ME Capstone Senior Design



The mechanical engineering capstone design course, MAE 416, is a four-hour course students must take before they graduate. Several teams of four to five mechanical engineering seniors are assigned the same real world problem that is defined by an industry sponsor. Each team produces its own design solution that includes a working prototype. Typically, four to six working solutions are produced per class of 20 to 30 students. During this course students hone skills important to industry such as:

  • Design Skills
  • Fabrication Skills
  • Testing Skills
  • Communication Skills

Design Skills

Sponsors define a problem that students will solve using the skills they have developed in their previous course work. The design process used in the capstone course requires students to work in teams to generate feasible ideas and focus these ideas into a single concept. Initial designs are carefully modeled and analyzed using modern engineering tools. Sponsors interact with student teams to further improve their designs. Safety, cost and manufacturability are emphasized throughout the process.

Fabrication Skills

Upon completion of the design phase students build working prototypes. A well-equipped machine shop is available, and each student is trained on selected equipment to ensure safe operation. Students learn the value of good workmanship and the importance of tolerances.

Testing Skills

Students are required to develop a test program that ensures the prototype meets the design requirements specified by the sponsor. Data must be acquired and analyzed using statistical methods. Improvements to the prototype are incorporated when testing reveals problems.

Communications Skills

Students must be effective communicators. Several presentations and reports are required giving students a chance to improve their communication skills. How to Become a Sponsor

To learn how you can become a sponsor please contact the Department of Mechanical & Aerospace Engineering at 919.515.2365 or

Dr. Chau Tran
Course Coordinator, MAE 416

Examples of past ME Senior Design Projects