The College of Engineering is proud to sponsor Senior Capstone Innovation Day, held in the spring of each year, and featuring student projects from all five departments: Chemical and Materials Engineering, Civil and Environmental Engineering, Computer Science and Engineering, Electrical and Biomedical Engineering, and Mechanical Engineering.
Senior capstone projects represent innovative engineering products designed by teams of undergraduate students during the course of their senior year. Innovation Day features posters, presentations and demonstrations of student projects.
For more information please contact Indira Chatterjee at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Submit a project idea
Many of our capstone courses encourage students to develop projects in coordination with local community and industry partners. Past projects have included developing technology for area schools, designing assistive devices for local individuals with disabilities, and creating or refining products for local industry.
If you have a project you'd like a team of engineering students to consider, please fill out the form below. Submitted projects will be reviewed by capstone course instructors.
Capstone project requirements
Please review the project requirements listed below before submitting your project idea. Please also review our guidelines for sponsored capstone projects.
I welcome the opportunity to work with local and regional industry. At the University of Nevada, Reno, we strive to create an enriching capstone course in the chemical engineering program. Our goals are to provide students with a challenge in which they generate an innovative solution to a realistic chemical engineering problem. The course (ChE 482) will guide them through generating design inputs, design output, cost estimation and regulatory issues. In doing so, students will experience typical industry challenges including working as a team, developing iterative designs, building prototypes if necessary, and measuring physical or chemical properties as needed. Students leave the course prepared to enter into design engineering roles in many process industries.
When industry sponsors a chemical engineering team, both the company and team will benefit. The company will have an opportunity to observe senior students working outside the scope of an intern role. They will work through a problem, develop a solution, complete a design, and evaluate the design in light of numerous constraints to determine if their design inputs meet their design requirements. The students will interact with the company as they would with a customer, providing the students a realistic design experience.
Companies gain a closer relationship with our department at the University of Nevada, Reno. They will have an opportunity to better understand the scope of the chemical and materials engineering department, and its breadth of resources and expertise. Further, they will have the opportunity to observe engineering students immediately prior to graduation and are well poised to recruit.
The intent is to offer as many as eight externally sponsored projects to the teams. For the current 2018/2019 academic year, the course will likely have eight teams. The bulk of the design experience will be done during the spring semester, starting in January 2019. The semester ends in May, and culminates in an open house for the College of Engineering at which the students display their accomplishments. Students will have an opportunity to select a project in December 2018 so that they can start the project in January and hit the ground running.
A company will have a loosely-formed technical problem to be solved. They will provide a mentor to work with the group of four to five students throughout the spring semester, January through April. Any project offered should be challenging, intriguing and realistic. It should not be mundane or on the level of busy work that is normally assigned to an engineering intern. I will work with you, if you like, to define the scope of the project to make it feasible.
The mentor will meet with the design team on a periodic basis. This may be frequent (every other week) or less frequent, but I hope for at least two opportunities for interaction. The meetings might be in person or by virtual meeting space. The mentor will oversee the development of the design inputs and offer such specification requirements such as budget, performance and usability requirements. The mentor will continue with the team from the onset of the project to its completion. The mentor will be invited to attend all formal presentations given by the team and will be asked to approve key documents. At the end of the term, the mentor is requested to provide written feedback to the instructor on the quality of the students’ final project.
The mentor can be involved in all phases of the project but should stay in an advisory capacity. They can offer constructive guidance to keep the project moving towards the intended goal. Providing the students with customer expectations will give the team a valuable design experience. They should not solve problems for the team as problem solving is one of the tenets of the course.
A wide range of projects are possible, and chemical engineering includes numerous technical subjects. Projects may include reactions, separations, mixing, etc. An ideal project has a “real world” flavor and is something that you would work on in your company, if you had sufficient band width. Specifying constraints is an important part of determining the project scope and provides a dimension to the project that most students haven’t previously experienced. The project should require approximately 200 hours of design work to include concept generation, modeling, measurements, design of unit operations and cost estimation.
By completing the design project, student will provide not only a conceptual design, but will also specify operating conditions, a flow sheet, a simulation (when appropriate), a HAZOP analysis and an economic analysis. Some projects may require determining specific physical properties, or a prototype.
The company will provide financial support for any required experiments and for costs of fabrication. The team’s budget will be tracked by the team and the sponsoring company. Students may not be compensated for their labor (see IP section for further information). Externally sponsored projects typically have total costs less than $2,000, and zero cost is typical. However, a company is not limited in the monetary amount with which they may be willing to support the student team. The company may offer, at the discretion of its management, use of company facilities for the team to complete their design.
