MGT 5901 IE Master of Public Administration Capstone Project (DL)

Course Syllabus (CRN 26087)

Spring 2019


Name:             Dr. Denise V. Siegfeldt, Associate Professor


Phone:            757-887-2488 or 757-887-2147

Fax:                757-887-5648

Office Hours:  After class meetings and by appointment.  Email is frequently checked throughout the day.

Program Goal Statement: 

The goal of the Master of Public Administration degree program is to prepare individuals for advanced leadership positions in the private, public and military sectors with specific skills and competencies in public administration.

Program Competency Areas:

Ethics, economic trends and conditions, quantitative and qualitative tools, and competencies in public administration.

Capstone Course Objective:

The objective for this course is for the student to demonstrate a synthesis of prior learned competencies in ethics, economic trends and conditions, quantitative and qualitative tools, and public administration through development of a final capstone project that involves a team-based outside consulting activity.

Course Description:

MGT 5901 Master of Public Administration Capstone Project (3 credits) Involves a team-based consulting activity for an outside client organization.  Requires a project, written report and presentation assessed for synthesis of learned competencies in oral and written communication, critical thinking and public policy administration.  Acts as capstone for the Master of Public Administration degree program.

Learning Outcomes:  

By the end of this course, students will be able to: 

  1. Identify and analyze ethical public administration practices or initiatives (accountability and transparency) in public or not-for profit organizations or programs. (Competency in ethical practices).
  2. Recognize ineffective public administration behaviors (fraud, waste, abuse) in public or not-for-profit organizations or programs. (Competency in ethical practices).
  3. Identify and analyze economic trends and conditions that impact the viability of public or not-for-profit organizations or programs. (Competency in economic trends and conditions)
  4. Utilize indicators of cost-effectiveness or cost-to-benefit analyses in public policy or program evaluation. (Competency in economic trends and conditions, and in quantitative and qualitative tools)
  5. Display awareness of quantitative and qualitative tools to inform effective decision making in public policy or program evaluations (Competency in quantitative and qualitative tools)
  6. Evaluate and analyze a public policy or program for overall effectiveness (Competency in public administration and overall course goals)
  7. Synthesize public administration content and analyze public administration practices and policies in order to determine merit, value or worth, and to make recommendations that will lead to improvements in public or not-for-profit organizations (Competency: public administration and overall course goals)


Required Course Materials:

There are no textbooks that are required for this course.   However, it is recommended that students purchase the Publication Manual of the American Psychological Association, 6th edition. 

The Purdue Owl Online Writing Lab website is also an excellent resource for APA style writing that is required for this capstone course: 

Course Reference Materials:

Basic Guide to Program Evaluation (Including Outcomes Evaluation) by Carter McNamara, MBA, PhD., Authenticity Consulting LLS.   Adapted from the Field Guide to Nonprofit Program Design, Marketing and Evaluation.

Guide to Program Evaluation, Department of Justice Assistance

Handbook of Practical Evaluation (2015) by Kathryn E. Newcomer, Harry P. Hatry and Joseph S. Wholey, Jossey-Bass.  ISBN:  978-1118893609

Mixed Methods for Policy Research and Program Evaluation (2015) by Patrecia Burch and Carolyn J. Heinrich, Sage Publications, Inc.  ISBN:   9781452276625

International Handbook of Survey Methodology, Edited by Edith D. De Leeuw, Joop J. Hox and Don A. Dillman, 2008


Students should take this as their final course in the MPA degree program.


Your overall grade for the course will be based upon the weighted average of the following course requirements:

Peer Reviews and Class Participation                        15%

Written capstone proposal                                          25%

Presentation on the capstone proposal                      10%

Written capstone report (final)                                     25%

Capstone presentation                                               25%    


The following grading scale will be used:

Below 60         F


Tentative Course Schedule

WEEK I         Jan. 7th through Jan. 13th

                               Introduction to the course.

                        Class meets on Wed. Jan. 9th at 6:00 p.m. EST

                        Review of the syllabus 

Discussion about the course structure, course expectations, the capstone proposal, the capstone project and the rubrics

Potential public administration or public policy situations that can be used for the capstone project are provided

Team members will share their strengths and will discuss how team responsibilities will be divided.

The class will be divided into teams for purposes of the capstone project if more than five students are in the class.

Responses for the Getting to Know You Discussion Boards are due by Sun. Jan. 13th at 11:59 EST

WEEK 2         Jan. 14th through Jan. 20th

Class meets on Wed. Jan. 16th at 6:00 p.m. EST

Client representative give a presentation on the public administration or public policy situation for the capstone project, if this can be arranged.  Stakeholders should be identified.  Team members will discuss the project and the approach that will be taken. The project can involve a program evaluation, a policy analysis, a management analysis, an analysis of organizational effectiveness, or an effort directed towards community problem solving or innovation in providing a public service.                                                        

WEEK 3         Jan. 21st through Jan. 27th.

