Capstone Senior Design (Capstone) is the final required course for the Bachelor’s degree; it provides the opportunity for students to integrate their curricular and experiential journeys into a multi-semester team project with a real-world outcome.

The Capstone experience applies the engineering sciences and other knowledge domains to the design of a system, component, product, process, and/or set of research inquiries. The Capstone projects reflect current, practical, and relevant industrial and mechanical engineering design projects or may involve a combination of both disciplines. Students bid for or develop their team’s particular design project with the approval of appropriate faculty.  In the project assignment process, design teams are self-formed, or configured of students with similar interest areas. Each project includes the use of open-ended problems, development and application of research and design methodologies, formulation of design problem statements and specifications, generation and consideration of alternative solutions, along with safety, usability and feasibility considerations, and detailed system descriptions. It also includes realistic constraints such as economic factors, sustainability, along with global and social impact, to name a few.  Throughout the Capstone experience, students are also challenged to think and act as a ‘team’ and to consider how notions of diversity, equity, inclusion, and belonging affect their decisions, actions, and results.

Capstone projects are often sponsored by outside clients, including early-stage ventures arising from NU’s Entrepreneurial Ecosystem.  Sometimes, ambitious student-proposed technical ideas can (and have) become startup ventures themselves.

Mechanical and Industrial Engineering Capstone Day Spring 2022

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, Inc Johnson & Johnson Vision Care
Alternative Fuel Foundation Jola Venture
AmeriCorps Joule Unlimited, Inc.
Ametek Aerospace Konarka, Inc.
Applied Biosystems, Inc. Mac-Gray Inc.
Baystate Benefits Service Malden Mills
Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center McClellan Automotive
BJ’s Wholesale Inc. MobilLaurus
Boston YMCA Natioanl Braille Press
Boys and Girls Club of Boston NASA Ames Research Center
Brigham and Woman’s Hospital NuVant Energy Systems, Inc.
Chemical Engineering Department, Northeastern QinetiQ North America
Children’s Hospital Revere Graphics Worldwide, Inc.
CSR Engineering Robert Bosch Corporation
Delta Airlines South Shore YMCA
DSM Thermoplastic Elastomers, Inc. Spaulding Rehabilitation Hospital
Emplot+Ability Spectral Sciences, Inc.
Foster Miller Inc. Staples
General Motors Corporation Strong Woman Strong Girls Inc.
Harvard University Tyco Valves
Harvard Medical School, Technology and Engineering Center Veterans Health Administration
Harvard Vanguard MEdical Associates Waters Corporation
Instron Corporation Xandex Corporation
iRobot Zipcar
Pei Biorn-Hansen, left, and Kristin Ropiak, both mechanical engineering students, works on their capstone project in the Forsyth building capstone lab