Capstone design is a two-semester course sequence for senior students in the Mechanical and Mechatronic Engineering programs. Students in the program take either MECH 440A & MECH 440B (mechanical) or MECA 440A & 440B (mechatronic), but the courses are taught with students from both majors combined into a single cross-listed course. The first semester (440A) is a three‑unit course that focuses on design.  Selected lecture topics include:

  • Overview of the design process
  • Customer requirements and specifications
  • Conceptual design
  • Decision making
  • Project planning
  • Project management
  • Cost estimating
  • Budgets
  • Documentation
  • Formal reports

The first semester has four major milestones: three oral presentations and the production of a comprehensive design report. The presentations occur after about five, nine, and fifteen weeks of the semester. Each group presents, and each team member must deliver a portion of the presentation. Presentation topics are:

Project Proposal

  • Student groups present their proposed projects, including project justification, customer requirements, and engineering specifications.

Preliminary Design Review

  • Groups present their finalist design concepts as well as the winning concept that will be developed into a final design solution.

Final Design Review

  • Students present their final detailed design solution for the project.

The second semester (either MECH or MECA 440B) is a three‑unit course that focuses on building and testing a prototype. Students spend less time in the classroom and more time building and testing their designs. The second semester has five major milestones:

Test Plan

  • Students generate a test plan that will be used to evaluate their designs against the engineering specifications developed early in the fall semester

Prototype Construction

  • Students are required to build what they design. This is often where they learn about the differences between models in SolidWorks and real parts produced in the machine shop.


  • Students execute the test plan developed in the early part of the semester, learning how well their design conformed to the specifications.

Final Design Presentation

  • Oral presentation summarizing the entire project from design to build to test

Final Design Report

  • Comprehensive documentation of the design, including analysis, working drawings, and test results

Design Expo

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