It would be ideal to include at least one site visit to provide students with the “setting.” Many students haven’t seen industrial sites, and this can be a valuable part of the experience.
If the company wants students to travel further than 25 miles from the University, the company will need to cover all the travel expenses.
Students are required to give a formal presentation revealing details of their projects. The audience may include other companies sponsoring student teams. The students will be publishing information on a website regarding the project. Companies are discouraged from disclosing confidential information. Further details are provided in a separate document.
The University has policies regarding the intellectual property developed by undergraduate students. All IP is the property of the students unless otherwise agreed upon. The company can make other arrangements at the onset of the project but need to make those arrangements known in writing prior to engaging a team. A company may also offer compensation to the students with an intention to own the IP at the conclusion of the project, but those negotiations must take place after the semester has concluded.
The University has developed a formal policy regarding confidentiality and intellectual property.
The University is steward over a large number of academic licensed software available to the students. This software includes Solidworks, Matlab, ChemCad, MathCad, and Minitab etc. The academic licenses preclude use for commercial purposes and the files are often water marked with "academic use only" tags. Use of files generated by the design teams for application in industry can result in serious charges and fines to the University and to the company. If a company wishes to make use of such files in the future, they should supply the students with access to commercial licenses of these software applications.
Should the occasion arise in which the company and the student team are in irresolvable conflict, both parties should contact the instructor for mediation. The instructor will balance the needs of the company, the students and the University to arrive at resolution.
I hope that these requirements and guidelines are helpful in communicating expectations and can provide for smooth experience during the four-month project time line.
Chuck Coronella, Ph.D., P.E.
Associate Professor of Chemical Engineering
Civil & environmental engineering
In the fall semester during CEE 426, student form design teams of two to four students, identify faculty advisors and external PE mentors, and develop a detailed project proposal. In the spring semester , students complete their design project during CEE 427.
Even though project ideas are chosen by the students in the fall semester, project submissions for civil and environmental engineering are welcome at any time.
Selection of design project topic
Based on the academic, technical, and professional interests and ambitions of individual team members, all team members should actively participate to formulate conceptual ideas for possible design projects. Teams are encouraged to meet with the course instructors, CEE faculty members, and practicing professional engineers to discuss the suitability of and obtain feedback about potential project ideas. Projects should be realistic and practical. They should include the typical elements of actual engineering design projects from conceptual design and preliminary design (completed in CEE 426) and ending with detailed design (completed in CEE 427).
Ideally, the design project will provide an appropriate solution to a real engineering problem.
Design projects must incorporate at least two of the following sub-disciplinary elements:
- Traffic impact study
- Geometric design
- Pavement design
- Structural design
- Geotechnical design
- Water quality assessment
- Water and wastewater treatment systems
- Water resources engineering
Larger teams are expected to incorporate more sub-disciplinary elements in their design projects.
Computer science & engineering
The senior projects in CSE go over the sequence of courses CS 425 Software Engineering (fall semester) and CS 426 Senior Projects in Computer Science (spring semester). In fall a prototype is built following the phases and deliverables indicated below, and in the spring the project is further developed to a full implementation (phases and deliverables are also detailed below).
Between September 1 and September 30 of each year the project teams (each of 3 or 4 students) must be formed and the project topics must be selected. The topics selected or proposed by students have to be approved by course instructors by around October 15.
The student teams may select topics from those presented by invited speakers/potential sponsors (from industry, businesses, and academia) during the month of September, or may propose their own topics. Each team must have between 1 and 3 external advisors (that is, these are not the course instructors), to be decided by the end of October. Interested potential external advisors/sponsors are invited to present suggested project topics (of about 10 to 15 minutes for a speaker or a company) during lectures held in September.
- Project teams will be made up of 3 to 4 students that are in senior or junior standing majoring in computer science and engineering
- Based on past experiences, company sponsored projects may require approximately 900 to 1200 hours of student work per team (this includes design, implementation, testing, writing documentation, and preparing presentations)
- Projects that need an NDA may be proposed, but we would prefer to avoid students signing an NDA to avoid potential issues with faculty code reviews and public project presentations
- Project sponsors should commit to remain with the project and be available for consultation throughout the entire cycle of the student project (August 2018 to May 2019). This is expected to require 1 to 2 hours per week of involvement.
A special inter-disciplinary class for senior electrical engineering students on innovation and entrepreneurship
In this class, students are expected to develop their engineering skills, judgment, perseverance, and determination in solving the problems and completing their projects in a timely manner. Completing the project and the technical report in all their details is a sine-qua-non condition for succeeding in this class.
The students will work in a group/company with no more than 5 persons and no less than 3 persons in each group/company. Each company will choose an original project and will build that product. The students in each company will be involved in project management, technical design and proof of concept demonstration of the product.
