The 4th Year Project Proposal (FAQ)

The purpose of the proposal is to introduce the project that you will construct over the course of the next year. The proposal should be written in such a way that it can be understood by a person not familiar with the project (e.g., the project coordinator.). At the most basic level, every project is trying to build an engineering solution to a problem. This proposal should describe this problem and your plan to implementing a solution. As with all deliverables this year, the proposal must use formal and professional language.

Submit an electronic copy (PDF) to the project coordinator by the date listed under Deadlines using the 4th year project system at Please note that your supervisor may have more stringent requirements, and different deadlines, than those listed here. Also ensure that the facilities that you need will be available by discussing these with your supervisor.

It is very important to keep in mind that the specific task to be performed by each team member should be clearly explained and it is justified how the project relates to the degree program of each team member in the proposal.

Requirements and Writing Guidelines

A typical proposal is 3-4 pages in length, and contains:
  1. The title of the project, your name, your student number and your supervisor's name.
  2. A clear statement of the objectives of the project.
  3. A brief background of the project.
  4. A brief description of what you are going to do.
  5. A discussion of how the project relates to the degree program of each student.
  6. A description of the method(s) you are going to use in solving the problem.
  7. A proposed timetable for completion of the project including major intermediate milestones.
  8. A list of special components and facilities that you require.

Common shortcomings:

At this early stage, you may not know enough about the project, especially if the idea is your supervisor's. Use the proposal as motivation for getting a good start on your project. Aim towards:

  1. being able to describe in your own words what your project is about, and
  2. preparing a methodical breakdown or sequence of steps that represents your plan for performing your work.

Most timetables in submitted proposals consist solely of a copy of the deadlines that are posted on the course webpage and a breakdown into requirements-design-implementation-testing. These are both obvious. Your plan should delve deeper and identify the key milestones in your project's life cycle; an example for a software project may include a milestone that builds a prototype that demonstrates the functionality expressed by the three major use-cases. Milestones are concrete targets towards which you will work.

Often, specific technologies (eg. Matlab, C++ versus Java, Apache Tomcat ) are listed as part of the project's proposal. Unless specifically dictated by your supervisor, the proposal should be expressed in terms of requirements that are implementation-independent. It is part of your project to assess the alternative implementations and decide on which to use.

For some additional advice for writing a project proposal, consult the pages for the Department of Electronics Roboflag project, compliments of Will Sitch.

$Date: 2015-09-17 13:57:16 -0400 (Thu, 17 Sep 2015) $