The Design Experience

Design is an essential element of engineering. Project management is what makes a good design become a prototype and ultimately a tool that works.

Toward the end of their degree, B.E. students enroll in a two-term capstone design sequence. These projects focus on engineering design, project management, and project completion. Working in teams of 3 or 4, they choose projects that industries have submitted to Thayer School's Cook Engineering Design Center (CEDC).

Engineering Design Methodology

In the design sequence (ENGS 89/90), students select a problem and collaborate with their industry sponsor to solve it. The entire process, which covers two 10-week terms, involves all the elements of the design process from problem definition to the industry application and includes feasibility studies, decision making, economic analysis, prototyping, and often final implementation.

Lectures by experts on entrepreneurship, ethics, and legal issues are part of each course. At several points in each term, students practice their presentation skills before a review board of engineering professionals.

The final product—a hardware prototype or a software program or a manufacturing process—is delivered to the industry partner at the end of the second term.

Recent projects demonstrate the range of possibilities for student work.