Senior Capstone Projects

OSC bachelor's degree students take two semesters of Interdisciplinary Engineering Design Program, in which they work in cross-disciplinary teams to solve industry-sponsored real-world design problems. Each May, just before classes end, students showcase their projects at UA's Engineering Design Day.

In addition to the College of Optical Sciences, participating programs and departments include:

The Senior Capstone Project

Students are divided into teams of three to six students from several engineering departments. Each team works on a project from September to May, proceeding through requirements definition, conceptual design, detailed design and analysis, and finally to implementation and testing.

An industry mentor meets weekly with each team, who proceed to write a monthly status report and create a project website with all of their documentation. Teams also conduct design reviews and write reports at key milestones. During the course of the projects, teams have access to a wide array of resources at UA including electrical benches, a machine shop, wind tunnels, computer simulation and modeling software, materials testing equipment, rapid prototyping, optical labs, and a wide range of expertise provided by UA's faculty members.

At the end of the year, teams showcase their product prototype at UA's Engineering Design Day where each project is judged and the very best receive awards. OSC students have participated in a number of award-winning projects.

Industry Sponsorship

While giving students experience with a real-world design project that involves budgets and deadlines, the projects also benefit industry sponsors by providing them with custom-designed engineering solutions and valuable experimental data.

Sponsor costs are deliberately kept low: $5,000 per project, $2,000 of which goes to the student budget and $3,000 of which goes to support the interdisciplinary design program and administrative costs. For projects requiring additional funding for materials, students will make a proposal to the sponsor in December with and without cost constraints. Sponsors have the option of providing additional funding to the team.

Past sponsors have included some of the most innovative companies in the U.S. such as Arete Associates, Axometrics, BAE Systems, Edmund Optics, NASA, Raytheon Missile Systems, Siskiyou and SunRISE Solar Engineering.


For more information about becoming involved with the senior capstone project, please contact Kaye Rowan, director of development, at or 520-626-8754.

For more information about Engineering Design Day, including photos and previous winners, please visit the College of Engineering's website