Capstone Courses - applied research & project management

The IPZ offers a new, innovative teaching format exclusively for advanced MA students: A Capstone Course directly qualifies you for applied research and project management. It builds a bridge to professional practice after your studies.

You will work independently in a small group of 4 to 5 selected students on a specific project of a client from industry or the public sector.

You will be supported by one of our professors, but you will be responsible for your project.

This is an opportunity for future employers to obtain visibly outstanding qualifications and to establish appropriate relationships in the world of work.

Capstone Courses will be offered every semester on various topics.

Participation in a Capstone Course replaces two MA seminars (12 ECTS), depending on the topic, a track can be selected.

We highly recommend the Capstone Courses to you and look forward to your applications, any suggestions or comments on our new course format.

If you have any questions, please contact our student advisory service, Ms Ursina Wälchli, at studhelp@ipz.uzh.ch.

Capstone: Political Stability and Political Risks - Democracy Research in Practice

Duration: September 17, 2018 - June 1, 2019

Leitung: Dr. Simon Bornschier

Client: Swiss Re

Equivalent for: 2 MA seminars (12 ECTS), creditable for the track DDIB. A Capstone Course requires an intensive time expenditure of about one day per week during the whole duration. You also participate in a seminar on project management, for which you receive further 6 ECTS points.

Context and project objective: Comparative democratization and autocracy research deals with the factors affecting the stability of authoritarian, hybrid and democratic regimes and explains transition processes between the various regimes. More recent literature focuses on conflicts between the executive, legislative and especially the judiciary, which are often a preliminary stage for slipping towards authoritarian forms of government and a risk for legal and investment security. 

These research approaches are rarely used outside basic research. In this Capstone Course, we are working with a reinsurer, a company that operates in emerging and frontier markets and is therefore particularly sensitive to political risks. In a small group, you develop models that can better predict political instability in the non-OECD world than conventional methods used in practice. The empirical analyses focus on larger countries in Africa, Asia, Latin America and Eastern Europe.

Requirements:

  • Interest in topics of democracy and autocracy research and their practical application
  • Good analytical skills
  • Knowledge of common statistical regression methods

Language: German and/or English (depending on the needs of the participants)

Learning goals:

  • Knowledge of the most important approaches to democratisation and application to a concrete project
  • Ability to implement your own research project in a team
  • Qualification in project management
  • Knowledge of programme monitoring and development cooperation in the field of DDLG
  • Visualization and communication of research results for a non-scientific audience

Closing date:

The Capstone Course has capacity for 4-5 participants.

A detailed course schedule can be found here. Send a written application with curriculum vitae, transcript and letter of motivation, as well as a writing sample (e.g. BA thesis) to Simon Bornschier (siborn@ipz.uzh.ch).

Closing date is August 6th 2018.

Click here to download the flyer of the Capstone Course (PDF, 180 KB).

Capstone: Democratisation, Decentralisation and Local Governance (DDLG)

Duration: September 1, 2018 - June 30, 2019

Persons in charge: Prof. Dr. Daniel Kübler, MA Sonam Palmo Brunner

Client: Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation (SDC), Federal Department of Foreign Affairs (FDFA), Bern

Equivalent for: 2 MA seminars (12 ECTS) in autumn semester 2018 and spring semester 2019, Track DDIB. 
A Capstone Course requires an intensive time effort of about one day per week during the whole duration. Please be aware of this. By registering for the Capstone Course you also commit yourself to participate actively in the seminar Für Forschung und Praxis: Projektmanagement, Teamwork und Präsentationen in Anwendung, where you can learn and deepen the necessary soft skills for project work. In return, you will receive further 6 ECTS points.

Context: The SDC is involved in a large number of partner countries with programmes in the fields of democratisation, decentralisation and local governance (DDLG). In general, development cooperation is increasingly demanding result-oriented management of programmes and evaluations of their effects. Process-oriented programs, which are particularly common in DDLG, face special challenges.

Project objective:

The aim of the project is to review and revise a set of indicators for monitoring DDLG programmes. To this end, qualitative research methods are primarily used. Sources are secondary literature, documents and, if applicable, interviews with actors in the DDLG field. The results of the project are recorded in a written report.

Requirements:
You have a strong interest in development cooperation and ideally have already dealt with the issues of democratisation, decentralisation and/or multi-level governance during your studies. You also have good analytical skills and are stylistically confident (language: German).

