Each year, engineering and computer science majors at MSU complete senior capstone projects as a requirement of graduating. Sponsors make this possible. By providing real-life challenges for students to solve, sponsors enable hands-on learning while tackling an engineering or computer science challenge of their own.

Seniors in all five departments in the engineering college complete capstones, covering a wide range of topics. The details of sponsorship can vary from department to department, so the best thing for potential sponsors to do is contact one of the capstone advisers listed below. 

Who can sponsor a project?

Common sponsors are local and regional businesses and organizations, MSU researchers, state/federal agencies and labs, and individuals. Generally, anyone with an engineering or computer science problem may be a good fit.

How does sponsorship work?

Sponsorship involves a partnership between the sponsor and one or more teams of MSU students. The details vary with department, but in general ...

MSU contributes:

  • Students' design and production services, free of charge.
  • Guidance from faculty advisers who are experts in their fields.
  • Students' access to state-of-the-art facilities, including a world-class machine shop.
  • Structured course timeline for completing project.

Sponsor contributes:

  • Cost of materials.
  • Collaboration with adviser to define the scope of the project.
  • Collaboration with students to define specifications, consider alternatives, and give input on final design.

What makes a good capstone project?

There has been a wide variety successful projects over the years, including:

  • Custom-made research equipment for MSU faculty (mechanical, electrical engineering)
  • Tooling and manufacturing equipment for businesses (mechanical, electrical engineering)
  • Building site plans (civil engineering)
  • Space efficiency recommendations for hospital renovation (industrial engineering)
  • Biochemical processing for mine reclamation (chemical and biological engineering)
  • Custom-made software (computer science)

Learn about recent examples >>

Contact a capstone instructor

Mechanical Engineering

Craig Shankwitz, 406-823-9192, craig.shankwitz@montana.edu.

Electrical and Computer Engineering

Wataru Nakagawa, 406-994-5956, nakagawa@montana.edu.

Chemical and Biological Engineering

Brent Peyton, 406-994-7419, bpeyton@montana.edu.

Civil Engineering

Otto Stein, 406-994-6121, ottos@ce.montana.edu.
Anders Larsson, 406-994-7187, andersl@montana.edu.

Computer Science

Interdiscipline capstone for B.A. in Computer Science students:
Daniel DeFrance, 406-994-1628, daniel.defrance@montana.edu.

Software Factory capstone:
Clemente Izurieta, 406-994-3720, clemente.izurieta@montana.edu.
Note: Software Factory suggested donation of $1,000-$5,000 for projects.

Industrial and Management Systems Engineering, Financial Engineering

William Schell, 406-994-5938, wschell@montana.edu.