Robert M. La Follette School of Public Affairs

The Workshop in Public Affairs and the Workshop in International Public Affairs are the capstone courses for the La Follette School's two master's degree programs – the Master of International Public Affairs and the Master of Public Affairs.

Workshop students gain practical experience applying the tools of political, economic, and statistical analysis they acquired during three semesters of coursework. Working in teams, students produce research-based, analytical, evaluative, and prescriptive reports for clients in the public, non-governmental, and private sectors that range from municipal government offices to international development organizations.

This culminating project is the equivalent of the thesis for a degree from the La Follette School of Public Affairs, which welcomes public, nonprofit, and private sector organizations to apply to be clients for its workshop courses. There is no cost to clients.

Project Solicitations

The La Follette School of Public Affairs welcomes public, nonprofit, and private sector organizations to apply to be clients for its Public Affairs and International Public Affairs workshops.

Client-based projects are completed by student groups under the direction of a La Follette faculty member, within the context of a semester-long course, beginning in January. By early May, students submit a research-based, evaluative, and prescriptive response to the client issue or problem, in the form of a professional-quality report. In addition to the final written product, students present their results during an oral presentation to the client.


The main criteria we use to assess the viability of projects are:

  1. Is there a clear and high- profile client, with a point of contact in a position to respond to students and facilitate the conversations?
    • Student projects are most likely to succeed when they have an ongoing point of contact to guide them through day-to-day questions, but also have a high-level client who will be, at a minimum, present for the presentation of the final project in late spring.
  2. Data availability
    • In cases where the project is about solving a particular question, it is more likely that students can offer a satisfying answer if they have access to relevant data. Given the short timeline, it is best for students to work with existing public or internal data.
    • In some cases students can collect new data (e.g., via surveys), but this makes for tight timelines and must be well prepared from the start.
  3. Is the project scope focused enough to conduct analysis and make recommendations in the period of 90 days?
    • The teams will have 4 to 5 students; however, these students also have multiple classes, and we want to make sure any project is feasible within one semester.

Submitting a Proposal

If you are interested in submitting a workshop project proposal, please fill out and submit the form below by November 17. If your organization is considering multiple proposals, please submit each one separately.

Our faculty will vet the project proposals in December and contact you if your project is a good fit for that semester's course. Please note that we always have more requests than we have possible project slots.


Thank you for your interest in working with La Follette students. Please direct any additional questions to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

Workshop Reports