Capstone Senior Design is an opportunity for students to integrate their curricular and experiential journeys into a multi-semester team project.

The course applies the engineering sciences to the design of a system, component or process. The projects reflect practical industrial and mechanical engineering design projects or may involve a combination of both disciplines. Students choose the particular design project with approval of appropriate faculty. Design teams are organized. Each project includes the use of open-ended problems, development and use of design methodology, formulation of design problem statements and specification, consideration of alternative solutions, feasibility consideration and detailed system descriptions. It also includes realistic constraints (such as economic factors and social impact).

Capstone projects are often sponsored by outside clients, and ambitious teams have followed up with our Center for Research Innovation to pursue their ventures post-graduation.

Victoria Asman shares her experience with the MIE Capstone course.

Sponsor a Project

The breadth of engineering challenges, both ME and IE, reflect the diversity of the project sponsors. Our sponsors, both corporate and non-profits, range from the aerospace industry to biomedical and regional hospitals. Department faculty sponsor projects for related to their research interests and for custom equipment for their research labs and, increasingly, students enter the program bringing their own sophisticated projects.

In many respects, our project sponsors are the life blood of the program. They bring current real world problems to the students and expect real solutions. Sponsors want to know the patent searches will be done and that intellectual property rights have been considered and protected.

The project sponsors must provide a contact person and are expected to provide timely feedback and interactions. The project should include a prototype deliverable or implemented solution. A “not for work” grant to be negotiated and expensive required items for the prototype are requested from the sponsor. Northeastern will provide computer simulation and basic machining processes. It is usually for the corporate sponsor and Capstone Design Coordinator to discuss and negotiate the details of this arrangement. Protection of the sponsor’s intellectual property is a major concern throughout this process.

At the beginning of the two semester sequence, the students self-assemble into groups and, after reviewing project descriptions, indicate their preferences. The preferences are used to assign the projects. Once projects are assigned, the students meet with their faculty advisor weekly and with representatives of the sponsor, through onsite visits, Skype or teleconferences, on a basis determined by the sponsor. The evaluation and reporting processes are tightly structured. The program culminates with a day long series of public presentations judged by a panel of our alumni.

ADMET, IncJohnson & Johnson Vision Care
Alternative Fuel FoundationJola Venture
AmeriCorpsJoule Unlimited, Inc.
Ametek AerospaceKonarka, Inc.
Applied Biosystems, Inc.Mac-Gray Inc.
Baystate Benefits ServiceMalden Mills
Beth Israel Deaconess Medical CenterMcClellan Automotive
BJ’s Wholesale Inc.MobilLaurus
Boston YMCANatioanl Braille Press
Boys and Girls Club of BostonNASA Ames Research Center
Brigham and Woman’s HospitalNuVant Energy Systems, Inc.
Chemical Engineering Department, NortheasternQinetiQ North America
Children’s HospitalRevere Graphics Worldwide, Inc.
CSR EngineeringRobert Bosch Corporation
Delta AirlinesSouth Shore YMCA
DSM Thermoplastic Elastomers, Inc.Spaulding Rehabilitation Hospital
Emplot+AbilitySpectral Sciences, Inc.
Foster Miller Inc.Staples
General Motors CorporationStrong Woman Strong Girls Inc.
Harvard UniversityTyco Valves
Harvard Medical School, Technology and Engineering CenterVeterans Health Administration
Harvard Vanguard MEdical AssociatesWaters Corporation
Instron CorporationXandex Corporation
Pei Biorn-Hansen, left, and Kristin Ropiak, both mechanical engineering students, works on their capstone project in the Forsyth building capstone lab