Students begin working on the project proposal.  Initial review of the related literature.

The proposal is to include the approach that will be taken, a statement of work and the methodology that will be used (identification of research questions and the data collection procedure). 

 WEEK 4        Jan. 28th through Feb. 3rd 

Students work on the project proposal, and should include some relevant research from the literature.                                    

WEEK 5         Feb. 4th through Feb. 10th

Students prepare for the presentation of the capstone proposal

WEEK 6         Feb. 11th through Feb. 17th

 Class meets on Feb. 13th at 6:00 p.m.

Written proposal and PowerPoint is submitted to the instructor and the client

Students give an oral presentation to the instructor and possibly the client as well, on the project proposal.  Feedback is provided.

The outline that is to be used for the capstone paper is presented to the students and discussed.

WEEK 7         Feb. 18th through Feb. 24th

Student team(s) meet to discusses the progress of the capstone paper                    

WEEK 8         Feb. 25th through Mar. 3rd.   Students work on the capstone paper             

Spring Break  March 4th through March 10th (no class)                   

WEEK 9         Mar. 11th through Mar. 17th

Students work on the capstone paper

WEEK 10       Mar. 18th through Mar. 24th

Class Meets at 6 p.m. EST

Students work on the capstone paper

WEEK 11       Mar. 25th through Mar. 31st

Students work on the capstone paper

WEEK 12       Apr. 1st through Apr. 7th

Students work on the capstone paper and capstone PowerPoint                               

WEEK 13       Apr. 8th through Apr. 14th

Students work on the capstone paper

The Draft capstone paper, with conclusions and recommendations, and the draft PowerPoint is submitted to the instructor by Sun. April. 14th  for review and feedback.                    

WEEK 14       Apr. 15th through Apr. 21st

Students finalize the capstone paper and the capstone PowerPoint

Students rehearse the capstone presentation                      

WEEK 15       Apr. 22nd through Apr. 28th                                    

Final Capstone paper and PowerPoint are submitted by April 24th.

Class meets Wed. April 24th at 6 p.m. EST to give the capstone presentation.  Peer reviews are completed.

Peer Reviews and Class Participation

Students are expected to participate in class and to work with their peers for purposes of completing the capstone work that is required.   They are expected to make contributions by posting relevant materials and comments to discussion boards that have been set up to facilitate completion of the capstone proposal and report.  Points will be awarded for completing the discussion boards and peer reviews, which will count as class participation.

Class meetings with the instructor and team members are identified in the syllabus.  Although these meetings are not mandatory, they will be very beneficial in developing and completing the capstone project.  Meetings may be held via teleconference as well as through Zoom or the Chat function in CANVAS.   When held by Zoom, the meetings and presentations may be recorded.  When held by teleconference, the dial in information will be provided in an announcement, prior to the meetings. In addition, when meetings are held by Zoom, the information on how to join the meeting will be posted in an announcement.

The instructor understands the impact that different time zones and work schedule can have and will help the team to work through these issues.  Recording the capstone proposal presentation and the capstone presentation through use of screen capture software is an alternative option that the capstone team may decide upon should there be scheduling conflicts that make synchronous presentations impossible.  However, a synchronous presentation is preferable.

Teamwork is critical for this class.   Students will evaluate each other for contributions towards the capstone proposal and presentation as well as the final capstone project and presentation at the end of the semester, using the grading rubric for teamwork.  If there are issues within your team, please work to alleviate them as soon as they arise.  If the issues cannot be resolved, please notify the instructor.   Students must contribute equally to the capstone proposal and capstone project as well as the presentations, including development of the PowerPoints, to avoid receiving a reduction in grade. Active participation in class and team meetings is expected and is crucial for the success of the project.   

This is a video-enabled course. Course participants may have their images and words transmitted or recorded during the course. Participants may benefit by having access to recorded materials. Students should have no expectation of privacy related to their participation in the class presentation.   

Capstone Proposal

This capstone proposal is to be written using APA style and should be approximately 10 pages in length.   Double-spacing and either 12 point New Times Roman font or 11 point Arial font should be used.  Please use the following outline in writing the capstone proposal. 

 Section                                                                                                               No. of Pages

Title Page                                                                                                             1 (its own page)

Abstract (one big paragraph)                                                                              1 (its own page)

Introduction to the public administration or public policy situation                      1 page

Background                                                                                                        1 page

Purpose of the study, including goals and objectives                                         1 page                                  

Research questions                                                                                           1/2 pg.                              

