Students undertaking the Masters in International and Development Studies have the opportunity to participate in Applied Research Projects (ARPs). Could you explain what these projects are?
Applied Research Projects (ARPs) – formerly known as Capstones – are a foundational component of the Interdisciplinary Masters, during which small student groups conduct policy-relevant research with partner organisations working on issues relating to international development and international relations.
ARPs offer a unique pedagogical experience in which students work closely with policy-makers, practitioners and leaders in Geneva and beyond to answer some of the most pressing research questions of global concern.
What can students expect to gain from participating in these projects (networking, understanding inner workings of IOs)?
Through ARPs, students learn and apply their analytical and research skills to practical and policy-relevant issues to produce research outputs for their partner organisation.
Academically – and under the guidance of Graduate Institute faculty – students conduct in-depth literature reviews; learn how to frame appropriate research questions; design methodologies; undertake original research; and analyse and present their findings at the end of the project period.
Practically, students will benefit from the guidance and professional insights of their partners and other experts who they will engage with during the course of the project.
Personally, the students will gain skills in effective group work, team building, interpersonal communication, and problem solving. These ‘soft’ skills may be among the most important preparation for their future careers.
Do the ARPs allow students to cut across different specialisations even if they are pursuing a specific track?
With the reform, students may join projects outside of their selected specialisation. Most of the projects that the students undertake are addressing cross-cutting issues, thus students in all cases are expected to apply and strengthen their interdisciplinary skills.
Have the changes to the MINT programme also meant changes to the ARPs?
We are strengthening the overarching coherence of our ARPs, including through applied research skills workshops which will allow students to learn about and practice the skills required of successful project management.
These workshops are currently being designed and will be rolled out in the coming year.
We are listening to the feedback we receive from students on the skills they feel they would most benefit from, as well as from ARP external partners on the skills they consider more useful for students’ future applied research contributions.