Capstone experiences in small MPA programs in the United States

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2 Scopus citations


A capstone experience, as an exit degree requirement, allows Master of Public Administration (MPA) students to build quasi-experimental practices by applying learned knowledge and skills throughout their curriculum in the United States. Accredited MPA programs have implemented their capstone courses differently to achieve required standards. Small programs have faced more challenges in organizational capacities than big programs. Although no consensus on standard capstone course components has been made, this study intends to discuss feasible capstone formats for small programs by reviewing the relatively small accredited MPA programs. The majority of the comparable programs have adopted the professional paper model with different course structures. In response to the program reviews and the pilot experience, three components are suggested to redesign a capstone course for small programs: faculty-directed; group-based; and project-focused. The capstone pilot experience has confirmed that ownership by the involvement of many faculty and external inputs in designing the course is critical to implement successful capstone experiences for small programs.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)141-156
Number of pages16
JournalTeaching Public Administration
Issue number2
StatePublished - Jul 1 2017

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Education
  • Public Administration


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