Partner With ISD

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Become an Industry Partner and Sponsor Student Capstone Projects

All Integrative Systems + Design (ISD) Master of Engineering (MEng) and Master of Science (MS) students are required to complete an industry sponsored graduate-level Capstone Project toward fulfillment of their degree. Through this process, ISD students gain valuable and relevant industry experience while applying what they learned in their academic program toward open-ended engineering challenges or industry problems. Past projects have focused on a wide range of critical topics, including Systems/Product/Process design and development, continuous improvement, warranty reduction, predictive analytics, user experience, sustainability, energy systems, smart manufacturing, battery systems, electrification, and automotive engineering.

Project Sponsors, ISD Students, and Program Benefits

ISD welcomes industry sponsors to submit project proposals or discuss ideas about potential projects. Typically, sponsors integrate these projects as part of an internship or research opportunity for ISD master’s students. These students typically have post undergraduate work experience from a variety of industries and have completed approximately 18 academic credits toward their master’s degree in one of the following premier and top-ranked graduate programs: Automotive Engineering, Design Science, Energy Systems Engineering, Global Automotive and Manufacturing Engineering, Manufacturing, and Systems Engineering + Design.

ISD views these capstone projects as a Win-Win-Win. Students are given opportunities to apply their integrative thinking and technical problem-solving skills, ISD faculty gain valuable connections with industry leaders to keep informed of needs and trends, and sponsors get several benefits, including:

  • Progress toward improving the design of their products and processes, continuous improvement of existing operations, and exploration/implementation of innovations.
  • Evaluate talent and possible future hires of ISD students.
  • Obtain access to expert faculty at the University of Michigan College of Engineering.
  • Improved organizational performance through completion of projects that lead to new revenue, cost savings, cost avoidance, or other intangible, yet important company objectives.

About the Capstone Project Process

  • First, students submit project proposals for approval by ISD Program Directors (these proposals often involve discussions between company sponsors and prospective students). Projects may be assigned to an individual student or as a team up to four students.
  • Project durations are typically three months (one semester), but may be approved for up to six months (two semesters), depending on the project scope.
  • Students receive mentoring from both an assigned University of Michigan faculty technical adviser and a company sponsored project lead or mentor.
  • Main deliverable is a final project report that demonstrates the application of academic program skills and methodologies toward an industry-specific problem. Reports typically include a summary of the improvement opportunity, review of the current state, summary of approach or methodology used, major project results/findings, recommendations, and estimated benefits.
  • Note: Information deemed sensitive or confidential by an external company sponsor is not required to be shared with the University of Michigan. Options exist to allow a student to complete a project without sharing confidential information.

ISD Capstone Project Timeline Summary

Fall Semester

End of August to early December
Project proposals due early August

Winter Semester

Early January to end of April
Project proposals due mid-November

Spring/Summer Semester

Early May to mid August
Project proposals due early April

We look forward to partnering with you to provide ISD students with engineering challenges through capstone projects. Please contact the ISD Capstone Coordinator at with any project ideas or questions. See below for additional information on ISD programs and sample past projects.

About ISD Programs

Automotive Engineering (MEng)

The Automotive Engineering (MEng) program focuses on the forefront of technologies that move the world by shaping transportation, the environment, commerce, and public policy. The field includes breakthroughs in self-driving cars, hybrid electric vehicles, battery systems, and more.

Design Science (MS)

The Design Science (MS) program engages students in the systematic pursuit of design knowledge across all fields by integrating the disciplines of engineering, design, psychology, and others.

Energy Systems Engineering (MEng)

The Energy Systems Engineering (MEng) students address challenges facing society related to sustainable energy generation, storage, and conversion and how alternative and conventional energy technologies relate to societal, environmental, and economic impacts.

Global Automotive and Manufacturing Engineering (GAME) (MEng)

The Global Automotive and Manufacturing Engineering (GAME) (MEng) program develops engineers with a strong background in product development and production by expanding their understanding of virtual global teams and global supply chain.

Manufacturing (MEng)

The Manufacturing (MEng) students have the knowledge to streamline manufacturing processes and make managerial decisions by understanding advanced manufacturing technologies and integrative managerial skills.

Systems Engineering + Design (MEng)

The Systems Engineering + Design (MEng) enables students to enter the modern design processes in government and industry that integrate diverse specialists’ work into complex products and processes.

Examples of Past Topic Areas/Projects

New Product/Process Design

  • Redesigned an electric motorcycle to better incorporate human factors and user experience
  • Modified product design and software used for automotive auxiliary output receptacles to increase robustness and reduce warranty costs
  • Developed new seal design resulting in lower tooling costs and fewer internal defects
  • Developed a 3D laser scanning inspection system for enhanced detection and error proofing at an automotive transmission manufacturing process
  • Developed software to limit speeding and warn/alert the driver to prevent speeding related fatal motor vehicle crashes
  • Created a design for an adaptive football helmet for human mobility safety

Continuous Improvement and Warranty Reduction

  • Reduced the amount of cruise drag to improve fuel consumption on take-off and landings
  • Reduced airframe generated noise in jets
  • Improved throughput of an automotive body shop
  • Reduced rework and defects of shaft assemblies for electric vehicles

Predictive Analytics

  • Created an improved algorithm to classify non-driving related task images for Advanced Driver Assistance Systems (ADAS)
  • Developed next generation diagnosis and structural health monitoring techniques

Sustainability and Energy Systems

  • Designed a new microgrid solution to better meet customer load demand
  • Performed cost analysis for microwave carbon dioxide desorption versus other thermal methods