Final Paper Format

NOTE: At an absolute minimum, the paper should be 25 pages in length for each group member the team has (eg. team of 4 should produce at least 100 pages total). All formatting and citations should be in Chicago Style. Recommended paper formatting is size 12 font, Times New Roman, double-spaced.

[Capstone project cover page]




Submitted in partial fulfillment of the

Master of Science in Sustainability degree

City College of New York


Faculty Supervisor:




Sustainability Program Director:

            Name:  Kyle McDonald



Note to Students:

(i)  Capstone Projects differ with respect to overall goals and deliverables. As a result, some projects may give more weight to some of the following components than other components, and in some cases their order could conceivably be changed. But the expectation is that all or nearly all of the following components will be included and fully covered in a Capstone Final Report.

(ii)  A Capstone Final Report should be an original written document authored and edited by members of the Capstone team. The bulk of the report should be original written prose, not quotes from material downloaded from the Internet or any other sources of information (i.e., quotations or excerpts are acceptable, but should be used sparingly.) Any concept, quote, or image borrowed from these sources must be properly acknowledged.


Recommended Components of Final Capstone Project Report


Somewhere near the very front of your report, acknowledge help received from all who directly or indirectly assisted the team (faculty supervisor; collaborators/informants from city/state agencies; anyone either inside or outside CCNY who gave you useful feedback in any form).


In reasonable detail.  Include Appendices.


Briefly summarize the main elements of the project. I.e., provide an executive summary. Limit content of the abstract to work accomplished, results, and conclusion. Background information and detailed methodology should be relegated to the main body of the report. Length:  ~200-300  words. The Abstract should be drafted at the very end, when the report’s structure and content have been finalized.


Introduce your project to the reader (a non-specialist) in an orderly and understandable way. Explain the importance or relevance of your topic. Give the reader a sense of the wider context of the topic. Discuss the basic project objectives and overall approaches to the topic. (One handy way to do this might be to integrate into the Introduction an edited version of the initial one-page summary description of your project).


Discuss the various studies relevant to the topic(s) of your project that in effect lay the groundwork for your work. If much of your preparatory research involves gathering various materials and relevant information, present this background research in an ordered and coherent manner.


Describe, in some detail, the main steps that you used to solve the project problem(s) and/or produce the project deliverable(s). This section should summarize all the activities you carried out in the course of producing your project’s findings/results, e.g., background research, data collection, meetings with various parties, interviews in person or via phone, presentations given, feedback received, etc.

RESULTS [Alternatively, FINDINGS]

For projects that have a strong “experimental” focus, the results may center on data and calculations. For such projects, present results in summary form in tables and graphs with appropriate titles. Also state all results explicitly in verbal form, explaining whether they make sense and discussing special features of the results and their significance.

Most capstone projects tend not to have a strong experimental focus, and accordingly project results will come in various forms, and will not rely as heavily on data and calculations. Results may be in the form of a series of graphs, illustrations, or exhibit materials presented in a format that is coherent, complete, and self-explanatory. State all results explicitly in verbal form, and discuss any special features of the results and their significance. .


Comment in summary fashion on your project findings/results, make appropriate general remarks about their significance, discuss whether and how your project objectives were met, etc.


If you had more time to pursue your project, what additional areas would you research to make your results/finding more certain, or more comprehensive? What related directions of inquiry has your project suggested might be useful?


List the references noted in the Background Research / Literature Review (and anywhere else in the report), fully and consistently. Unless otherwise instructed, use the Chicago style (Author-Date variant) for in-text citations and the References list. Include in the References only those sources for which there are in-text citations in the report. References should be in alphabetical order.


The body of a Capstone Final Report will consist of substantive textual discussion, organized into the components noted above. The body of the report should not overwhelm the reader with supporting data and other details. Such data/details should be presented as attached appendices.

For projects centering on experiments, data, and calculations, the Appendices should include detailed experimental procedures, raw data in its original form, and detailed calculations for results not calculated in the text of the report. The appendices should also include annotated bibliographies and Project Management Logs.