Welcome: Senior Design


Curriculum Overview

Societal problems do not respect discipline-specific boundaries. Consequently, the Kate Gleason College of Engineering has re-engineered its capstone design experience to more effectively teach students how to deal productively with this reality. In contrast to the classical approach used by most engineering schools to teach engineering design, students at RIT work in diverse, multidisciplinary teams to solve problems that are broader in scope than any individual engineering discipline. Students are introduced to the basic concepts of project management and systems engineering, and learn through teamwork how to leverage the specialized knowledge of others outside their own field of expertise to achieve viable solutions to complex challenges.

The academic courses “MSD I” and “MSD II” comprise a two-semester design sequence oriented to the solution of engineering problems. The course mission is to enhance engineering education through a capstone design experience that integrates engineering theory and practices within a collaborative environment. Working in teams and following an engineering design process (see below), students assess customer needs and engineering requirements, evaluate concepts, resolve major technical hurdles, and employ rigorous engineering practices to design a prototype which is fully tested and documented.

Engineering design is the process of devising a system, component, or process to meet desired needs. It is a decision-making process (often iterative), in which the basic sciences, mathematics, and engineering sciences are applied to convert resources optimally to meet a stated objective. Among the fundamental elements of the design process are the establishment of objectives and criteria, synthesis, analysis, construction, testing, and evaluation.

A student who successfully fulfills the course requirements will have demonstrated the ability to:

  1. Perform a critical analysis of requirements.
  2. Integrate theory from a broad range of courses, laboratory exercises and co-op experiences to the creative solution of an engineering design problem.
  3. Accurately document engineering design activities.
  4. Effectively communicate technical information through oral and written means.
  5. Work effectively and ethically in a diverse team environment.
  6. Develop and execute a project schedule and budget, and explain the impact of variations in schedule, critical path, and project costs on the effective execution of an engineering design.
  7. Decompose a complex design problem into a set of manageable components that can be addressed as subsystems and assembled into a final solution.
  8. Recognize the impact of design decisions on customer satisfaction.
MSD I phases MSD II phases
  • Problem definition (wk 1-3)
  • Systems design (wk 4-6)
  • Subsystems design (high technical risk) (wk 7-9)
  • Detailed design and component selection (high and medium risk (wk 10-12)
  • Complete design (low risk) (wk 13-15)
  • Gate review – “green light” required to move on (wk 16)
  • Complete detailed design and hold design review (if necessary).
  • Subsystem level prep (wk 1-2)
  • Subsystem level build & test (wk 3-5)
  • Subsystem and system level build, test, and integrate (wk 6-8)
  • System level build, test, integrate (wk 9-11)
  • Verification & validation (wk 12-15), presentations, hand-off to Customer
  • Gate review (wk 16)
Design reviews or report-outs are held at the end of each phase.