MSPPM Student Projects

Systems Synthesis - The Capstone Project

A distinctive aspect of the MSPPM program is our systems synthesis project. In lieu of a master's thesis, students participate in a semester-long group project in the second year. The groups start with an unstructured problem, refine the scope, analyze, develop and often implement a solution for a real organization.

This course embraces four educational goals that synthesize the Heinz College experience and apply it to the analysis of complex public policy issues:

  • Develop problem structuring and solving skills;
  • Develop project management, teamwork, and communication skills;
  • Provide a capstone experience that integrates and synthesizes core coursework;
  • Provide a real world organizational experience.

The Systems Synthesis Course Guide (.pdf) provides a comprehensive description of the goals, administrative management and evaluation of projects. We encourage you to refer to this guide for answers to questions ranging from the initial proposal process to preparation of final presentations and reports.

The Systems Synthesis Proposal Process includes the preparation and distribution of project proposals by both students and faculty. Current projects reflect the breadth of student interests in important policy and management topics. Questions regarding Systems Synthesis should be directed to the MSPPM Program Director.