Capstone Projects

All MSE students finish their degree with a Capstone Project that brings together all the technical skills and hands-on experience they have acquired during their program. This practical and innovative team-based project provides an opportunity to tackle an open-ended engineering problem of your choosing.

Need more information?

Visit our Capstone Projects page for deadline dates, past and current projects and guest speaker information.

Instructional Philosophy for MSE 410 & 411

  • Student-driven projects
  • Broadly speaking, the courses represent an open ended design problem: team finds a suitable problem, proposes to solve it, designs & implements a solution to proof of concept/prototype level
  • Supervised by at least one PEng faculty
  • Emphasis on critical and creative thinking (design and innovation) rather than set-piece assignment
  • R&D focus rather than lecture focus
  • Socially beneficial projects (broadly defined)
  • Team-centered rather than individual projects
  • Entrepreneurial focus (encouraged)
  • Faculty, Industry and Peer reviewed presentations

Intellectual Property Statement

In keeping with the entrepreneurial spirit of the Capstone curriculum, students are encouraged to pursue projects having commercialization potential and are discouraged from entering non-competition and non-disclosure agreements with participating companies without consultation with the instructors or the School. Project results are required to be made publicly available through student presentations and final documentation (no exceptions are made for industrial projects). Intellectual property ownership will be governed by the University’s Intellectual Property Policy, R 30.03, including, but not limited to situations where:

  1. a participating company provides a general concept for the Capstone group to use as a starting point or guidance in the project;
  2. a participating company provides a specific project that will incorporate the company’s proprietary information;
  3. a participating company provides funding to support the Capstone group’s project;
  4. Pre-existing intellectual property of either the student or faculty advisor is going to be the subject of the student’s project.

Capstone group members shall be considered co-creators and, as per the University’s Intellectual Property Policy, R 30.03, 6.5, if commercialization is anticipated and there is more than one creator, a written agreement among the creators should be concluded as early as possible and before negotiations for commercialization are commenced with third parties. An MSE-industry IP agreement is available for companies requiring the students to give them the IP rights, upon request.

* While the same project team will work on one project topic for both courses MSE 410 and 411, they will be graded separately and each course will have its own grade . 

** Given the course structure, it will be very difficult to change teams after this date. Choose your teams wisely and arrive at a clear plan for individual roles to minimize potential conflicts.


Draft Outline of Assignments, Weighting, & Due Dates for Mechatronics Capstone Project Courses:

Nature of  MSE 410-411

  • MSE 410 and 411 focus on various topics including design processes, entrepreneurial issues, designing for safety, engineering standards, human factors, etc. (5 or 6 one-hour guest lecturers).  Instructors, supervisors and TAs also meet frequently with teams
  • MSE 410 is offered once per year in Spring terms
  • Requires students to have completed 100 credits
  • Concurrent co-op not permitted
  • MSE 411 is a follow up to MSE 410 and is offered once per year in Summer terms with same project teams and team members
  • Requires students to have successfully completed MSE 410

* Subject to change each term and for different instructors. Please refer to the course outline and instructor notes for a more accurate representation.


Draft Outline of Assignments, Weighting, & Due Dates for Mechatronics Capstone Project Courses*:

MSE 410

Deliverables / Assignments


Weighting (%)

Week / Date Due





Project Proposal

10-15 pages


Week 2-3

Functional Specification

15-20 pages


Week 5

Design Specification
10-20 pages
Week 9
Presentation / Demo
15 minutes
Week 13-14

Written Progress Report including design and the proof of concept prototype

Up to 30 pages


Week 13-14

Lab Journal / Project File
Last day of class


MSE 411

Deliverables / Assignments
Week / Date Due
Updated Proposal with test plan 15 Week 4
User or Technical Manual 15 Week 8
Final Report 25 Week 13
Poster/Demo Presentation 20 Week 14
Prototype 25 Week 14


Possible Source of Project funds:

  • Faculty, industry, and government sponsors
  • Department ($50 in parts per team) 
  • MSE Machine shop fund (Up to a total of $5,000 for all student sponsored projects (e.g. 10 teams, each receives $500 at the end of MSE 411 upon proof of relevant expenditure (e.g. receipts, invoices etc.) – not including students in the Entrepreneurship@SFU program as it has its own funding mechanisms)
  • “Angel” investors – Friends, Family or other approved individuals
  • Students: Team members
Created: Jan. 1, 2011 - Farid Golnaraghi
Modified: Oct. 10, 2014 - Farid Golnaraghi