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College of Engineering and Computing

  • Four mechanical engineering students present a drill prototype for their capstone design project.

Capstone Design Experience

The Capstone Design program is a required senior-level course for every College of Engineering and Computing student. Industry sponsors introduce their real-world challenges, which need attention and offer their support to prepare the next generation of engineering and computing professionals. Students form teams to combine theory and practice while gaining valuable experience.

Solve Your Real-World Challenges

When businesses sponsor a Capstone Design project, senior students provide access to fresh thinking that can solve challenging problems for businesses. Capstone student teams in each discipline work with faculty leaders to develop a project plan that clearly defines end-user and sponsor needs, design objectives, anticipates constraints, and ensures the project details, requirements, and metrics will lead to success. The teams continue through concept generation and selection, and design to produce a testable, working prototype that can be refined to meet the project objectives.


Industry Sponsor Benefits and Deliverables

Student-prepared work and findings can vary from program to program. Depending on the project, industry sponsors could expect to receive:

  • An opportunity to impact engineering and computing curricula
  • A detailed report capturing the design, analysis, performance and alternative approaches considered during the development and design of the project
  • Source code, where applicable, such as the actual drawings, prototype programming, performance analysis and simulation software. 
  • The physical prototype (solution, discovery, findings or model) developed by the project team, where applicable, upon completion of the use of the prototype by team members. (Some projects may be submitted to local, statewide, national or international competitions.)
  • Increased visibility in the field, recruitment tools and emerging engineering and computing professionals from which to recruit
  • Mobile, desktop or web applications or embedded systems built by our computing and engineering students using the latest techniques and platforms
  • Access to an annual publication that includes the top five projects from each degree program
  • An invitation to the annual Engineering and Computing Capstone Showcase, where all ECCD teams present and display their products, prototypes, findings and posters

Sponsor Responsibilities

  • Provide funding for the Capstone project. The amount of funding will depend on the company size and type of project
  • Appoint a practicing engineer or computing professional to serve as a sponsor advocate for the team. The sponsor advocate will work on the project, participate in design reviews, meet regularly with student teams, guide the project, and evaluate the final product

Intellectual Property

As part of a Capstone Design Project, students may contribute to the development of intellectual property, or require a confidentiality agreement or conflict disclosure. We help companies navigate these issues.

Under its general Intellectual Property (IP) policy, the University of South Carolina owns IP that is created by its faculty, staff or students in the scope of their work using University resources or using funding that flows through the University. However, the university recognizes that Capstone Design Projects are unique. 

As undergraduate students, Capstone Design Project students are not employees of the University, are not performing research under a research program, and are not receiving funding from the University. Therefore, USC does not claim an ownership interest in IP that is created during the Capstone Design Projects. 

By default, students will own IP that they create. Prior to the start of the project, sponsors may make a written request to own IP created during a Capstone Design Project that they fund. Students who prefer to retain ownership of the IP that they create may elect to work on projects where there is no outside sponsor or where the sponsor has not requested ownership.

A company may request students to enter into a confidentiality agreement in order for the company to participate and provide a project to the students. In certain circumstances this may be a reasonable request by the company. However, please be aware that the Capstone Design Expo is open to the public and that project information must be shared with other students and professors in the course to meet the course requirement.

Students should consider whether assigning IP rights or signing a confidentiality agreement for a capstone project would conflict with any other activity in which they are engaged. For example, if students or faculty are involved in a similar project as part of teaching or research activities, they might want to consider whether the capstone project would create a real or perceived conflict with the other activity. Questions or concerns about a potential conflict should be discussed with the coordinating professor.

Become an Industry Sponsor

For more information about the Capstone Design Experience or to become an industry sponsor, please contact Dr. Abdel Bayoumi, Associate Dean, at bayoumi@sc.edu or call 803-777-1845. 


Challenge the conventional. Create the exceptional. No Limits.

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