Senior Design Sponsorship
At MSOE, seniors from all engineering majors are required to complete a senior design experience. Each team takes a project from inception to completion over the course of one academic year.
Projects sponsored by external organizations may offer students a great experience. Students benefit from interacting with working professionals on a project with demonstrable business value. In addition, students may be exposed to a domain that is outside of their major. This generally enhances many aspects of the project experience.
The composition of the team is largely dependent of problem domain for the project. A team may consist of all SE or some combination of SE and other engineering students.
Team Size and Work Expectations
Teams typically consist of five students. Each student is expected to dedicate ten hours per week over the course of roughly 30 weeks.
Benefits to Sponsor
In addition to receiving a finished product at the end of the academic year, a sponsor can benefit in the following ways:
- Expose interesting problems from your organization to students about to enter the full-time job market.
- Expose students to new application domains that are of interest to your organization.
- Improve our educational product by providing feedback to us on things that we could be doing better.
- Establish stronger connections between your organization and MSOE.
- Gain a fresh perspective on the problem at hand through bright and creative students.
Commitments of Sponsor
It is difficult for a project to be successful if the sponsor is not actively involved. Therefore, it is critical that a sponsor commit to the following:
- Provide an initial project description.
- Remain engaged in the project, providing timely feedback and direction to the team.
- Act as the Product Owner.
- Provide any hardware, software, and/or financial support necessary for the completion of the project. Hardware and software can be provided as a donation to MSOE or as a loan for the duration of the project.
- Assess the completed project and provide documentation supporting your assessment to the senior design advisor.
- When appropriate, provide feedback to help improve our curriculum and the senior design experience.
It is important for students to be able to share their project and progress with their peers through presentations. Non-disclosure agreements can interfere with this goal. While it is possible to have the team sign a non-disclosure agreement if you need to disclose certain proprietary information to them, the agreement must be flexible enough for the team to present their project to the MSOE community and to retain copies of their own work products. Please consult an advisor for more information on this topic. In general, MSOE will not exert any IP rights unless extraordinary support is provided by MSOE.
Team formation generally occurs in April of the academic year preceding the senior design course sequence. Typically each team is self-formed and self-selects its project. If your organization has a project idea that would be appropriate as a senior design project and is able to make the commitments required for a sponsor, please send a one page summary of the project to Dr. Chris Taylor at npǝ˙ǝosɯ@ɹolʎɐʇ. Be sure to include contact information so that students interested in the project can contact you directly for further details.
Characteristics of a Good Project
- Projects have realistic computer-based solutions involving proven technologies.
- Projects contain multiple components, allowing concurrent design and subsequent integration into a final product with ample time for testing.
- Projects have multiple solutions that are acceptable to the customer. Building a pre-existing design does not make for a good project.
- Projects do not require development tools or instrumentation that MSOE does not possess and that the sponsor is unable to provide to the student team.
- Projects should be comparable to those given to an entry-level engineer. It is recommended that projects involving excessive proprietary material or that are in the critical path of the sponsor's business be avoided.