Michael - From what I've seen/heard UC has been getting a bit more open with its senior thesis requirements. Lots of students are going away from traditional ID projects and designing more in the UX/Strategy relm. Whether its mobile apps or redesigning a service/experience; Professors are allowing students to tailor their final project to line up more with the job they want after school.
That being said this project seems like another spin off of what Andrew Kim did for his senior thesis. http://www.minimallyminimal.com/blog/america-elect