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Senior design information for sponsors

We welcome senior design project proposals from industry!

Senior design projects present significant benefits for industry sponsors. Student teams investigate industry-proposed questions and provide fresh insights and problem solutions. Previous senior design projects have involved partner organizations — large and small — from across the Pacific Northwest, including Starbucks, Genie Industries, and UW Medicine.

Project requirements

Before you propose a project, make sure the topic and scope are suitable for consideration.

Projects should involve a wide range of the following industrial engineering skills. The students assigned to your project will apply their knowledge of these skills to properly measure and define the problem then propose their solution.

  • Computer programming
  • Simulation
  • Manufacturing
  • Lean principles or process improvement
  • Human factors engineering or ergonomics
  • Optimization modeling
  • Queueing theory
Recommended project topics:
  • Supply chain
  • Service industry
  • Transportation
  • Manufacturing
  • Healthcare
Project skill set
Project team size
Projects should be appropriate for teams of 4 to 6 students.
Project scope
Projects should be of sufficient complexity to occupy the student team for the two-quarter course sequence.

Sponsor involvement

The sponsoring organization must provide a technical mentor to work with the project team. This mentor should be available to answer student questions throughout winter and spring quarters. The mentor will help guide the project scope, provide data, and ensure that the deliverable will meet the company’s expectations. Industry mentors can freely contact the faculty adviser, Patty Buchanan, with questions, concerns, or comments throughout the quarters.

Project duration
The senior design course sequence takes place over winter and spring quarters. During the first week of winter quarter, students attend a project fair where they will be assigned to your project.
Winter quarter involvement
Mentors must keep in contact with their project teams every other week at a minimum.
Spring quarter involvement
Mentors should expect to work with their teams one hour per week. This time commitment can vary based on project needs.
Project Showcase
Mentors will attend the final senior design Project Showcase at end of spring quarter. During the Showcase, students present their posters, and the top projects receive awards. Project sponsors have the opportunity to visit other project teams and ask the students questions about their projects.
Meeting location
Teleconference meetings work well. Students can visit the sponsor site if needed, and site visits are valuable to provide students with the whole picture, but they are not mandatory.

Intellectual property

A standardized agreement for IP rights has been developed by the College of Engineering and the Washington State Attorney General’s Office. Currently, we have a single structure for IP. Students and the UW will grant the sponsor a non-exclusive royalty free (NERF) right to project intellectual property for any purpose. Specifically, the company, the students, and any faculty involved in the project are all granted the freedom to use the inventions that came from the project at no cost.

Participation cost

The participation cost is $15,000. These funds are used to offset project costs and administrative support for the program.

Non-profit and government organizations should contact Jill Kaatz, at, for information about participation cost.

Proposal process

Proposal deadline
You must submit your proposal by September 29 to be considered.
Notification of selection
Project sponsors should expect to hear whether their project was selected within approximately one week.
Proposal review
Project proposals are reviewed by Jill Kaatz, the director of the Industry Capstone Program, and Patty Buchanan, the faculty capstone adviser. The proposal will be reviewed to determine if the project can be completed within the two-quarter time line and to ensure that the topic is a relevant.

Proposal submission

Submit a Project Proposal

Send completed project proposal to Jill Kaatz at