The Columbia SPS Capstone Project is the culminating course for all Master of Science in Strategic Communication students.
Working in teams, students develop and propose a fully developed communication solution for a real-world business problem or opportunity, presented by a capstone sponsor organization. The Capstone Project gives students an opportunity to demonstrate their mastery of core strategic communication concepts and skills. Each team’s strategy will define an optimal target audience for communication, an audience insight, a motivating message, and a creative campaign idea, as well as tactical and channel recommendations for bringing the campaign to life. Experienced faculty guide the students at all stages of the project.
Become a Capstone Sponsor
Organizations seeking to become capstone sponsors can express interest here. The M.S. in Strategic Communication Program reviews potential capstone clients on a rolling basis.
How the Capstone Project Works
Organizations are vetted by the program director and faculty and chosen because a capstone partnership meets the pedagogical requirements of the course. Capstone projects run for an entire term. By the end of the term, students give a comprehensive and professional presentation and written report to their sponsors. Each capstone sponsor benefits from the research (focus group and professionally-fielded survey), analysis, audience insight, strategic thinking, and creativity from one, or possibly two, student teams.
The Capstone Project is only offered in the summer and fall terms. Below are sample timelines for each term.
What does it cost Capstone Sponsors?
Time and effort. You select one senior manager as your project leader. Their responsibility is to communicate weekly with the team, to provide necessary data, to help the team focus their analysis, and to be available for the final presentation (we welcome more attendees from your organization). We do not ask for a consulting fee.
Please note all communication in the academic environment is confidential. Our students also sign confidentiality agreements developed by Columbia University’s General Counsel to protect all proprietary information from our sponsors.
Examples of Previous Strategic Communication Capstone Projects
- Attracting a younger audience to Lincoln Center
- Increasing the number of U.S. college student subscribers for the Wall Street Journal
- Increasing podcast downloads for WNYC, a New York City public broadcaster
- Increasing bookings made directly over the JetBlue website, vs online travel agents
- Generating more traveler reviews for TripAdvisor
- Attracting more donations from younger Americans for Médecins Sans Frontières (Doctors Without Borders)