Information for Clients

iMEP student who choose to pursue a Client-Based Master’s Project are required to produce a professional report or Master’s Project (MP) that helps a client decide what to do about a policy problem. The MP’s purpose is to recommend and defend a specific course of action. It is important to recognize that the MP is also a key component of a student’s academic program requirements and must be approved by the student’s iMEP faculty Advisor. As such, the MP must measure up to the standards of good analysis, including precise definition of the problem, dispassionate evaluation of the evidence, identification of important trade-offs, and clear presentation of the results and recommendations.

Client Expectations

  • The client should work closely with the student to develop an appropriate topic that is of practical use to his/her organization. The student’s MP Faculty Advisor will be involved in refining the topic and developing the research strategy for the MP.
  • The student and client should plan to talk or meet periodically to discuss the shape and direction of the project over the course of the academic year.
  • The organization should provide a clear point of contact who will communicate with students and respond regularly and in a timely manner.
  • The client should meet with the group and the MP advisor to define the project scope, formulate a researchable problem and develop a work plan that best fits the challenge posed.
  • The client should engage and commit to work with the team or student for the duration of the MP.
  • The client should regularly provide feedback to the student or group throughout the MP process.


During the fall term, the students begin the writing of the project and submit an MP Mid-term Report, which is presented to, reviewed and approved by the MP Faculty Advisor and the MP Mid-term Report Review Committee in December.

During the spring term, the students complete the MP project. A draft project will be submitted MP Faculty Advisor in March; a final version is due both to the MP Faculty Advisor and to the client in April. The client is encouraged to attend the MP Defense, as well as to request that the studentsmake a presentation of the project to the client’s organization.

The MP Faculty Advisor may recommend a student’s final MP for posting to the Duke University Library’s DukeSpace digital repository. If so, the MP will be web accessible to the public using a Creative Commons license and will be assigned a persistent URL. Exceptions to posting MP’s are granted via application by the student to the iMEP Program’s Director of Graduate Studies.


Students welcome financial or in-kind assistance to help defray costs of their research.


Clients should feel free to contact the iMEP program coordinatorat DKU ( for any clarification on the MP process or requirements.