The MAGES degree culminates in the preparation of a capstone project. The capstone is finalized during the GEST 980 MAGES Seminar course in the final semester of the program, but work on the project begins at least the fall before. Students who wish to apply for PhD programs following the MAGES degree should begin their research the summer before the second year of the program, if not earlier.

The capstone project presents original research conducted by the student on a topic of their choice. Students will work with their advisors to develop a topic and a thesis, conduct primary and secondary research, analyze information, and write/film/design a final project.


Two Georgetown faculty members serve as advisors for each project. Students select their primary advisor from any Georgetown faculty member or adjunct with expertise in their chosen subject. The secondary advisor is the instructor of the student’s GEST 980 seminar.

Students who select a primary advisor from outside CGES should work with the Supervisor of Academic Programs to ensure that this advisor understands the project timeline and their responsibilities.

Students should meet with their primary advisor regularly to discuss their progress and to receive guidance and feedback. Advisors can help the student narrow their focus, but it is the student’s responsibility, not the advisor’s, to develop the research topic.


The format of the final project is flexible. Most students opt to write either a long research paper or a brief policy memo backed up by a medium-length research paper. However, options such as documentaries, websites, and stagings are also acceptable. Students who would like to propose an alternative format for their final project should check with their advisor early in the research process.


See the annual Important Dates file and emails from the Supervisor of Academic Programs for specific dates.


  • Spring semester – Students wishing to apply to PhD programs should select an advisor and begin narrowing their topic.
  • Summer – Most students should begin narrowing their topics and selecting an advisor. Students wishing to apply to PhD programs should conduct preliminary research.


  • Mid-September – Deadline for first meeting with advisor
  • Late September – Submit draft questionnaire
  • Mid-October – Submit final questionnaire
  • Mid-November – Submit preliminary bibliography and outline of key debate in your topic area
  • Final semester – Enroll in GEST 980
  • Mid-January – Submit literature review
  • April – Participate in Colloquium
  • May – Submit final project


The annual MAGES colloquium is held on a Friday in April, prior to the final submission of the capstone project. The colloquium is a chance for graduating MAGES students to both formally present their research and celebrate the anticipated completion of their degree. Students are encouraged to invite their academic advisors and perhaps a close family member to attend their presentations.

Arranged into thematic panels chaired by faculty experts, students give 12-minute presentations on their research. Presentations should clearly explain the research question(s) and/or hypothesis, the research methodology, and the findings. Following each set of presentations, a first-year student serving as discussant will discuss the themes shared by the panelists. Audience members and the panel chair may then pose questions to the panelists.

The colloquium closes with the presentation of the Jill A. Hopper Award and a celebratory reception.