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Capstone Experiences

Please cite as follows: Chan, CKY (2015). "Capstone Experiences", Engineering Education Enhancement and Research Asia (E3R Asia).

Examples of Capstone Experiences in Local Universities


Type of Capstone Experience


Supplementary Information

University of Hong Kong (HKU)

Internship and Senior Design Project

Students studying BEng in Computer Engineering or BEng in Electrical Engineering are required to do an internship worth 6 credits during summer in their third year of study and to do a design project worth 12 credits prior leaving the university.


on page 8.

Polytechnic University of Hong Kong (PolyU HK)

Capstone Project

Students majoring in the following programme need to complete a capstone project:

  1. BEng (Hons) in Product Analysis and Engineering Design (PAED)
  2. BEng (Hons) in Product Engineering in Marketing (PEM)

The capstone project allows students to integrate the knowledge and skills they have acquired by putting them into application. The PAED Capstone Project is a group project whereas the PEM Capstone Project is an individual project.


on page 33

Hong Kong University of Science and Technology (HKUST)

Capstone Course

Students studying Civil Engineering do a capstone course, “Integrated Civil Engineering Design Project” worth 2 credits. It is a group project where students integrate prior knowledge in designing and from course work into a real-life project. Project topics may include project planning, feasibility studies, environmental impact assessments, site development, foundation design, structural design, water resources engineering, transportation engineering, cost estimating, contract document preparation, and construction project management.


section on CIVL 4950 Integrated Civil Engineering Design Project


Examples of Capstone Experiences in North American Universities


Type of Capstone Experience


Supplementary Information

Princeton University

Senior Thesis 

Students studying Chemical Engineering, Biological Engineering, Mechanical Engineering, or Aerospace Engineering at the undergraduate level need to write a senior thesis, which is a year-long independent research project that allows students to demonstrate skills that are necessary to think, analyze and write coherently and maturely. It gives students an opportunity to work with a faculty member and choose a subject of their own choice. 


on page 17 and 19


University of California, Berkeley

Capstone Project

The Master of Engineering students are to complete a capstone project worth 5 units over two semesters. The capstone project is a group project with three to five students as a team. The project serves the purpose of letting students apply their knowledge and skills to actual industry problems identified by industry partners in which students will be guided and mentored by a faculty member.




“Curriculum” section



Johns Hopkins University

Senior Design Project

It is a two semester course for undergraduate Mechanical Engineering students. Students are to work in small groups to solve specific design challenges presented by industry, government, and non-profit organizations. Sponsors will provide the individual teams funding. The project lets students draw upon the skills and knowledge they have acquired throughout the course of their study.






University of Michigan

(1) Capstone Project (with the following focus areas):

  1. Research
  2. Entrepreneurship
  3. Design
  4. Global Operations/
  5. Public Service

(2) Honors Thesis

(3) Capstone Design
Project (for ME Students)

(1)(2) For their Honors Program, engineering students will need to complete a capstone project or an honors thesis. The choice between doing a capstone project or an honors thesis depends on the student’s educational or career goals.   

(3) The capstone design project gives Mechanical Engineering student an understanding regarding design principles. It lets student(s) experience the process of integrating and applying those engineering knowledge they have acquired into the design and manufacturing of mechanical systems.  




University of Toronto

Capstone Course

For students majoring in Mineral Engineering, a capstone course called “Mineral Project Design” is required.  The course addresses all global outcomes of the Mineral Engineering curriculum. The course is divided into two parts. Part 1 of the course is where students perform individual detailed case history analyses. Part 2 focuses on the design of a mining or civil rock engineering project, in which students are organized into groups and are given one or more data sets and a design problem to solve. 


University of British Columbia (UBC)

Capstone Course

Prior graduating from UBC, Mechanical Engineering students need to complete a capstone course called “45X Capstone Design Project”. The project challenges students to apply the knowledge and skills acquired and learnt throughout their studies into real world problems. Students are to work in groups under the supervision of a faculty member. As well as to build a model of their designs and if given the necessary funding by industry partners, to build a working prototype too.  


University of Washington

Capstone Project

Both Computer Science and Engineering students and senior Mechanical Engineering students gain capstone experience by completing a capstone project. The capstone project is a group project, in the case for ME students, the group consists of three to five students, where supervision of the project is under a faculty member. The capstone project allows students to explore the challenges of designing and to learn to fully define a design problem.  







Northwestern University

Capstone Design

The capstone design project is for Civil or Environmental Engineering senior students. It is a group project, which develops student’s all-round skills such as communication skills, data gathering skills, and designing skills. 



Examples of Capstone Experiences in Australian Universities


Type of Capstone Experience


Supplementary Information

University of Melbourne

Capstone Course

The capstone course, “Electrical Engineering Capstone Project”, is taken by undergraduates and postgraduates of electrical engineering streams. Students enrolled in this course will need to integrate technical knowledge and generic skills they have acquired into the project.  Under the supervision of a faculty member or industry partner, the project will involve groups of two to three students


University of Queensland

Capstone Course

The capstone course, “Chemical Engineering ME Design Project”, will provide capstone experience for Master of Engineering (ME) students. Students will work in groups and decide on a project of their choice. The project will allow students to cover more specific and in-depth aspects on designing/modeling through the application of skills gained in ME level courses. Aspects of entrepreneurship, building a business case and funding mechanisms for engineering projects will be covered and applied in the project too.


University of South Australia

Capstone Course

The capstone course, “System Integration Project 2”, is for MEng (Military Systems Integration) students to gain capstone experience. Students are to work closely with their group members over a period of nine months. They will learn to identify resource requirements (i.e. hardware, software, and data) for generating and synthesizing a complex military/engineering system-of-systems problem by coming up with a competitive and integrated solution and put systems engineering principles into application.  



Examples of Capstone Experiences in UK Universities


Type of Capstone Experience


Supplementary Information

University of Oxford

Design Project

A design project “The Engineering Science Third Year Design Project” is opened to engineering science students and engineering, economics and management students in their third year of study. The design project is a group project with 4 to 5 students. It aims to give students an opportunity to gain insights and experience in engineering design. Students will be involved in the process of designing, making economic decisions, and allocating work load among group members. Visiting Professors of Engineering Design will participate and provide guidance and technical advice drawn from their industrial experience.     

(a) http://www.eng.ox.ac.uk/study-here/undergraduate/engineering-science

(b) http://www.eng.ox.ac.uk/study-here/undergraduate/engineering-science/year-3

University of Cambridge

Design Project

A design project “Integrated Design Project (IDP)” is taken by all second year engineering students (Electrical, Mechanical, and Software Engineering). Students are to work in teams (normally 6) to design, build, test and demonstrate an autonomous guided vehicle which has to perform a number of operations similar to those found in an automated factory.

(a) http://www.eng.cam.ac.uk/

(b) http://www.eng.cam.ac.uk/

Imperial College London

Design Project

MEng Civil Engineering students in their final term and third year of study will undertake a five week intensive group design project.  The scope of the project spans across a wide range of civil engineering fields.