Capstone Project

The Capstone is defined as a client-oriented group research project, based on original field research which generates a deliverable product. This product is graded according to norms of academic quality.

During the second semester of the GLM programme, students are required to work in small groups, advised by a specialist, in order to conduct a high quality research project on a given urban policy question for a public or private organization. The capstone products are designed to provide key expertise in the management of urban problems and local governance of cities, with a specific focus on North and Latin America, Eastern Europe, Africa and the Middle East, East and South Asia.

Marie-Alexandra Coste, Caisse des dépôts et consignations, GLM capstone supervisor

"Capstones projects are a great opportunity for students to have their first professional experience [when still at Sciences Po]. The students have to work as team players and are faced with the management of a client relationship.  Assisted by a professional supervisor who provides a methodological framework, the students deal with all the aspects of a consulting assignment: understanding of a client command, use of methodological tools such as planning, budget, interview grids, and finally deliverables that meet the project objectives."

Kwame Frimpong, 2015 GLM M1 student

"The Capstone is a wonderful experience. It transcends beyond lessons and lectures to give one the practical skills required by the industry. It creates opportunities one had never thought off."


The GLM capstone project is conducted during the second semester of the first year (from mid-January to mid-June at the latest).  It represents a one day and a half weekly workload and is granted with 6 ECTS credit points. Some capstone projects may require a field research abroad.


Capstone products are mainly conducted in English, yet students with a good ability in French can, on a case by case basis, conduct the project in French or an other language (Spanish for example).

  • A comparative analysis of different large metropolises
  • An in-depth case study
  • Advises on how to network among metropolises on specific policy sectors.
  • A public presentation
  • A poster or PowerPoint presentation
  • An exhibition
  • A video
  • A paper with indicators to measure and evaluate

Indicative capstone themes

  • The role of grand planning schemes in the development of Metropolises.
  • The role of private actors and international investors in the development of Metropolises
  • Conflicts/cleavages central to urban issues and policy implementation (and experiences of conflict managing and mediation)
  • Urban regeneration, policies of renewal and problems of exclusion and inequality.
  • Coordination problems among various implementing agencies, administrative bodies, political representatives and consultancy groups.
  • Multi-ethnic/cultural diversity in Metropolis and de-segregation policies.
  • Coping with informality in labour market, in housing, and in petty trade. Comparative analysis of how informality is governed.
  • Improving local democracy, citizen consulting and participation at the metropolitan and at neighbourhood scale.
  • From sectorial policies to integrated policies in large metropolis.
  • Infrastructure gap for metropolitan public utilities, logistic system, water sewage. Policy innovation and utility modernization
  • Energy savings in large metropolis, building technologies and smart grid
  • Transportation systems and multi-level coordination in large metropolis
  • The role of metropolises themselves in manufacturing risks through their own development.
  • Dealing with risks: instruments and techniques to help urban managers prepare, plan, evaluate and monitor risks in the urban environment.
  • Digital cities and the steering of ICT innovation
  • The governance of local economic development in large metropolis
  • Problems and instruments of feeding the metropolis
  • Water regulation and socio-technical coordination problems

 Some example of  2018 capstone project available online