Capstone Seminar

Academic Program:

Instructor: Sejal ParmarEszter PolgáriOswaldo Ruiz-Chiriboga

Credits: 2.0

Course description: Mandatory course

Capstone seminars are interactive seminars based on peer-to-peer discussion and presentations. Seminars bring together students with similar capstone projects in order to develop specific research and oral skills and to allow students to benefit from meaningful peer-to-peer interaction. Capstone seminars provide general guidance on how to set the scope of the project, select the right methodological and disciplinary approaches, gather and use sources and evidence, and frame and effectively communicate arguments. Presentation of individual work (work in progress and final outcome) is a core component of capstone seminars. Students are expected to develop their research projects in light of seminar discussions.

Capstone projects are expected to be problem-oriented, draw oncomparative analysis and to have both a practical and a written component. Capstone projects are supervised by faculty members.

The practical component may take various forms, depending on the subject and aims of the project. It may draw on group work, an advocacy exercise or an internship experience. It may also take the form of organizing a thematic workshop or an outreach activity.

The written component is expected to complement the practical component. The form of the written component depends on the nature of the project chosen. It could include, for example, a problem-oriented research memorandum on a human rights or constitutional law problem, an advocacy brief, or an amicus brief to be filed before a regional human rights court or a UN body. The ideal length of the written component is 6-8.000 words.

Learning Outcomes:

1. Research and writing skills:

- Ability to design a legal research project independently on an advanced level: select a relevant human rights or constitutional law research problem, recognize and apply appropriate research methods (e.g. quantitative, qualitative, visual analysis, interviews) and identify relevant primary and secondary sources;
- Ability to generate structured, logical, plausible and persuasive argumentation using appropriate reasoning – advanced level;
- Ability to recognize that a human rights or constitutional law problem can be addressed from various disciplinary perspectives and use methods and theories from other disciplines;
- Ability to develop new ideas and to build on existing knowledge to generate new solutions for human rights or constitutional law problems using a comparative legal perspective – advanced level;
- Ability to approach human rights or constitutional law problems in their broader political and societal context from a comparative, international and inter- / multi-disciplinary perspective.

2. Oral skills:

- Ability to summarize, present and discuss ideas, research hypotheses and arguments orally in a clear, effective and engaging way – advanced level;
- Ability to listen effectively to contributions by peers, to ask and respond to questions in a constructive manner on an advanced level;
- Ability to deliver effective oral presentations using appropriate visual tools and technical equipment – advanced level.