General Information and Expectations

The 4th-year project is an important part of your undergraduate program. It represents an excellent opportunity for teams of students to develop professional-level experience by applying, honing, integrating and extending previously acquired knowledge and skills in a major engineering design project.

The project shall be an example of good engineering analysis and design that demonstrates your skill in the practice of engineering. The project shall tackle a problem for which there may be several different solutions. The end-product will vary widely, with some projects focused more heavily on design, analysis, implementation or experimentation. Every project should include appropriate use of engineering economics, criteria-based decision making and risk. The written report in every project must include a discussion of alternative design solutions which should be compared using clearly defined criteria based on technical merit and, as appropriate, on engineering economics and risk analysis.. Every student is expected to produce a contribution that is beyond the background material provided.

A project must be selected by the beginning of fall term. You must review the list of available projects, solicit discussions with possible supervisors and team members, and in some cases demonstrate that you have the necessary background (or will be taking relevant courses in the same year). You are encouraged to use initiative to find a project that match your interests and background, even proposing modifications to existing project outlines.

It is expected that at least two hundred hours be devoted to your project, normally an average of eight hours per week. With the help of a faculty supervisor, you and the team will identify the project requirements, break it down to identifiable tasks, assign individual responsibilities, and set a schedule for the work progress with milestones. The execution of the project plan is largely the responsibility of the students. It is imperative that you schedule your time so that you progress at a reasonably uniform rate rather than leaving the bulk of the work until close to the specified deadlines. The initiative for keeping your project on schedule must come from you.

Documentation and communication are key factors for success in engineering team projects. You and the team are required to write progress reports, give oral presentations to your colleagues and faculty members, and write a comprehensive final report documenting the project design, analysis, execution and conclusions. These deliverables are standard across the department, but do not exclude additional requirements imposed by your supervisor as part of the group.

During the course of the project, all students are expected to conduct themselves in a manner consistent with professional engineering practice and ethics. Of particular note, plagiarism is the use of another person's ideas or work without proper acknowledgement, thereby passing it off as your own. When incorporating the work of others in your project or report, you must clearly identify the source. Incidents of plagiarism will be dealt with severely by the department. In addition to this, students are expected to participate fully in the project, attending meetings as required, being prepared for meetings/presentations, and reporting to the supervisor on the actual progress towards project goals. Students are expected to be proactive in their work, especially in identifying and reporting potential difficulties that may impact the schedule and/or results. Interaction between team members during the conduct of the work must be professional; any personal conflicts must be set aside and not enter into team dynamics.

Your fourth-year project is a valuable experience and, as such, will require a significant portion of your time throughout the whole year.


Updated: August 7, 2017