Proposed methodology, including data collection procedure                             1 page

(a survey,  focus group, interviews, observations, use of existing data, etc.)

Brief review of the relevant literature                                                                   2 pages

Limitations of the study                                                                                      1 /2 page

Timeline for when key components are to be complete                                     1 page


You need to cite at least 6 references within the literature review.  The majority of the references should consist of journal articles and government documents.  Please note that all work for this course, including the capstone proposal, must be written neatly and concisely.   APA style is to be used for all papers, and they should be carefully proofed for grammatical and spelling errors.


Presentation on the capstone proposal


The team should give a presentation on their capstone proposal that is approximately 15 minutes in length.  A PowerPoint should be developed to accompany the presentation.  All team members should participate in giving the presentation on the capstone proposal.


Capstone Report

This capstone report is to be written using APA style and will be approximately 38 pages in length.   Double-spacing and either 12 point New Times Roman font or 11 point Arial font should be used.   Please use the following outline in writing the capstone proposal but note that the number of pages listed for each section of the paper is an estimate.

Section                                                                                  No. of Pages

Title Page                                                                              1 page

Abstract                                                                                 1 page

Table of Contents                                                                  1 page

Acknowledgements                                                                1 page

Introduction                                                                             1/2 page

Background and Rationale                                                      3 pages

Literature review                                                                      10 pages

Methodology                                                                             3 pages

Analysis of the results and findings                                           3 pages

Conclusions (including limitations of the study)                         1 page

Recommendations                                                                     1/2 page

References                                                                                 3 pages

Appendices (include the complete survey                                 Up to 10 pages

or questionnaire here)      

You should cite at least 30 references within the literature review.  The majority of the references should consist of journal articles and government documents.  The capstone report should include tables, figures and other graphic features that support the paper.

NOTE:   The capstone proposal and the capstone report must be original, written specifically for this course!  Both documents must be uploaded to a designated assignment box within CANVAS where they will go through a review with Turnitin to check for similarity and originality. 

Capstone Presentation

The capstone team will give their capstone presentation to a committee that will include the instructor, at least one representative of the client organization, and another instructor.  The capstone presentation will be approximately 25 to 30 minutes in length, followed by a question and answer session.   All team members are expected to participate in the capstone presentation.  A PowerPoint should be developed to accompany the capstone presentation.   Handouts should be provided that support the presentation if appropriate.  If there is more than one team it might be necessary to schedule one of the presentations on another day. 

Mode of Instruction

Discussion boards, virtual meetings on CANVAS and live chats using Zoom and teleconference will be used to teach this class.

The course will operate with weekly modules, and each week of the course will begin on Monday.   Students can determine within their group which method will be best to use for their group meetings, including the use of Skype.

Late Assignments

It is expected that all work will be completed on time for this course.   Extensions for extreme extenuating circumstances that prevent your work from being submitted on time are granted at the instructor’s discretion, and must be approved in advance.  Work that is submitted after the 11:59 p.m. Eastern Time due date will result in a letter grade reduction.  No work will be accepted that is over one week late.  All capstone work must be completed and submitted by the final class meeting and the Peer Reviews must be submitted within the next day.   


Administrative Science Quarterly

Administration & Society

American Review of Public Administration

Critical Policy Studies

Educational Administration Quarterly

Harvard Journal of Law and Public Policy

International Public Management Journal

Journal of Economics and Economic Education Research

Journal of Legal, Ethical and Regulatory Issues

Journal of Policy Analysis and Management

Journal of Public Administration

Journal of Public Administration Research and Theory

Public Administration and Management

Journal of Public Policy

Journal of Public Procurement

Public Administration Review

Public Policy and Administration

Public Administration Quarterly

Public Budgeting & Finance

Public Finance Review

Public Works Management & Policy

Public Management Journal

Review of Public Personnel Administration

Public Services


General Information

Last updated: March 20, 2017

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Words or ideas that require citation include, but are not limited to all hard copy or electronic publications, whether copyrighted or not, and all verbal or visual communication when the content of such communication clearly originates from an identifiable source. In the Florida Tech online course, all submissions to any public meeting, bulletin board or private mailbox fall within the scope of words and ideas that require citations if used by someone other than the original author.

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Library Resources and Services

Library resources and services are available to distance learners through the Library website. Consult the Distance Learning Library Services & Resources research guide for access and other information.

LMS Assistance

Log into Canvas to find your courses. If you have trouble logging in, contact General Technical Support, 321-674-7284,