The Master's Capstone

Rather than write a thesis or take a comprehensive exam, students at the Trachtenberg School complete a Capstone Seminar as their final core course.  In this course, students work with a team of classmates to provide substantive pro bono research and evaluation services to a real client. This gives students the opportunity to apply what they learned in class to analyze a substantive policy issue for their client and present their findings in response to a project scope of work.  This course serves as a capstone of the students’ professional education and an introduction into the professional practice of public policy analysis.

Sample of Recent Capstone Projects:

  • "Children First for Oregon: Budgeting For Full Investment In A Child" for Children First For Oregon
  • "Formalizing an Effective Process for Updating Women’s Preventive Services in the Affordable Care Act" for the National Women’s Law Center
  • "The Impact of 'Ban the Box' in the District of Columbia" for the Office of the DC Auditor (ODCA)
  • "Equity and Environmental Justice in City Sustainability & Climate Action Plans" for the National League of Cities, Sustainable Cities Institute
  • "Agricultural Development and Poverty Reduction: A Cross-National Analysis" for the World Bank Group, Enabling the Business of Agriculture
  • "Legislative Roles in Regulatory Review: Lessons from States & Countries" for the Congressional Budget Office (CBO)
  • "Coastal Hazard Mitigation" for the Coastal States Organization (CSO)
  • "Feeding the Future for Opportunity Youth: Should DC Central Kitchen Enter the Youth Job Training Space?" for DC Central Kitchen
  • "An Exploratory Analysis of Veterans Employment and Training Service Resource Content and Distribution at American Job Centers" for the U.S. Department of Labor Veterans Employment Training Service (VETS)
  • "U.S Coast Guard Search and Rescue Policy Environment" for the U.S. Coast Guard
  • "Cost-Benefit Analysis of Show-Up, Stand-Out" for the D.C. City Government
  • "State-specific Solar Energy Policy Landscapes" for the Solar Energy Industries Association
  • "Simplifying Policies for Government Services in Paraguay" for the Inter-American Development Bank
  • "Juvenile and Adult Justice Diversion Programs – What Works?" for the U.S. Department of Education
  • "Summer Meals Transportation Barriers and Solutions: Opportunities and Practices for Promising Partnerships and Recommendations for Stakeholders" for Share Our Strength Center for Best Practices
  • "Meeting the Needs of Homeless Youth: Defining the Problem and Identifying Program Models" for the Montgomery County Coalition for the Homeless
  • "Valuing the Cost of Land Based Oil Spills – Refining the Data and Analytical  Process" for the U.S. Department of Transportation
  • “Mind the Gap: The Changing Disparity between Student Needs and School Support Services in the Wake of the Great Recession” for the Economic Policy Institute
  • “Expanding the Scope of Practice for Non-Physician Healthcare Workers and the Effect on Primary Health Care Access, Cost and Quality” for the National Governor’s Association
  • “Early Intervention to Reduce High School Drop Outs in New York” for FHI360
  • “Strengthening a Coalition of Youth Advocacy Organizations in Washington, D.C.” for the D.C. Alliance of Youth Advocates
  • “Realizing the Potential Health Benefits of Capital Bikeshare” for Capital Bikeshare
  • “Emergency Response: Building Financial Resilience at the State and Local Levels” for the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), Office of External Affairs
  • “Educating Jail Administrators about the Affordable Care Act” for the Federal Interagency Reentry Council Staff Working Group

A Sampling of Recent Capstone Clients Include:

  • Alexandria (Virginia) Gang Prevention Mentoring Partnership
  • Alliance for Consumer Protection, Inhalant Abuse Prevention Program
  • American Cancer Society
  • American Red Cross
  • Americorps/NCCC
  • Anacostia Coming Together
  • Annandale Christian Community for Action
  • Appalachian Coal Country Watershed Team
  • Arlington County Government
  • Bethany House of Northern Virginia
  • Bread for the City
  • Bright Beginnings
  • Budget Advisory Council, Arlington County School Board
  • Calvary Baptist Church
  • Center for Law and Social Policy
  • CHF International
  • Children First for Oregon
  • Coalition for Non-Profit Housing and Economic Development
  • Coastal States Organization
  • College Summit
  • Commonwealth of Virginia
  • Communities-in-Transition
  • Community Ministry of Montgomery County
  • Congressional Budget Office
  • Council of the Great City Schools
  • Creative Associates
  • D.C. Central Kitchen
  • D.C. Chamber of Commerce
  • D.C. Children and Youth Investment Trust Corporation
  • D.C. City Government
  • D.C. Council Committee on Human Services
  • D.C. Department of Health
  • D.C. Department of Parks and Recreation
  • D.C. Fiscal Policy Institute
  • D.C. Office of the City Administrator
  • Defense Orientation Conference Association
  • Equal Employment Opportunity Commission
  • Equal Rights Center
  • Fight for Children
  • Freedom House
  • Groundwork Anacostia
  • HandsOn Greater D.C. Cares
  • Helping Individual Prostitutes Survive
  • Hispanic Committee of Virginia
  • HUBZone
  • Institute for Public-Private Partnerships
  • Inter-American Development Bank
  • International Housing Coalition
  • Justice Ventures International
  • Latino Economic Development Corp.
  • League of American Bicyclists
  • Lupus Foundation of America (DC Chapter)
  • Manna, Inc.
  • Martha’s Table
  • Mentoring TodayMontgomery Coalition for Adult English Literacy
  • Metropolitan Council of Governments
  • Montgomery County [Maryland] Planning Department, Maryland National-Capital Park and Planning Commission
  • National Academy of Public Administration
  • National Association of Community Health Centers
  • National Capital Planning Commission
  • National Governors’ Association
  • National Guard
  • National Highway Transportation Safety Administration
  • National Human Services Assembly
  • National League of Cities
  • National Women's Law Center
  • NOMA Business Improvement District
  • Northern Virginia Volunteer Organizations Active in Disasters
  • Northwest Settlement House
  • Office of Policy Analysis, District of Columbia City Council
  • Partnership for America’s Economic Success
  • Partnership for Public Service’s Annenberg Leadership Institute
  • Pew Charitable Trusts
  • Reach for College!
  • Samaritan Ministry of Greater Washington
  • SERVE, Inc.
  • Solar Energy Industries Association
  • Special Olympics
  • SportsChallenge
  • STAR Communities
  • Suited for Change
  • Sunlight Foundation
  • Teachers without Borders
  • The Brookings Institution
  • The National Council for Public-Private Partnerships
  • Urban Institute
  • USAID
  • U.S. Coast Guard
  • U.S. Department of Defense
  • U.S. Department of Homeland Security
  • U.S. Department of Labor Veterans Employment Training Service (VETS)
  • U.S. Environmental Protection Agency
  • U.S. Green Building Council
  • U.S. Department of State
  • Virginia Rural Health Cooperative
  • VISTA
  • Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority
  • World Bank Group
  • Young Invincibles