Policy Analysis Capstone

Michael Miner"The policy analysis program is a dynamic experience. Whether focused on domestic or foreign affairs, the class comes together every week from around the globe to examine matters of personal and professional interests. Together, we grapple with the sometimes-opaque nature of the policy-making process. Comprehensive research yields high-quality policy papers that shapes our understanding of diverse challenges. Moreover, there is never a lack of enthusiasm and support from our partners in government and the private sector. As I always remind the class, never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed individuals can change the world."

— Michael Miner, Faculty

Sparsha Saha"The capstone offers students the chance to explore their personal and academic interests with guidance from a political scientist, as well as access to all the immense resources that Harvard can offer. I’m so thrilled to have the chance to teach a dynamic group of Masters students. My course encourages creativity, expertise, and discussion. You’ll walk away knowing how to approach, plan, and write a research policy paper; you’ll also walk away with research and critical analysis skills that will help you long after the course is over."

— Sparsha Saha, Faculty

The policy analysis capstone was designed to give Master of Liberal Arts (ALM) candidates in the fields of government and international relations the opportunity to conduct an in-depth policy analysis on a topic of their choice and produce a professional policy paper.

In consultation with the instructor, you'll select a concrete policy problem, produce autonomous research to analyze it, and provide a set of actionable recommendations to solve it. Throughout the semester, you'll receive feedback both from your peers and the instructor to aid the development of your project. Class meetings include discussions focused on policy analysis methodology and peer-review analysis of ongoing projects. Emphasis is placed on the identification of potential target audiences, such as governmental agencies, NGOs, policy makers, and practitioners. The capstone project culminates with a formal presentation of your project to a panel of experts.

To support your research, we recommend that you review Harvard Library's information on government research. Visit guides by subject, and then choose Government and Public Policy, where you'll find 40+ links to various topics, such as campaigns and elections, health policy, and poverty and income inequality.

Capstone Faculty

Michael David Miner, PhD, Lecturer in Extension, Harvard University
Sparsha Saha, PhD, Preceptor in Expository Writing and Lecturer on Government, Harvard University

Course Links

Precapstone Course: GOVT E-595 Policy Writing and Analysis Precapstone 
Capstone Course: GOVT E-599 Policy Analysis Capstone