ISD Capstone

Setting ideas into action.

A requirement for every ISD Master of Engineering (M.Eng.) student, the graduate-level Capstone Project Course (ISD 503) is an excellent opportunity for students to gain real-world experience while applying what they have learned in their studies. Companies and entrepreneurs support our program by identifying open-ended engineering challenges or industry problems for our students to work on alongside professionals—generating ideas towards finding a solution to these problems.  

Working as an individual or a team, this one- or two-semester-long project (depending on scope) gives students the chance to apply what they have learned from their M.Eng. program while companies benefit from graduate students contributing new ideas and knowledge to high priority engineering and technical issues. 

Students are matched with projects based on their background, interests, and strengths. University of Michigan engineering faculty are selected to advise students based upon their technical expertise and ability to guide the students throughout the applied project. Projects can be conducted year-round in fall, winter, and spring/summer terms.

Interested? Have questions? Submit your project ideas or questions to our Experiential Learning Coordinator, Amy Hortop, today

Capstone Details

How it works.

  • Projects generally range from three to six months (over 1 or 2 semesters), and depend on the scope defined by the Sponsor
  • Internship is expected to be paid, but can be unpaid in exceptional cases
  • Participation requires monthly interaction by the company host with student(s) as possible
  • Sponsors may require Intellectual Property and Non-Disclosure Agreements from students as a condition for working on a project

Examples of topic areas/projects:

Product Design

  • Uncover the financial implications of a design in the technical specifications of a product
  • Integrate human factors in the design of an electric motorcycle

Smart Structures

  • Reduce airframe generated noise in jets
  • Reduce cruise drag to reduce fuel consumption on take-off and landings
  • Next generation of highly-sensitive diagnosis and structural health monitoring techniques


  • Life cycle product design optimization

Health Systems

  • ICU Hospital bed of the future

Benefits to company hosts.

  • Achieve cost avoidance/savings
  • Gain access and exposure to expert faculty and students at U-M
  • Evaluate talent and possible future hires
  • Make progress towards organizational goals, continuous improvements, and critical innovations

Projects come from a variety of sources. We’re thankful to our company sponsors.

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