projects may include presentations employing alternative media (e.g., podcasts), such alternatives cannot substitute for a written final product. Students and faculty may choose these different forms in pursuit of their different pedagogical aims, specific career goals, etc. Students are encouraged to make clear arrangements with supervising faculty early on about what the mutual expectations are of the capstone project.

The detailed requirements for any capstone project are determined by the supervising faculty member and can take a wide range of forms, including but not limited:

  • A traditional academic research thesis (Note that students who intend to apply to the PhD program must choose a traditional academic re­search thesis for the capstone project).
  • A policy paper (whether for a government, an NGO or an international organization, or for a real or imaginary client)
  • An operational plan (in development, in business, in public diplomacy, etc.)
  • A case study
  • A business plan

The Registrar’s Office has put together a proposed capstone timeline for students to assist with planning purposes. Please note that following this timeline is optional and your capstone advisor has the final say as to when drafts and edits are due.