Senior Design Program

Capstone Senior Design Program

The College of Engineering, Computer Science, and Technology (ECST)  at California State University, Los Angeles (Cal State LA), invites corporate partners to join the ECST Capstone Senior Design Program. Through this program, corporate and university partnerships are established to provide highly engaging and relevant professional practice experiences for our engineering, technology, and computer science students. Click to view the ECST Capstone Senior Design flyer.

Capstone Senior Design Projects: ECST Capstone Senior Design Projects provide students with a capstone experience in which they apply their theoretical knowledge to real applications. The program engages students in an industry-defined problem, where students work with a real client (the company or industry partner) to solve a real problem. The result may be a physical prototype, software package, technical design, or operational algorithm. Regardless of project type, student teams are expected to meet the needs of their client, and deliver a product at the end of the academic year. Projects involve teams of four or five engineering/computer science, or technology students, a faculty advisor, and a technical liaison from the sponsoring company, working on a real customer problem for a full academic year.

Several elements make these projects like an actual work experience. First, the industrial partner specifies the open-ended problem. It is a real problem that needs to be solved. Second, the team is self managed by the students.  Although there is a faculty advisor, a technical liaison, and a recognized student team leader, each student has a leadership role and the responsibility to make sure the team functions well.  This simulates many work situations. 

The team interacts with the customer weekly as they plan the project to meet the goals set by the sponsor.  The team presents project plans and results with the industry liaison in the weekly meetings.  They negotiate solutions, timing and features. They react to changing information as the year progresses. The skills of negotiating, project planning, presenting, adjusting to changing conditions, and writing reports are all needed in the workplace, but often are not sufficiently taught to undergraduate engineers. At Cal State LA, our students complete their senior year ready to hit the ground running in a business environment.

Project Sponsors are required to provide funding for each project, and to identify an Executive Sponsor as well as a Technical Liaison to have weekly contacts with the team. Sponsors receive full use of the results and IP produced by their student team. Funding for each senior design project requires a minimum of $10,000, and funding can be arranged as either a philanthropic grant (preferred), a contract, or Affiliate partnership agreement.

Benefits of ECST Capstone Partnership

In ECST, the majority of our students will be the first person in their family to earn a college degree.  Our College is committed to providing opportunities for our students to interact with employers throughout their time on campus; we are also committed to providing excellent and well-prepared graduates. Our Capstone partners have the opportunity to establish relationships with a very talented, bright and motivated cohort of students, and to partner with Cal State LA to build the next generation technical workforce for California.

For more information, please contact Associate Director, Capstone Design Program, Michael Thorburn at mthorbu@calstatela.edu.
Visit us at www.calstatela.edu/ecst