Partnering Information


The Conservation Leadership Master’s Program invites partnerships with conservation organizations to offer Capstone Projects that students can complete as part of the requirements for their Master’s degree. Projects should facilitate application of skills and knowledge from the coursework (see below for a list of course topics), as well as provide an opportunity to make a meaningful contribution to conservation.

Students participate in on-campus coursework during the Fall and the Spring. During this time students conduct background research and planning for their projects. In June, students begin working at their project locations. For more information and commonly asked questions, please visit our FAQ document.

Core Learning Objectives

The Conservation Leadership program has seven core learning objectives for students. Each Capstone Project should address some of the following objectives:

  1. Analyze conservation issues from multiple disciplines and stakeholder perspectives
  2. Gain skills to collaborate with diverse stakeholders and individuals
  3. Utilize systems thinking to examine conservation issues
  4. Apply interdisciplinary problem-solving approaches to conservation issues
  5. Apply inquiry tools and methods to address conservation issues
  6. Effectively communicate conservation via varied media, academic outputs and presentations
  7. Demonstrate leadership skills to work effectively in group environments


Conservation Leadership also has preferred criteria that organizations should consider when proposing a project.

  • Duration: projects that fit within a four month project period (June through September), in which the student is fully immersed in working with the partner organization
  • Community-based: work at a community or regional level, including interactions with and/or exposure to local stakeholders
  • Multi-disciplinary: analysis and investigation of a conservation issue through multiple lenses
  • Cross-cultural: opportunities for students to interact with individuals and/or in a culture vastly different than their own
  • Networking: opportunities for students to interact with other conservation professionals
  • Thematic relevance: opportunities for students to engage in one or more of our priority themes
    • Conservation and Development
    • Protected Area Management
    • Responding to Climate Change
    • Human Dimensions of Wildlife
  • Builds on coursework: students can apply skills and knowledge from CLTL coursework in more than one of the following areas:

    CLTL student interviewing residents in Belize about lionfish. Photo credit: Phil Krening

    • Biodiversity
    • Systems thinking
    • Governance/Decision-making
    • Policy
    • Facilitation
    • Communication/Outreach
    • Ecosystem services
    • Spatial analysis
    • Collaborative conservation
    • Social science research methods
    • Ecological research methods
    • Multi-level views of conservation
    • Leading others
    • Participation on teams


Each Capstone Project must include a professional-level deliverable that requires significant analysis and effort by the student. Examples include a management plan, technical report, communication materials, series of policy briefs, etc. The project deliverable should be useful to the partner organization to further their conservation work.

Partner Support

Our aim is for win-win partnerships in which partner organizations benefits from our students’ efforts, and students have a highly rewarding learning experience. We prefer projects in which the organization can provide support to students to cover project expenses, which both demonstrate a commitment on part of the organization while also helping to keep additional costs to students as they pursue their degree.

Student and project costs to consider include:

  • Orientation to the organization
  • Introductions to project stakeholders
  • Travel/Mileage to/from project locations
  • Work space
  • Housing during visits to project sites, or assistance in finding short-term housing
  • Opportunities to support other projects with the organization
  • Research permits, if applicable
  • Translators, if applicable
  • Research assistant(s), if applicable
  • Opportunities to support other projects with the organization
  • Data collection tools, if applicable


September 27, 2021Deadline to submit project proposal form
October 1, 2021Project proposal posted on CLTL website
October 2021 – March 2022CLTL and partners review and select applicants (In their application students will rank their project preferences. Partners will be asked - though not required - to review applications in which their project is ranked as a top choice by the applicant.)
April 15, 2022Applicant deadline for committing to CLTL enrollment
August 2022 – May 2023Students complete two semesters of on-campus coursework at CSU
June 1, 2023 – September 30, 2023Students at project site working on final project
November 2023Students give final presentation on project
December 2023Students complete project deliverables


If you are interested in proposing a project, please fill out the Capstone Project Proposal Form.