What is the Project Center and Senior Design?

The Seattle University Project Center partners with businesses, government agencies and nonprofit organizations who provide real-world assignments for student design teams. Students are from Civil and Environmental Engineering, Environmental Science, Computer Science, Electrical and Computer Engineering and Mechanical Engineering.

Senior Design is an academic year-long team-based project where students apply their theoretical knowledge, problem-solving abilities and considerable skill to deliver solutions to problems defined by industry.

What do the students do?

The students design, build, and test a solution to a real-world problem in a team environment.

How big are the student teams?

Design teams typically consist of four students, but may be larger or smaller depending on the particular project. Student teams typically spend approximately 1000 hours on their projects, which may include design, build, and test.

Where do the projects come from?

Most design projects are sponsored by industry partners. The projects are problems from the sponsoring organization, providing real-world experience for the students.

What are some advantages for students?

  • A practical real-world experience
  • Development of team problem-solving skills
  • Experience budgeting time and finances
  • Project management skills
  • The chance to meet and work with potential employers
  • Networking at the fall workshop, presentations at sponsor site and Projects Day

What are the potential benefits for industry sponsors?

  • An opportunity to work with students on a project that has the potential to be implemented at the sponsor's organization
  • Collaboration with Seattle University faculty
  • Innovations from the creative talent of students
  • Creation of innovative and competitive products
  • Ownership of intellectual property
  • Recruitment of potential employees
  • Positively impacting multiple students with a marginal investment
  • Networking at the fall workshop and Projects Day at the end of the academic year

Is there a fee for sponsoring a project?

Yes. Seattle University is a nonprofit private university and the Project Center is self-supporting. Please contact the Project Center for more information. 

What happens to the intellectual property?

Sponsors own the intellectual property arising out of the project.

What are some examples of past projects? 

See our projects from our previous year Projects Day 2017 Program

What if the design doesn’t work?

The focus of the Project Center is to provide an educational experience and is designed to help students learn to use their STEM education to real-world applications. All project work is provided to the sponsor "as is" and is not guaranteed by the university. Sponsors are strongly encouraged to be fully engaged with their student team and in the program to ensure the student outputs will meet their needs and function as intended.

What do Sponsors receive at the end of the project?

Sponsors receive a comprehensive report produced by the project team. Sponsors also receive all prototypes, software applications or proof of concepts that are generated as part of the project. Finally, sponsors receive the ownership of any intellectual property developed during the course of the project.

What is the project timeline?

If you have additional questions, please contact the Project Center.