Senior Capstone Project

Student presenting capstone researchThe senior capstone for the major in International Relations requires an original substantive research project combining the student’s topic and geographic region concentrations.  This capstone requirement may be met by completion of an in-depth research project undertaken in the context of an appropriate senior seminar or upper division research course (such as IRP 400, 412, 413) as listed below or an Honors thesis (IRP 499).  The project should investigate a timely research question, offer an original thesis in answer to this question, explain the methodology used to analyze the question, present persuasive evidence to substantiate the thesis, and provide full documentation to sources in a standard format.  The goal of the senior capstone project is to provide students with an opportunity for intellectual and professional development through the creation of original scholarship worthy of consideration for publication in an undergraduate academic journal of international affairs, such as those listed on the Publication Opportunities page.  The benchmark length of this research project is 4,000 words, excluding documentation.      

If a 400- or 500-level course offered on main campus (Syracuse) is listed below, the research project assigned for that course may be counted as a senior capstone if and only if the semester work for the course allows a substantial original research project or seminar paper that COMBINES your TOPIC and GEOGRAPHIC concentrations and meets the benchmark indicated.  The course itself does not need to have both your topic and geographic concentrations reflected explicitly in the title/course description so long as the research project for the course allows this focus.  So, for example, if the course TOPIC fits and you can work on your GEOGRAPHIC region for your semester project OR if the course has your GEOGRAPHIC focus and you can work on a project in your TOPIC area, then that MAY count for an IR capstone.  However, you must first request permission from the course instructor to be sure that this focus is acceptable. 

To be sure your capstone choice is appropriate for completion of your major requirement, the project proposal must be approved in advance by the Director of Undergraduate Studies in International Relations.  To schedule an advising appointment, please use our online scheduling system, Acuity. This requirement applies to all undergraduate International Relations majors in the Class of 2012 and beyond.


All capstone papers must be reviewed and approved by the International Relations Curriculum Committee.  Capstone papers must be submitted through the IR Capstone Blackboard Organization.  All declared International Relations majors are enrolled in the IR Capstone organization on Blackboard.  To submit your capstone:

  1. Log into Blackboard and select the IR Capstone organization.
  2. Select Capstone Submission.
  3. Choose the assignment that corresponds with the semester in which you were enrolled in the senior seminar course.
  4. Upload your International Relations capstone paper.

One your capstone has been reviewed, you will receive a notice from the Curriculum Committee telling you if your capstone has been approved or if it needs to be revised and resubmitted.

Fall 2018 Senior Seminars
Spring 2018 Senior Seminars

Fall 2017 Senior Seminars

Spring 2017 Senior Seminars

Fall 2016 Senior Seminars

Spring 2016 Senior Seminars

Fall 2015 Senior Seminars

Spring 2015 Senior Seminars


  Sample Capstone Projects   


Alicia Drummond (IRP 495): 
 "Preventing a Lost Generation: An analysis of the education opportunities of Syrian refugees" 


Rose Cote (IRP 412):
"UNSCR 1325's Slow Success in the Middle East and North Africa: The Case of Iraq and Tunisia"

Michael Barbone (IRP 400): 
"Energy Enigma: Fukushima's Consequences on European Nuclear Energy"


Madeleine Durbin (IRP 400):
 "At Risk: Conflict Resources and the Right to Water in Sub-Saharan Africa"

Bradley White (IRP 495): 
"A Second Sunrise or Final Sunset? Rwandan Coffee"


Gabriella Mednick (IRP 495):
"The Effect of Exchange Rates on Soy Production and Deforestation in the Brazilian Amazon"

Nicholas Townsend (IRP 495):
"LGBTI in UN's GRULAC: Shifts in Leadership and Challenges to Progress"


TJ Tree (IRP 400): 
"Not So Fast: Iran and Nuclear Proliferation Realities"

Marisa Fenning (IRP 400):
"How Did the Emerald Isle Lose its Luster? A Study of Job Destruction During the 2008 Financial Crisis"


Ling 'Joephy' Fung (IRP 400)
"Should Mainland Investors be Blamed for Causing Hong Kong's Housing Bubble?"