Bachelor's and Master's students in Public Affairs and Political Science have opportunities to engage in research to practice skills learned in coursework.


The Truman School’s Honors Capstone in Political Science (POL_SC 4996) allows Political Science students a unique opportunity in their senior year to go beyond the classroom and extend their knowledge to work on new and unique projects. There is virtually no limit to the type of projects you may work on. Recent projects include:

  • analyses of the Electoral College and the uneven weighting of citizens’ votes
  • press freedom in Brazil
  • the status of “sanctuary” cities and counties in the United States
  • the impact of satirical news programs on the voting behavior of young citizens
  • factors influencing voter turnout on Native American reservations
  • the influence of nationalism, history, and public opinion on the relationship between China and Japan.

Students approved to enroll in POL_SC 4996 will engage in original research over the course of two semesters under the supervision of a faculty mentor, culminating in a 40-50 page honors thesis. In order to graduate with departmental honors, students must earn a grade of B or higher on the honors thesis as well as a cumulative MU GPA of 3.25.

If interested, please read through the details of the capstone requirements and complete the application here. If you have questions about the application, please reach out to Professor Bill Horner at

Mizzou's Office of Undergraduate Research also offers opportunities for research, scholarship, and creative activity.

MPA Capstone

The public affairs capstone course, PUB_AF 8211, is required for early-career MPA students. In this course, typically taken in the final semester, students complete an applied research project that builds upon the knowledge and skills developed throughout the MPA program.

Through this course, students:

  • 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.

Examples of past capstone projects include:

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 city will use the results of this survey to prioritize the 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 the 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.