The Donald Bren School of Information and Computer Sciences offers a team-oriented capstone project, also known as a senior design course, for undergraduate students in Computer Science, Informatics, and Statistics, as well as for graduate students in Master of Computer Science, Master of Data Science, Master of Human-Computer Interaction and Design, and Master of Software Engineering programs. This final project provides an opportunity for students to apply their project-management and problem-solving skills in a collaborative environment. By working on a real-world problem proposed and mentored by partners from various organizations, students gain hands-on design experience and prepare for the professional world.
Capstone teams typically consist of 4-6 students who work an average of X hours a week under the guidance of a corporate mentor and a UCI faculty advisor. The corporate mentor serves as the technical point of contact for the company, while the faculty advisor offers academic support. This arrangement allows students to work in an industry-like environment and receive valuable coaching from both industry and academic perspectives.
During the project students must:
- Determine the customer’s needs and gather project specifications and requirements
- Conduct research and create preliminary designs
- Write a proposal for the company and present a preliminary design report
- Develop a final design, prototype, and perform testing and validation
- Prepare all project documentation for the company
- Present a final oral and poster presentation at their respective capstone event
- Gain practical experience from real world challenges provided by our capstone partners
- Improve your project management, problem-solving, teamwork, communication, and leadership skills
- Develop a broader perspective and learn from peers with diverse background and knowledge
- Expand your professional network
- Enhance your employability
- Access opportunities for internships or employment recruitment by company sponsors
When participating in a UCI capstone project, students should:
- Plan to commit ample time to the project, as they will be tackling real and challenging problems. Teams can expect to dedicate X number of hours per week to the project
- Maintain a flexible schedule, as they will need to attend meetings with corporate mentors and faculty advisors outside of class hours
- Regularly communicate with their mentors and plan a structured agenda for weekly meetings, including publishing meeting minutes
- Be punctual and meet all deadlines, treating the project as a professional opportunity that could lead to job prospects
- Collaborate effectively with their team to produce high-quality work
- Act professionally and represent UCI with integrity when interacting with corporate mentors
During the capstone term, students are expected to provide the following, but not limited to:
- Technical documentation, including reports outlining the project’s goals, methods, and results.
- Design specifications and drawings detailing the technical aspects of the project, such as schematics and blueprints.
- Creation of functional prototypes, computer programs, and simulation models to demonstrate the project’s feasibility and performance.
- A final report and presentation that summarizes the project’s outcomes, including any challenges faced, lessons learned, and recommendations for future work.
- Results of testing and evaluations performed to ensure the project meets the desired specifications and functions as intended.