Capstone Projects

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Capstone Projects provide our partners with an opportunity to engage in a research project with the next generation of international and development professionals and prepare our students to work at the cutting-edge of global challenges.
Capstone Projects

Capstone projects are a unique pedagogical experience where small groups of graduate students work with partners from International Geneva to conduct research projects that respond to today’s global challenges. Projects are part of the Masters curricula and carry 9 ECTS.

Our Students

Our students come from over 100 different countries and more than 70% speak three languages or more. The majority have had some form of international work experience. As Capstone researchers they typically employ multiple methods including literature and desk reviews, interviews, surveys, benchmarking, stakeholder analyses and secondary data analyses.

Our Partners

Our partners come from a diverse range of sectors and include
governmental, non-governmental, international and non-profit organisations, as well as corporations, associations and foundations. Research topics have included trade, economics and finance, global security, conflict and peace building, migration and refugees, environment and sustainability, global health, gender and human rights, business and development and more.

How to Become a Capstone Partner?

Capstone partners propose a research challenge, some background and a set of initial research questions. Students are invited to apply for projects based on these proposals. Projects kick-off in April and are completed by December. Outputs comprise a final report plus infographic and/or other communication media. Partners provide guidance and direction to the group. Academic supervision and coordination is provided by the Graduate Institute.


Capstone projects are allocated to specialisation tracks and academic supervisors according to the following broad themes although additional themes may also be included (e.g. health, gender, humanitarian action)


Examples of Research Topics and Completed Projects


Mobilities, Spaces and Cities

  • IOM – Livelihoods in protracted displacement: what really works?
  • Terre des Hommes – Situation analysis of child begging in Senegal, focusing on Talibé children

Power, Conflict and Development

  • GCERF – Preventing Violent Extremism and Humanitarian Action: synergies, tensions and a space for action?
  • WILPF – Gendered impact of artisanal and small scale mining in the Democratic Republic of Congo

Environment, Resources and Sustainability

  • WFP – How has collective response contributed towards averting famine in South Sudan, Somalia, Yemen and north-eastern Nigeria?
  • Oxfam UK – Sustainable subsidies for water and sanitation in the developing world

Global Security

  • OHCHR – The role of armed forces in transitions: promoting or abusing human rights?
  • DCAF – Establishing the nexus between conflict prevention and security sector reform

Trade and International Finance

  • UNCTAD – Selected impacts of digital technologies on LDC manufacturing
  • OECD – Leveraging more from the Digital Economy in Developing Countries

Additional Themes

  • MERCK – Research on the global discourse on access/ global health and supply chain & delivery challenges
  • WEF – Higher Education on the Spot: MOOC opportunities for Developing Countries





Capstone Timeline 2019


Spring Semester
February-March Meeting and planning with supervisor, TA allocation of projects
March-April Meeting with partner organization and onset of work
April-May Group work
June, week 1/2 Submission of inception reports outlining the research framework
Students are encouraged to continue research during the summer
Fall semester
October Update on research
November Submission of the First Draft
December, week 1 Submission of the Final Report
December Partner, student and supervisor concluding event