UTdesign empowers students as they work alongside industry leaders to solve real-world engineering problems

Overview of the Program

Every engineering and computer science senior at UT Dallas is required to complete a team-oriented capstone project (senior design course). This final project allows students to fully engage in the design process and put in practice their project-management and problem-solving skills. The course gives students hands-on design experience and prepares them for the work world.

UTDesign projects are proposed, sponsored and mentored by companies. Students not only get to work on a real world problem, but also get to work in an environment similar to that of industry professionals.

Each UTDesign team typically consists of 4-6 senior students working an average of 10 hours a week for 2 semesters (15 hours per week in the summer). (Computer Science offers a one-semester project). The team has the advantage to be coached by two people: a corporate mentor, who acts as the technical point of contact for the company, and a UT Dallas advisor.

During the length of the project the team will:

  • Determine the customer’s needs and find all the necessary specifications and requirements for the project.
  • Research the project and work on preliminary designs.
  • Write a proposal for the company and deliver a preliminary design presentation and report.
  • Work on a final design, prototype, testing and validation.
  • Prepare all project documentation for the company.
  • Prepare a final oral presentation and poster presentation for the UTDesign Expo.

Benefits

Get exposure to real engineering problems
Get guidance from two experts in the area – a corporate mentor and a faculty advisor
Learn new technology used in the workplace
Gain industry experience
Have opportunities for internships or employment recruitment by company sponsors
Learn more from working in a team environment

Expectations

When students agree to work for a UTDesign project, they should:

  • Plan to devote ample time to the project. These are real and challenging problems. To solve them, teams can expect to spend a total of 800 hours per semester.
  • Have a flexible schedule. The team will frequently meet with corporate mentors and faculty advisors outside class hours. Plan your schedule accordingly.
  • Communicate regularly with your mentors. Weekly meetings are recommended.
  • Have a planned agenda for your meetings.  Publish meeting minutes after your meetings.
  • Be on time, and don’t miss meetings or deadlines. Remember, this is like a 15-30 week interview, and it may land you a job.
  • Work as a team.
  • Act professionally at all times. Students are representatives of UT Dallas when they interact with their corporate mentors.

When students agree to work for a UTDesign project, they should:

  • Plan to devote ample time to the project. These are real and challenging problems. To solve them, teams can expect to spend a total of 800 hours per semester.
  • Have a flexible schedule. The team will frequently meet with corporate mentors and faculty advisors outside class hours. Plan your schedule accordingly.
  • Communicate regularly with your mentors. Weekly meetings are recommended.
  • Have a planned agenda for your meetings.  Publish meeting minutes after your meetings.
  • Be on time, and don’t miss meetings or deadlines. Remember, this is like a 15-30 week interview, and it may land you a job.
  • Work as a team.
  • Act professionally at all times. Students are representatives of UT Dallas when they interact with their corporate mentors.

Deliverables

During the semester, the team will have a set of deliverables that is specific to the project and the department. The list commonly includes:

  • Technical reports
  • Drawings and design specifications
  • Prototypes, computer programs, simulation models
  • Final report and presentation
  • Test and evaluations results

During the semester, the team will have a set of deliverables that is specific to the project and the department. The list commonly includes:

  • Technical reports
  • Drawings and design specifications
  • Prototypes, computer programs, simulation models
  • Final report and presentation
  • Test and evaluations results

IP & NDA

UTDesign Capstone projects may result in ideas, inventions, creations, developments or improvements that are important to corporate sponsors. Partners typically secure rights to UTDesign intellectual property by having student participants sign intellectual property (IP) and non-disclosure agreements (NDA).

Intellectual Property Agreement

Corporate partners are encouraged to enter into mutually acceptable agreements with the UTDesign students and their teams. This allows them to secure rights to the IP developed during the course of the project. These agreements are to be made between the company and the students.

Non-Disclosure Agreement

All students engaged in corporate projects must be aware of and committed to an NDA. Usually, the NDA is incorporated into the IP agreement.

Budget

Each UTDesign Engineering project team has a budget of $2,000 for materials and up to $1,000 towards fabrication costs, if any. And each Computer Science project team has a budget of $1,000. This allowance can be used only for materials and supplies needed for the project. Some projects may require equipment that exceeds the assigned budget. In this case, the team should work with the UTDesign department director and corporate mentor to determine the best way to proceed.

Capital items, including computing devices, cannot be purchased and given to corporate partners during or at the end of the project.

Every purchase needs approval from the team’s faculty advisor. If the purchase amount exceeds $500, the team also needs the UTDesign department director’s approval.

It is important to be aware of the project’s remaining balance. Students can use the expense tracker  to manage their finances.

The UTDesign purchase process document  details the steps needed to order what the team needs for the project:

  • Determine materials/supplies
  • Methods of purchasing
  • Submitting forms to UTDesign
  • Receiving orders
  • Returning items

Make sure your team reads the document and understands the procedure.

FAQ

Q

How do I find general information about student project resources?

A

The best source of information for your UTDesign project is the UTDesign webpage

Through that link, you will find all the resources available for our students: reserving a conference room, downloading a reimbursement form, etc., and a must-read document, the “Student Guidelines.”

Q

How do I purchase items for my UTDesign project?

A

Complete the UTDesign procurement form provided on the website using the following purchasing process

Under Students, Forms. The purchasing process is outlined under Students, Overview, and Budget. Give completed forms to the project’s UT Dallas Advisor for approval. Projects have a limited budget, and you are responsible to keep your project’s expenditures within that budget. Once your order has arrived, you will be notified to pick it up at SPN.