San Diego State University School of Public Affairs Capstone Project – Request for Proposals Academic Year 2018/2019

Please click here for or a copy of the Request for Proposals for Academic Year 2018/2019.

The School of Public Affairs offers a capstone project as a path toward graduation for its graduate students in Public Administration, Criminal Justice and Criminology, and City Planning. Students in the MPA, MCJC, and MCP programs can use the capstone project as a graduation requirement instead of completing a thesis or comprehensive exams. The capstone course is intended to be an intensive, group project addressing a real world issue or problem and produced for an actual client agency. Students engage in the capstone project as part of a of a two-course sequence, where first, in the fall semester of their second year, students take a research methods course focused on developing appropriate methods for the capstone project.  Then in the spring semester of their second year, they take the Capstone Course, where they finalize the capstone project report. Students work with a faculty supervisor and an agency staff client to complete the project.  The School of Public Affairs seeks to provide its students a valuable hands-on learning experience that also contributes to the success of a governmental agency’s mission, effectiveness and overall productivity.

The purpose of this Request for Proposals (RFP) is to solicit projects from governmental or non-profit agencies that can serve as the focus of our graduate students’ capstone projects.

General Proposal Information
Who can apply?
Any governmental or non-profit organization working for the advancement of the public good.

Proposal Topics?
The proposals can address a range of relevant topics, such as housing, transportation, social service delivery, public finance, or law enforcement. Topics can be structured around a research question, around developing a program, evaluating a program, or around developing policy or evaluating policy.  Ideal projects will include some sort of problem, challenge, or opportunity to be addressed through data collection, analysis, and a set of recommendations for change. Public Affairs faculty will work with agency clients to be as accommodating as possible in developing a mutually beneficial proposal topic – one that both addresses a client’s needs and also provides a valuable learning experience for our graduate students.

Project Timeline?
Please submit proposals for projects that can be reasonably completed over a 6 to 7 month period with a team of about 3 to 4 graduate students. The following timeline for project review, selection and production is as follows:
• Proposals due from agencies: May 14, 2018
• Public Affairs faculty select projects: June 1, 2018
• Faculty develop project scope of work with client: June 2018 – August 2018
• Students conduct literature review and prepare data collection plan: Sept 2018 – Dec 2018
• Student teams perform data collection, analysis, and produce draft and final project reports: January 2019 – April 2019
• Final project presentations to client: May 2019

Proposal Content. Please prepare a 2 to 3 page proposal that covers the following topics:
1. Project Goal. (about 100 words)
Describe the goal of this project and the key issue to be addressed by the graduate student team.
2. Project Background. (200-300 words)
Describe the relevant history of this issue and how the proposed project can support the mission of the agency or department.

3. Methods and Data Sources. (200-300 words)
Describe the agency’s ideas about how to carry out analyses required for this project, including analysis methods, availability of secondary data sources, and data collection tools if primary data collection is required.
4. Description of Agency and Department. (100-200 words)
Provide a brief history of the agency or department and its organizational structure.

5. Key Agency Staff Contact for Project.
Provide the name, title, address, phone and email for the person who will serve as the agency contact for the duration of the project.

6. Letter of Support from Agency or Department Lead Manager.
Provide a letter of support from the agency lead manager showing a commitment to allocating the necessary staff hours (approximately 2-4 hours per week between September 2018 and May 2019) for overseeing and coordinating with School of Public Affairs faculty and students. 

School of Public Affairs Contact:
For questions about this RFP, please contact:
Dr. Sherry Ryan
Director, School of Public Affairs

Please email a pdf of your proposal to Professor Sherry Ryan at by May 14, 2018







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