Upon completion of this course:
- Students will be able to explain relationship between invention, innovation, and entrepreneurship
- Students will be able to develop a business plan for commercializing a product subject to intellectual property protection and technology transfer laws
- Students will be able to evaluate the ethical issues involved in the business plans and products, then present their findings
- Students will be able to present business plan to their peers
- Students will be able to transform the business idea to a product
- Students will be able to implement, document, and present a design plan
- Students will be able to prepare and present project report
Materials science & engineering
During the fall semester, materials science & engineering students review background information for their design project. The experimental portion of the project is completed during the spring semester.
In 2018-2019, the design topic focused on providing hands-on experiences to students in relating bulk (macro) mechanical testing to micro-scale mechanical testing, which is an emerging field and is currently of great interest to research and industrial communities.
The Mechanical Engineering Department at the University of Nevada Reno strives to create an enriching capstone course for the seniors in the program. Our goals are to provide students with a challenge in which they generate an innovative solution to a problem. The course will guide them through generating design inputs, design output, verification and validation, and a brief introduction to manufacturing. This is taught in a four phase design control environment based on ISO 9000 standards. In doing so, students will experience typical industry challenges including working as a team, developing designs and drawings in CAD, building their projects, and finally testing them. Students leave the course prepared to enter design engineering roles in almost any industry.
When industry sponsors a mechanical engineering team, both the company and team will benefit. The company will have an opportunity to observe senior students working outside the scope of an intern role. They will work through a problem, develop a solution, complete a design, build the design, and test it to determine if their design inputs meet their design outputs.
Companies also gain a closer relationship with the mechanical engineering department at the University of Nevada, Reno, which is one of the fastest growing programs in the country. They will have an opportunity to better understand the scope of the mechanical engineering department and its capabilities.
A company will have a loosely formed problem to be solved. They will offer an engineering mentor to work with the group of four to five students throughout both the fall and spring terms. Any project offered should be challenging and intriguing. It should not be mundane or on the level of busy work that is normally assigned to an engineering intern.
The mentor will work with them on a periodic basis not less than twice a month. They will oversee the development of the design inputs and offer such specification requirements such as budget, performance, and usability requirements. The mentor will continue with them from the onset of the project to its completion. The mentor will be invited and encouraged to attend all formal presentations given by the team. The mentor will often be required to approve key documents. The team will be required to take detailed meeting minuets from mentor meetings.
The project will be primarily mechanical in nature. Some projects will require PLC/CPU control to include electrical wiring, positioning systems, sensors, etc. While these are within the scope of what is expected of mechanical engineering students, it is advised that they make up no more than 30% of the overall project. The project should require approximately 200 hours of design work per student and include concept generation, analysis and modeling, drawings, and a physical deliverable to be built. The project should require approximately 150 hours of build time to include machining, welding, building, and trouble shooting.
The mentor can be involved in all phases of the project, but should stay solely in an advisor role. They can offer constructive guidance to keep the project moving towards the intended goal. They should not solve problems for the team as problem solving is one of the tenants of the course.
The company will offer financial support of the project by the means of materials and supplies purchased and support of machining/welding/fabricating/finishing operations. The team’s budget will be tracked by the team and the sponsoring company. It is expected that students will not be compensated for their labor (see IP section for further information). Externally sponsored projects typically cost $2,500 and have not exceeded $5,000. However, a company is not limited in the monetary amount with which they may be willing to support the student team.
If the company requires that the students travel further than the company location (i.e. to another facility out of state), the company will need to fund said travel.
The student’s activities in the course will include formal presentations revealing details of their projects. The audience to these presentation is not controlled and may include other companies sponsoring student teams. The students will also be publishing information on a website regarding the project. If a project requires confidentiality, by nature of the academic environment, it will be impossible to maintain said confidentiality.
Please refer to the University's Intellectual Property Guidelines.
The University is steward over a large number of academic licensed software available to the students. This software includes Solidworks, Matlab, and Minitab to name a few. These software applications cannot be used for commercial purposes and the files are often water marked with "academic use only" tags. Use of files generated on these academic application in industry can result in serious charges and fines. The University will not condone this activity. If a company wishes to make use of such files in the future, they should supply the students with access to commercial licenses of these software applications.
Should the occasion arise in which the company and the student team are in unresolvable conflict, both parties should contact the instructor for mediation. The instructor will balance the needs of both the company, the students, and the University to arrive at resolution. Said resolution will be binding.
I hope that these requirements and guidelines are helpful in communicating expectations and can provide for smooth experience during the eight-month project time line.
The submission deadline for 2018-2019 has passed.