The capstone project gives students the opportunity to explore a specialised topic by way of supervised, independent research. The capstone project should make an original contribution to a particular empirical, theoretical or methodological question within the field of Urban Studies. Projects must be based on field or archival research, or the analysis of existing data sets (quantitative, visual or textual).

The capstone project in Urban Studies is supported through the Urban Studio, which is a regular seminar, meeting, advising and reporting space. This complements the student-supervisor relationship. In Semester 1 of Year 4, the Urban Studio is used to support the development of the capstone project (research design, data collection and/or analysis, literature review). In Semester 2 of Year 4, the Urban Studio offers an occasional forum for the presentation of, and constructive feedback on, draft versions of the final work.

Students majoring in Urban Studies can elect to submit their final assessed work in one of three formats:

  • A 10,000 word written report in an academic format, and an Urban Studio final presentation;
  • A multimedia work (e.g. film, photographic essay) with a 5,000 word written report, and an Urban Studio final presentation;
  • A visualisation/analysis (e.g. GIS, CAD, etc.), with a 5,000 word written report, and an Urban Studio final presentation.

Students seeking to complete a capstone in formats 2 or 3 must gain the approval of the Head of Studies in Semester 2 of Year 3. Approval will be contingent upon whether the student is considered to have acquired the appropriate skills prior to the capstone year, and there being appropriate supervision available.

How do I select a capstone topic in Urban Studies?

Thinking through these steps below might help:

  1. Think about a topic or area that would sustain your interest for two semesters.
  2. Think about a topic that is do-able. Small enough, accessible, and where the data needed can be attained.
  3. Think about a topic that is related to the themes of the major. It is useful to consider that an urban topic may be either:
    • of the city – meaning about processes of urbanization and their effects (political and economic, social or cultural, architectural or environmental)
    • in the city – meaning about phenomena and processes that occur in the city, and sometimes uniquely so (political and economic, social or cultural, architectural or environmental)
    • contemporary or historical
    • Based in Singapore or elsewhere
  1. Think of a topic that you have encountered already through your course of studies thus far (Urban Studies or elective or common curriculum modules), and which you wish you could learn more about or understand better.
  2. Think about topics that match the interests of the faculty in Urban Studies. We encourage students to bring their passions and interests to the capstone, but we also encourage students to consider selecting topics related to the following thematic and topical areas of faculty expertise:
    • Peri-urbanisation and village development
    • Community organisation and development
    • Planning history and theory in Singapore
    • Heritage, memory and tourism
    • Architecture, built form, infrastructure & society
    • Creative, smart & innovative cities
    • Water and waste
    • Poverty and informality
    • Environment and Development
    • Mobilities and transport
    • GIS and spatial analysis
    • Urban demography
    • Development & urbanisation in the Global South
    • Transnational planning and policy mobilities
    • Urban Governance
    • Housing
    • Youth in city
    • Urban representation through pop cultures