Senior Design Projects
At UW-Platteville, we pride ourselves on providing students with hands-on, practical experiences to prepare them for the workforce. Industry partners in the Tri-state area and beyond play a crucial role in accomplishing this objective. These opportunities come in the form of co-ops, internships, community engagement projects, and course projects including a senior design project.
Projects completed in a senior design course pair a group of students with an industry partner to solve real problems or create new products. The projects are supervised by an industry advisor and UW-Platteville faculty.
The students explore all aspects of the project, including creativity, analysis, synthesis, project management, scheduling, time management, engineering ethics, communication, product safety and liability, copyrights and patents, economics, and robust engineering. Typical projects last one semester—16 weeks—although other options are available.
The best projects have an engaged corporate partner that will act as the project client and will benefit from the work being performed. The scope of the project is important to establish such that the project can be completed within a semester.
Projects must have a significant design component and require analysis of the problem. Ideally, students will be able to engage in hands-on tests, experiments, or prototyping. At the end of the semester, the project team will deliver its final presentation to a diverse audience of stakeholders.
Senior design projects and class projects foster development of highly marketable skills that include:
- Active problem analysis: Students develop brainstorming, problem solving, and benchmarking skills.
- Design Analysis: Students design processes, standards, and experiments, and use leading CAD and analysis software.
- Innovation: Students gain exposure to intellectual property, patent, and copyright law essentials.
- Teamwork: Many of the students’ design projects are performed as a team and some involve interdisciplinary projects and teams. This experience of collaborative problem-solving, respectful interaction, and coordination to achieve a shared goal, allows engineers-to-be to develop important teamwork skills valued by employers.
- Strong communication skills: Students present their ideas in writing and in oral presentations and use graphic and multimedia tools in the design process to create project posters, presentation visuals, and reports.
- Project Management: Student project managers develop the organizational and people skills needed to build trust and communication among all of the project's members.
- Improved marketability: By having real-world engineer responsibilities, students improve their marketability in the workforce upon graduation.
- Work with a potential employer: Throughout the experience, students are exposed to the client’s products, engineering practices, and work culture, allowing them to learn more about how to work with a potential employer.
Program Specific Senior Design
Each discipline provides their students with a capstone or senior design course in which they practice the skills they have learned while applying those skills to an open-ended problem. At UW-Platteville, engineering disciplines include the following:
- Civil and Environmental Engineering
- Engineering Physics
- Electrical Engineering
- Industrial Engineering
- Mechanical Engineering
- Software Engineering
- Sustainability and Renewable Energy Systems
Senior Design Open House
The Senior Design Open House is a showcase for our engineering senior design projects. It is held every semester on the Wednesday of finals week and is open to the public. Everyone is invited to attend to support the teams, learn more about engineering and its disciplines, and learn more about the UW-Platteville program.
Typically, teams from mechanical engineering, industrial engineering, engineering physics, software engineering, and sustainability and renewable energy systems will give formal presentations during the open house. In addition, students from the civil and environmental engineering program will display project posters throughout the welcome area and halls of the Markee Pioneer Student Center.
Sponsor a Project
For companies looking for ways to engage with UW-Platteville engineering students, build brand recognition, and gain new perspectives on design challenges, sponsoring a senior design project provides an excellent opportunity. By sponsoring a project, your company can provide real-world challenges for our students that help them realize their potential as a new engineer.
In general, donations made to senior design and other sponsored projects support the College of Engineering, Mathematics and Science. More specifically, these donations make it possible to offer our students more hands-on experiences through prototyping materials, facilities, and staff. While some funds do remain with the senior design program, they also are used to support more of these types of experiences earlier in the curriculum.
For a more detailed discussion and to work through the process of sponsoring a project team, contact Jessica Fick, Senior Design Coordinator, at 608.342.7128 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Design a Project
For companies seeking to create a senior design project, a good rule of thumb for an entry-level project would be to choose something that you might assign to a new engineer that requires two to three weeks of continuous work. This seems to be appropriate for a team that is learning to work together on a realistic problem while balancing other coursework.
Typically, senior design courses occur in all disciplines, except Software Engineering, and are semester-long, or 16 weeks. We find that many projects are interdisciplinary and are rarely entirely mechanical or entirely industrial or electrical, but rather require that students pull from an array of skills. We can work with you to find the best fit or form an interdisciplinary student team.
Projects are assigned to teams in the first week of the semester, which is typically the first week of September for the fall semester, and the third week of January for the spring semester. We prefer that projects be lined up at least two weeks before the start of the semester, but we will usually continue to accept project proposals until the first day of classes, when possible.
If you have a project idea that would be better suited to a longer time frame, we have the ability to form the team early and begin research and design during the previous semester.
For questions about designing a project, contact Jessica Fick, Senior Design Coordinator, at 608.342.7128 or email email@example.com.
Thank You to Our Sponsors
A special thank you to our sponsors!
Unison Solutions, S&S Cycle, American Transmission Company, Design Specialties, Esterline Avista, Extreme Engineering Solutions, Free Choice Enterprises, AY McDonald, Klauer Manufacturing, Vollrath, Fives Giddings and Lewis, Vortex Optics, BCI Burke, Matthews Archery, Innovative Waste Solutions, Pierce Manufacturing, Darrow Productions, MGA Research, Mead and Hunt