Senior Design

The Materials Science & Engineering Design Project is a two-semester course for seniors to exercise their creativity and to apply materials science and engineering principles to solve real-world engineering problems, mentored by MSE faculty members and industry engineers.


Students work individually and in small teams and begin by visiting the collaborating companies to meet their industry advisors and to learn about their projects and the challenges specific to the business and technical contexts.

MSE majors have access to the extensive materials characterization and processing facilities of the MSE undergraduate teaching laboratories and selected access to the specialized facilities of the Institute of Materials Science. Recent MSE laboratory upgrades and new equipment purchases, including a universal hardness tester, fatigue tester, 1500°C furnace, and an atomic force microscope, have expanded our capabilities to evaluate alternative solutions for new and exciting projects!

What You Can Expect As An Industry Partner?

Tap Into an Effective Hiring Portal 
Evaluate fully engaged materials science and engineering students over a period of several months as they work through the project. Students gain knowledge of your business and working climate as they interact with your engineers and processes. These impressions are shared with classmates, enabling you to build a reputation as an employer of choice.

Collaborative Impact
Your engineers will benefit from access to technical literature and extensive characterization equipment in the undergraduate labs and the Institute of Materials Science. Our experienced faculty will gain a working knowledge of how their expertise links to your products, processes, and industry. Our goal is that company-university collaboration will expand beyond the capstone project course.

Project Documentation & Updates
Students submit a total of six written assignments, including a proposal, two progress reports, and a final report. The teams also orally present their reports to an audience of students, industry advisors, MSE faculty members, and support staff. Final presentations and a poster session are scheduled for the School of Engineering’s Senior Design Day.

Secure Proprietary Information
Written reports do not have to be submitted for public access. Proprietary information supplied for the sake of the project can be deleted from any public presentations and documentation.

What We Request From Our Industry Partners?

A Challenging Project
The company should propose a challenging project that presents a substantial challenge to a materials engineer. The project should be of sufficient importance such that the company is willing to provide intellectual and, if needed, material and in-kind support for the duration of the project.

An Industry Advisor
The company should commit an individual or individuals who are knowledgeable about the project to serve as an industrial mentor for the student(s). The industry advisor will consult with the faculty advisor and the team to determine the scope of the project and provide technical support and guidance, including on all reports and public presentations.

An Unrestricted Grant
The University requests an unrestricted grant of $7,000 or more from industry collaborators. Donated funds provide a margin of excellence for the MSE undergraduate program to bridge the gap between the teaching budget and the resources required to provide a first-class MSE undergraduate education. Funds have been used to upgrade the MSE undergraduate laboratories and to provide MSE Excellence Scholarships for high- achieving MSE majors.
MSE collaborates with other undergraduate programs to form multidisciplinary student teams. An unrestricted grant of $9,000 or more is requested for multidisciplinary projects.

Examples of Past Projects:

  • Welding Process Qualification
  • Corrective Action for Surface Corrosion of 7075 Forgings
  • Corrosion Reduction in Concentrated Solar Power
  • Materials and Device Design for Next Generation Ultrasonic Transducers
  • Design of a Wear Resistance Coating for Diesel Fuel Injection Application
  • High Temperature Aging of Carbon Fiber / Bismaleimide Composites
  • Method to Predict End Properties in 300 Series Stainless Steels Based on Specific Chemistries
  • Paradigm for Oxidation Resistance
  • Improved Sunlight Resistance for Cable Jacket Compounds

For more information, please contact

Professor Fiona Leek
Director Undergraduate Laboratories
Phone: (860) 486-6937