Capstone projects

Capstone Projects are applied research seminars that form an integral part of the Master in International Affairs.

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

The Merck access to health project connects students with alumni.

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 master curricula and carry nine 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.

Examples of Research Topics and Completed Projects

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)

Mobilities, Spaces and Cities

  • IOM – Livelihoods in protracted displacement: what really works?

  • Terre des Hommes – Situational 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


Published Capstone Projects


Capstone presentations




Capstone Projects - Flyer

Capstone Projects - Guidelines for students

Capstone Projects - Proposal template for partners



Students Present Capstone Projects at Palais des Nations
Capstone Project: Entrepreneurship in Africa
Capstone Project: Blockchain Technology and Emerging Markets
Capstone Project: Community Resilience against Violent Extremism