Senior Project Sponsor Information
Mechanical Engineering and Interdisciplinary Projects
Cal Poly has long been known for its learn-by-doing approach. The senior project has been a capstone of the undergraduate experience throughout Cal Poly's history. That tradition continues through today in the Mechanical Engineering department.
There have been some changes in the way senior projects are conducted, however. In order to enhance student experiences, in 2006 the Mechanical Engineering changed from 2-quarter individual student projects to 3-quarter multi-student (3 or 4 per team) industry sponsored projects. This format allows students to develop team work and communication skills needed for today's workplace, as well as gaining valuable experience working with industry partners. We are lucky to have enough students (1000+) to accommodate such a course sequence. Using student teams also allows us to form multidisciplinary teams with students from other departments or colleges. Interdisciplinary projects are highly encouraged!
The senior project sequence is a full academic year (three quarters), offered Fall/Winter/Spring and Winter/Spring/Fall. Student teams are formed in the first two weeks of the first course and stay together for the whole year. The first quarter has the students using brainstorming, decision making and feasibility study techniques. It culminates in a formal design proposal. During the second quarter, students complete the design, submit a detailed design report, and start building their project. The third quarter is used to complete the building and test the project. A final report and design exposition are presented at the end of the course sequence. Throughout the year each student team has a faculty member that meets with them on a weekly basis guiding them on their project. For the technical specifics, the students work with their industry contact.
Because of our enrollment size, we need to have about 35 sponsored projects in early September and again in early January. You can see examples of past Cal Poly Mechanical Engineering department senior projects at http://me.calpoly.edu/cpr/senior-projects/. Does your organization have a project in mind in which you would consider having Cal Poly engineering students design, build and test for you?
If you are interested, the process to sponsor your project is simple:
First step: Submit your idea to us by clicking here http://me.calpoly.edu/partnering/propose-senior-project and completing the form.
Second step: Once we receive your form, we'll review your project idea with you to develop and fine tune the idea(s) to create the project.
Third step: We schedule a time for you to present your project to our seniors at Cal Poly during the first week of fall quarter (3rd week of September) or winter quarter (1st week of January). Presentations will be roughly 10 minutes.
Fourth step: Once the seniors have listened to all the proposed projects that are available for them to select, they are asked to identify the projects that most interest them. The teaching team then forms teams for each project based on the student interest and needed skills. Senior project teams are typically 2-4 students.
Fifth step: If your project is assigned to a team, we ask that you make a $2500 donation to offset technical support & supplies, travel, and materials for the students. If a project has more expensive needs we will ask the industry sponsor to pay those as well.
Lastly, once the teams are formed, over the next three quarters, your organization will be closely involved with the senior project team in the development of the final product.
This enriching experience is a unique opportunity to get involved with Cal Poly engineering seniors and to understand firsthand what makes Cal Poly students stand out among other applicants when it comes to employment.
Professor Joe Mello will lead the fall 2012 teams and can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org
Professor Peter Schuster will lead the winter 2013 teams and can be contacted at email@example.com
Intellectual property issues have successfully been handled in the past. The same holds true for non-disclosure. We hope to have your project on-board next year!
Have an idea for a project?
We're always looking for good projects for our students. Please use our online proposal form if you have a project you'd like to suggest.
What constitutes a good senior project?
If you are asking yourself what makes a good senior project for Cal Poly students please look at our
course learning outcomes as a guide.
- Understand Design as a process and apply this process to solve an open-ended, externally supplied engineering design problem.
- Work effectively on an engineering team.
- Develop, analyze and maintain an engineering project schedule using a Gantt chart and appropriate software.
- Use Quality Function Deployment (QFD) to evaluate customer requirements
- Formally define an engineering problem.
- Generate a specification document.
- Apply creative techniques to develop conceptual solutions.
- Apply structured decision schemes to select appropriate engineering concepts in a team environment.
- Design subsystems within constraints of strength, size, materials, performance, cyclic loading, etc.
- Bring a variety of engineering and physical sciences to bear effectively on design problems.
- Apply current industrial design practice and techniques such as DFX, FMEA, and/or TQM to engineering design problems.
- Construct and test prototype designs.
- Develop and implement a design verification plan and report.
- Communicate and present engineering design project results orally, graphically, and in writing
- Practice engineering professionalism and understand societal responsibility.
- Understand the ASME code of ethics and its implications in engineering practice.
- Take a position and present oral arguments on an open-ended topic.
Also keep in mind we want the students to design, build, and test their project. A project that is purely a paper design is not appropriate for the senior project. However, for more complicated builds, it is acceptable to provide advanced machining or fabrication for the students.