Instructions for Capstone Project Proposal

Please use at least 11-point font size.

Your total proposal should be no longer than 4 pages long, not including references (but can be shorter).

We encourage you to write clearly and succinctly; although we have offered four pages for the proposal, do not feel obliged to use all four pages unless you need to do so for us to understand the project.

Please prepare a proposal that contains the five sections listed below:

  1. Project Description
  2. Project Team
  3. Project Resources
  4. Non-Academic Partner
  5. Additional Information

Project Description:

  • What problem are you trying to solve?
  • Why is it important?
  • What, if anything, has been tried to solve the problem previously?
  • What were the results?
  • How do you currently envision that the Capstone team will address the problem that your project is based on?
  • What are the major challenges that a team would face in getting your proposed project accomplished?
  • How would success be defined?
  • Who would be the primary stakeholders who determine whether this project succeeds?
  • What kind of timeline do you envision?  Are there timing constraints that will affect the team when working on your proposed project?

Project Team:

  • What expertise or skills do you currently have that will contribute to the project?
  • What other Duke researchers or staff will participate in the project?
  • What expertise and skills will each of them contribute, and how often will they engage with the team?
  • How many MIDS students do you envision participating, and what skills should they have?
  • What distinct deliverable would each of them create after participating for one year?

Project Resources:

  • What data do you currently possess to address the problem, and how much work needs to be done for the data to be usable?
  • What additional data needs to be collected or obtained to complete your proposed project?
  • What non-personnel resources are available to the team to address the problem you want to solve (e.g., equipment, space, funding, technical support, etc.).
  • What additional data, tools (e.g. hardware, software), or resources will the project work require that you do not currently have?


  • Do you have a non-academic partner lined up already? If so, who is it, how long have you had a relationship with them, and what kind of relationship do you have?
  • If not, what kind of non-academic partners would be interested in your project?  Do you have any existing connections to non-academic partners we could help you explore?

Additional Information:

  • Will this project be part of your dissertation (if you are a Ph.D. student)?
  • Is this project part of your team’s ongoing research, and does it have external funding (if you are not a student)?
  • What other important issues, if any, should we know about your proposed project?