Capstone Project Requirement

Capstone Project Policy


Fletcher students complete a capstone project during their final year for students in 2-year programs or their final semester for students in 1-year programs. The capstone project must evidence scholarly and/or professional analysis informed by the sustained and appropriate application of analytical methodologies. The capstone project is a significant analytical piece of work. It represents work of a higher standard than what is normally expected of a term paper and provides an opportunity for students to draw on their methodological, analytical, and substantive learning in a comprehensive written study.

While all capstone projects build on significant analytical work, the specific form of the final project can differ widely. Students and faculty may choose different forms in pursuit of their pedagogical aims or a student's professional goals. Students create an agreement with the supervising faculty in the semester before enrollment that outlines the expectations the capstone project.

The detailed requirements for any capstone project are determined by the supervising faculty member and can take a wide range of forms, including but not limited:

  • A traditional academic research thesis (note that students who intend to apply to the PhD program must choose a traditional academic research thesis for the capstone project).
  • A policy paper (whether for a government, an NGO or an international organization, whether or not for a real client)
  • An operational plan (in development, in business, in public diplomacy, etc.)
  • A case study
  • A business plan

Capstone Course

All students will be enrolled in the non-credit capstone course in either their third or final semester. Completion of this course with a letter grade is required to graduate. Capstone may not be taken pass/fail or for audit.

Capstone Agreement Form

In the semester prior to enrollment, students work with the supervising faculty member to create a capstone agreement. This may include the scope of the capstone project, timelines, frequency of check-ins, work submitted, and criteria for grading. 

Once the student and the faculty have an agreement in place, the students completes the Capstone Agreement Form, which is submitted to Registrar's office. The supervising faculty member's endorsement of the agreement will be verified. The capstone supervisor must be a Fletcher faculty member. The Capstone Agreement Form is due Mar 18 and should only be submitted with a complete agreement in place.

Students who do not have a capstone agreement in place by the deadline may be assigned a faculty capstone supervisor.

Completed Capstone Project

Upon completion of the capstone project, students may submit the title page to the Registrar's office in order to add the capstone to their transcript. A final grade is submitted by the supervising faculty in SIS to indicate the degree requirement is satisfied.

Your Capstone Project Title Page should contain the following information:







In (partial) or (full) fulfillment of the (MALD, MA, MIB, or LLM) Capstone requirement


Institutional Review Board (IRB)

All members of the Fletcher community who are dealing with human subject data or who are observing or interviewing human subjects for a thesis, dissertation, or other research project need approval from the Uni¬versity’s Social, Behavioral & Educational Research Institutional Review Board (SBER IRB). The SBER IRB is a panel of Tufts faculty, staff, and community members that reviews all human subject research to ensure the safety and welfare of research participants. The IRB ensures that any research study under its jurisdiction complies with federal, state, and institutional regulations.

Only the IRB has the authority to determine what level of review is appropriate for research conducted by Fletcher students. Students working on a thesis, dissertation, or others significant research project must submit for IRB review of their methodology and research protocols and complete the CITI training. Students may request a formal determination of Not Research or Not Human Subjects Research through the SBER IRB office.

Please go to for more information on your need for going through the IRB process, forms, and deadlines.