Learning goals:

  • Project management
  • Interaction and communication with the client
  • Substantive knowledge of human rights research
  • Knowledge of programme monitoring and development cooperation in the field of DDLG
  • Analysis and reporting

Language: German

Application:

The places in this Capstone Course are limited (4-5). Please send your application (CV, previous study achievements, letter of motivation, as well as a writing sample (e.g. BA thesis)) by email to Mrs. Palmo Brunner (brunner@ipz.uzh.ch). The deadline for applications is 8 July 2018.

Click here to download the flyer of the Capstone Course (PDF, 633 KB).

Capstone: Analyzing Human Trafficking

Duration: February 19, 2018 through August 31, 2018 (Two-semester: Spring semester and Fall Semester 2018)

Person in charge: Prof. Dr. Marco Steenbergen

Client: International Organization for Migration, Geneva

Equivalent for: 2 MA-Seminars (12 ECTS) in the fall semester 2018, Track DDIB

Context: In this Capstone Course, we will collaborate with the International Organization for Migration (IOM) in Geneva with the goal of analyzing data on human trafficking around the globe. Human trafficking is the trade of humans, with victims becoming forced laborers, being exploited sexually for commercial purposes, or being forced into marriage, for example. The practice constitutes a major violation of human rights and, by ILO estimates, generated $150 billion in profit worldwide in 2014. The IOM will give us access to their own database on human trafficking and exploitation. We will be working with the data to explore patterns and drivers of these human rights violations, using both qualitative and quantitative methods to analyze and interpret (text) materials.

Requirements:
A solid understanding of statistics and R, as well as interest in the topic of human rights and migration. Experience with data visualization or (quantitative) text analysis is an advantage.

The participation in the courseSeminar: Für Forschung und Praxis: Projektmanagement, Teamwork und Präsentationen in Anwendung’ is compulsory.

Sprache: English

Learning goals:

  • Project management
  • Interaction and communication with the project partner
  • Substantive knowledge of human rights research
  • Data analysis and visualization skills
  • Storytelling

Capstone: Analyzing Human Rights Violations in Kenya

Duration: September 2017 - May 2018

Person in charge: Prof. Anita R. Gohdes

Client: Amnesty International, Nairobi, Kenya

Equivalent for: 2 MA seminars (12 ECTS) im spring semester, Track DDIB

Context: This capstone course will work in collaboration with Amnesty International’s Nairobi office to analyze data on extra-judicial executions and enforced disappearances by security agencies in Kenya.
Under the supervision of Prof. Anita Gohdes, students are expected to develop their own project management, research the political and social context within which these extra-judicial executions and enforced disappearances are occurring, and critically analyze the patterns and dynamics of data collected by Amnesty International and other non- government and international organizations on these incidences of violence. The project will also involve mapping and visualizing the students’ findings.

Requirements: Basic knowledge in statistics and R, interest in human rights

Language: English

Learning goals

  • Project management
  • Interaction and communication with project partner
  • Substantial knowledge of empirical human rights research
  • Data analysis skills
  • Visualization skills

Click here to open the website presenting the results of the Capstone Course.

Capstone: Mapping of Global Refugee Movements

Duration: September 2016 to February 2017

Person in charge: Prof. Dr. Fabrizio Gilardi

Client: Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation (SDC)

Equivalent for: 2 MA-seminars (12 ECTS), Track DDIB and data journalism

Context: Escapes and the increase in asylum applications in Europe is not a new phenomenon, but has occurred in different situations in recent history. On the basis of these historical facts, clues for the current distribution and planning of humanitarian aid and its influence on escape movements can be investigated.

Project objective: Evaluation of existing data records for escape movements. Mapping of refugee flows worldwide over the last 30 years for as many countries as possible (Excel table) and possible influencing factors that are to be displayed on an interactive map.

Preliminary research questions:

  • What are the refugee flows and flight movements worldwide over the last 30 years?
  • Which factors could play a role as a driver or brake?
  • Have the movements changed and, if so, why?

Click here to see the result of the course in the form of an interactive website.

Capstone: Interaction between Humanitarian Aid and Development Cooperation

Duration: May to October 2016

Person in charge: Prof. Dr. Katharina Michaelowa

Equivalent for: 2 MA-seminars (12 ECTS), Track DDIB

Context: The border between humanitarian aid and development cooperation is becoming increasingly blurred. Against this background, it seems sensible to analyse how the two areas can be interlinked and how emergency aid logic and development logic can be combined.

Project objective: Analysis of the possibilities of linking humanitarian aid and development cooperation.

Research questions:

  • Which forms of cooperation between development cooperation and humanitarian aid and the resulting institutional adjustments can be identified?
  • How do these cooperations affect the concrete work in certain cases?