Senior Projects Guidelines


General Information

The goal of the capstone project is to put into practice what you have learned and demonstrate the ability to expand your knowledge and skills. It should be taken in your last semester, possibly the semester before that if you are coordinating with other teammates.

By design, you have a lot of freedom to decide what to work on. Your faculty adviser is there to help you scope something reasonable, guide you to stay on track, and evaluate your effectiveness in executing the project.

The project provides experience working with a team to plan, manage, and deliver a project that is more substantial than what you get do in classes. You will also practice presenting your work.

Start by registering for CSCI 4390. It doesn't matter who is listed as the instructor of record on the section, as you'll be working with your adviser, not them. If you would prefer to meet and work in Brownsville, sign up for the Brownsville section. That doesn't commit you, but helps with organization.

Wait, do I have to attend class at that time? Read on...

The Details

Getting Organized

We strongly recommend that you prepare for your project before the semester. Design work and setting up unfamiliar technologies are things that can easily stall out progress. It's much more relaxed, enjoyable, and effective to kick around ideas, explore new things, and hammer out details when the clock isn't running.

To that end, we have two preferred options for settling on your team, project, and adviser. It doesn't always work out that way, so we also have a backup plan.

Option 1A: Self-Organization

  • Form a team of 2-4 students
  • Fill out a 1-page initial proposal on your own idea
  • Meet with faculty members to discuss your project idea
  • (Check the Faculty-Defined Projects below to see examples of what faculty work on)
  • Once a faculty member agrees to advise your project, you are set!
  • Coordinate with your adviser and hit the ground running at the start of the semester

Self-organizing gives you the most say in who you work with and what you work on.

Option 1B: Faculty Projects

  • Look at the list of Faculty-Defined Projects
  • These are project ideas that faculty are interested in advising students on
  • Some are more specific, some more general
  • More specific projects may be okay with individuals joining separately to form a team
  • Interested? Contact the faculty to discuss
  • Coordinate with your adviser and hit the ground running at the start of the semester

If there is a particular faculty member you really want to work with, this is the simplest way.

Back-up Plan: Start of Class

  • Students who do not have a team, project, and adviser will attend the class for the first two weeks
  • Class meetings will be in-person, at the scheduled time, on each campus
  • For those two weeks, students will form teams, propose projects, and be assigned an adviser
  • At the end of those two weeks, you work with your team and adviser going forward

Not the optimal way to get started, try to get going before this.