Sir Walter Murdoch School of Public Policy & International Affairs

The Capstone Experience

As a student of the Sir Walter Murdoch School, you will complete your degree with a Capstone experience – a special unit that consolidates everything you have learned in your course.

A Capstone project gives you the opportunity to apply your learning to a practical issue – pulling together your core skills and critical thinking abilities, and preparing you for professional life as a job-ready postgraduate. Choose from a supervised thesis, a research internship, or a real-world policy case study. Some students may be eligible for a summer exchange program to Indonesia.

Please discuss with your Academic Chair and then contact the School Dean, Prof Benjamin Reilly, to specify your preferred project and enrolment options.

  • Internship

    Research internship

    A Research Internship, available in Semester 2 each year, immerses you in a real-world public or non-government environment. Throughout the semester, you will conduct a research project with support from your workplace supervisor and Unit Coordinator. Preparing your project report will draw from your organisational, time management and communication skills, along with your ability to work with others in a professional setting.

    Students interested in identifying their own advertised WA Public Sector internship opportunity can peruse the WA Public Sector Commission Internship website. It links to a page where students can search and apply for advertised opportunities. Please contact Murdoch’s Program Manager for Work Integrated Learning, Dr David Rowbottom to discuss your options.

    The Sir Walter Murdoch School also has a current agreement to place students with:

    • Health Department of Western Australia
    • Oxfam
    • Red Cross Blood Service
    • Amnesty International
    • Save the Children
    • Future Directions International (FDI)
    • Institute of Public Policy Australia
    • Perth USAsia Centre
    • Nous Group
    • World Vision Australia
    • Puntukurnu Aboriginal Medical Service (PAMS)


    If you are interested in one of these listed opportunities, please search the website of these organisations to see the work they do and the kind of project you may wish to pursue, and then speak to Dr Rowbottom to discuss your options. We recommend that you make contact in the Semester prior to undertaking your internship so that you can be matched with an appropriate agency.

    Unit(s)

    SWM619 – Research Internship – 6 points (work placement, plus 5,000 to 12,000 word report)

    Contact(s)

    Dr Davina Boyd (d.boyd@murdoch.edu.au)
    Professor Benjamin Reilly (ben.reilly@murdoch.edu.au)

  • Case Study

    Supervised Case Study

    The Supervised Case Study allows students to analyse in depth an issue of policy significance, using relevant conceptual tools, professional skills, and theoretical perspectives. With the guidance of an academic supervisor, you will demonstrate evaluative, analytical and critical skills, preparing an explicitly policy-focused paper. Your case study can cover issues at international, national, state or local level.

    Some students will have the capacity to link their case study to privately arranged national or international internships and delegations. If you have identified a suitable experience that you would like to undertake, please read the Guidelines below, and then contact your Academic Chair to discuss. You may be eligible for University funding support via the Vice Chancellor's Student Development Program.


    Unit(s)

    SWM620 - Supervised Case Study Project - 3 points (up to 5,000 word case study)

  • Indonesia Internship

    The Sir Walter Murdoch School offers opportunities for students to complete their research internship or case study as part of study tour in Indonesia, run by the Australian Consortium for 'In-Country' Indonesian Studies (ACICIS).

    The Development Studies Professional Practicum (DSPP) consists of a two-week academic program hosted by Atma Jaya Catholic University, followed by a four-week industry placement. This program includes Indonesian language tuition and seminars of contemporary and industry-relevant themes and is open to all SWMS students. Students participating in the DSPP enrol in the 6 point unit SWM619 Research Internship. For more information on that unit, please click on the Internship tab above.

    The two-week Public Health Study Tour (PHST) will see students visit universities and field sites across Indonesia. This program is open to all our students but is particularly encouraged for those undertaking the Masters of Health Administration, Policy and Leadership. Students participating in the PHST enrol in the 3 point unit SWM620 Supervised Case Study Project. For more information on that unit, please click on the Case Study tab above.

    Both programs are designed for students with little to no overseas experience.

    For more information visit the ACICIS website.
  • Global Voices Scholarship

    The Mal and Karyl Nairn Global Voices Scholarship enables several high-performing Sir Walter Murdoch School students to join an international policy delegation for their Research Internship each year.

    The Global Voices Delegation takes place in Semester 2. The chosen student joins a team of students from other universities who attend a series of high-profile national and international meetings and forums as part of an Australian delegation. The student will be required to produce an opinion piece and an in-depth research paper on a relevant issue as part of their formal assessment.

    Students must have completed at least 12 points of their degree prior to the semester in which the delegation occurs (or 24 points for those on the 48-point program). As Global Voices assesses students on academic merit, only those with a strong history of achievement should apply. Extra-curricular achievements, demonstrated interest in relevant issues and a strong desire to contribute to the community are also important.

    All delegation expenses – such as flights, accommodation and some meals – are covered by the Mal and Karyl Nairn Global Voices Scholarship, made available by a generous local benefactor.

    Students apply directly to Global Voices in early July via their website. The decision on the successful applicant is made by Global Voices in consultation with the Sir Walter Murdoch School. The successful student needs to enrol in the 6-point unit SWM619 Research Internship and pay the usual fees for this course. The successful applicant will be required to work around their travel commitments in choosing their other SWMS units for the relevant semester.

    As Global Voices Delegates need to be aged under 30 for the entire period of their commitment, and be Australian citizens or permanent residents, this opportunity will not be available to our whole cohort. If you do not meet the age or citizenship requirements, you may still be eligible for other programmes and opportunities for international placements. Other national or international opportunities may also be integrated 3-point unit SWM620 Advanced Policy Case Study. Please see that tab for more details.

One Student’s Global Voices Experience