MCRP Capstone

What is the MCRP Capstone Project?

In the second year of the MCRP program, students are expected to complete the Capstone as the final requirement for their program. The major purpose of the Capstone is to provide students with an opportunity to demonstrate the breadth of their planning education and synthesize their knowledge of planning. The Capstone serves as a culmination of the MCRP degree program, allowing students to articulate and demonstrate the competency they have developed in their chosen focus area, through synthesis and/or application of the knowledge, skills, and capabilities they have gained in the program. It is expected that students will be able to use the Capstone output to demonstrate their professional competency to potential employers.

Please note that the Capstone Project, through the course PLAN 528A, fulfills the Synthesis and Application of Knowledge to Practice skills component as established and required for program accreditation by the Canadian planning accreditation body, the Professional Standards Board (PSB).

What is the format of the Capstone Project?

The Capstone can take a range of forms, as this flexibility allows students to define a Capstone that will best meet their individual educational objectives. Options include:

1. Professional Research Report

The product of the Capstone may be a professional report in which the student investigates a well-defined, practical planning-related question or problem. In this case, the student demonstrates competency by defining an applied problem in his/her chosen focus area and conducting appropriate research to address it. Further details are provided below. Reports should not exceed 30 pages (at 1.5 spacing) in length including executive summary, tables, figures, and references. This is roughly equivalent to a word-count limit of 7,000 words. Appendices may be added and are not counted in this page limit.

2. Professional Portfolio

The product of the Capstone course may be a portfolio of work produced during the MCRP degree program (e.g., from courses, internship, and/or studio) accompanied by a synthesis report. In this option, the student demonstrates competency through articulating a chosen focus area, reflecting on his/her explorations in the context of the pieces of work, and synthesizing various strands of thought into a cohesive, integrated approach to planning. The portfolio should include information to contextualize each piece of work, such as goals, outputs, and the specific role of the student in the case of team projects. The synthesis report should integrate knowledge developed in several learning environments at SCARP. The synthesis report should be approximately 5 to 10 pages in length (at 1.5 spacing), not exceeding 3,000 words.

Examples of the professional research report option include:

  • An internship extension report – A written report that builds on the student's internship experience. This could involve, for example, analyzing data that had been collected during the internship.
  • A studio extension report – A written report that builds on the student's studio experience. This could involve addressing a problem that is related to but outside the scope of the client-defined studio project.
  • An independent research report – A professional report that involves independent research outside the scope of courses, internship, or studio. The report may be undertaken for a real or hypothetical client. In some cases, it may be appropriate to conduct time-intensive activities that exceed the expectations of the 3-credit Capstone course; for example, a student may need to conduct a thorough literature review in an area where courses were not available. In these cases, a student may choose to take a Directed Study course (PLAN 550, 3 credits) in conjunction with the Capstone, particularly if this helps with meeting the 48-credit MCRP requirement.

3. Alternative form

With the approval of the Faculty Advisor, a student may complete the Capstone in an alternative form, such as a film, other multi-media product, or website. The Capstone product must be commensurate with the portfolio or research report options in terms of general content and depth of exploration, and must be accompanied by a paper of approximately 5 to 10 pages in length (at 1.5 spacing), not exceeding 3,000 words. 

Will MCRP students receive course credit for completing the Capstone Project?

MCRP students will receive 3 credits for completing the Capstone Project via the registration in PLAN 528A. Please note that PLAN 528A is a MCRP Program Requirement and students must be registered in the course to complete their MCRP program (Exception: MCRP students in the Indigenous Community Planning (ICP) concentration). Information on the course, PLAN 528A may be found in the Course Outline.

Students are not permitted to register for PLAN 528A. Instead, this is initiated by the Graduate Administrator, who registers the student upon receiving the Capstone Selection form and Outline, approved and signed by the student’s Faculty Advisor. Registration in PLAN 528A continues until completion of the Capstone.

Do students receive supervision on their Capstone Project?

Even though the student’s Capstone Project is considered an independent research project, their Capstone Project is supervised by their assigned Faculty Advisor. Faculty Advisors advise students regarding all phases of the Capstone, including which Capstone option to pursue:

  • For the Capstone Project option, the Faculty Advisor advises on topic selection, project design, data collection and analysis, and finalizing the report.
  • For the Capstone Portfolio option, the Faculty Advisor advises on the selection, representation and synthesis of course outputs and the development of the portfolio narrative.

Students are expected to meet with their Faculty Advisor in their second year to discuss their Capstone topic and format.  This procedure is formalized by completing a Capstone Selection form. The Faculty Advisor must indicate their agreement to oversee the Capstone by signing the student's Capstone form. The form and outline (as appropriate; one page is adequate) must be submitted to the Graduate Administrator to initiate registration in the Capstone course, PLAN 528A.

Students submit a final copy of their Capstone to their Faculty Advisor by the set deadline and a grade is communicated to the Graduate Administrator for the student’s academic record.

Completed Capstone Projects:

Capstone professional reports completed by our graduated MCRP students who received a final grade within the A to A+ range may be found in UBC's digital repository, cIRcle**Due to confidentiality reasons, Capstone professional reports completed by our graduated MCRP students in the Indigenous Community Planning concentration are not publicly available.

Capstone professional portfolios completed by our graduated MCRP students who received a final grade within the A to A+ range may be found here

Relevant Links:

PLAN 528A Course Outline
Capstone Selection form
Capstones on cIRcle