Capstone Projects

In the capstone course (PUB_AF 8211), students complete an applied research project that builds upon the knowledge and skills developed throughout the MPA program.


  • Focus on a real problem facing a public or nonprofit policymaker or manager
  • Formulate a conceptual framework for analyzing the problem
  • Collect and analyze relevant data
  • Demonstrate their capacity to apply knowledge gained through research to develop alternative solutions to a problem, evaluate their effectiveness, and make recommendations to decision makers.

Past projects have included

  • Study on the Barriers to Safe and Affordable Housing for the City of Columbia
    • This capstone team surveyed low-income residents to identify the most significant barriers to safe and affordable housing in our community. The results of this survey will be used by the city to prioritize use of Housing and Urban Development funds.
  • Board of Directors Development Plan for Big Brothers Big Sisters of Mid-Missouri
    • The capstone team analyzed the recruitment, development and engagement of the board of directors to recommend strategies to invigorate the board and increase involvement of its members.
  • Missouri Department of Corrections Study on the Effectiveness of Vocational Training Program
    • Using Department of Corrections data on the employment status of recently released inmates, this team conducted an evaluation of the vocational training program. Their objective was to determine whether or not inmate completion of a Department of Corrections sponsored vocational training program led to higher rates of employment compared to prisoners who did not complete vocational training.

The capstone experience in the MPA program, PA 8211, is not required for students enrolled in the Global Management or Mid-Career options.