As a degree requirement in RIT’s Kate Gleason College of Engineering, all fifth-year students from the departments of biomedical, computer, electrical, industrial and systems, and mechanical engineering complete a two-semester multidisciplinary senior design (MSD) project. The MSD experience is a studio course: hands-on, instructor facilitated, and student-centered. Each design team spends 1300-1500 person-hours of effort on their project.
Students are responsible for the design process end to end: from defining the problem through implementing the prototype solution. They manage the project themselves - with guidance - including schedule, risk, and problem management. Our students don’t just do the work; they figure out the work that needs to be done in order to create real value for their clients. Each team writes either a technical paper or a detailed invention description, and our teams exhibit at Imagine RIT.
Each student team is assigned a faculty Guide who shepherds the team through the design process. Our Guides are engineers from the Rochester area who work as full-time or part-time faculty, and they bring decades of experience from a variety of industries.
Our students are value creators! Since the inception of the college-wide MSD program in 2003, students have completed more than 1,000 projects.
Because our program is multidisciplinary, our students are able to pursue a wide variety of projects. Thematic areas include (but are not limited to) access technology, medical devices, aerospace, automotive, automated systems, measurement systems, imaging, manufacturing, and process improvement.
We get most of our projects from outside RIT: industry partners, as well as individuals and organizations in the community. Some of our projects come from faculty, in support of their research or teaching endeavors. Still others come from our students: those involved in clubs or competition teams, and those with entrepreneurial interests.
Engage with fifth-year engineering students, most of whom are seeking full-time post-graduation employment
Connect with RIT faculty in your technical field
Pursue a design project that’s important, but off your critical path
Bring in fresh ideas to solve problems
Provide financial project support. Our typical industry sponsored project fee is $7500. Contact us to discuss this if special arrangements are necessary.
Engage with the team, including initial customer interviews and participation in four design/demo reviews per semester, as well as occasional additional time for Q&A between formal reviews. We estimate an average of an 1 hour per week time commitment.
Provide technically interesting design work for a team of 4-6 students working for two semesters, including both design and build/implementation.
Note: while some project content can be confidential, students must be able to discuss their projects openly. The senior design experience enables students seeking full time employment to showcase the value they bring to prospective employers.
The submission deadline is July 1 for projects starting in fall semester and December 1 for projects starting in spring semester.
When do I take MSD?
Most students take MSD during their last two semesters on campus; talk with your academic advisor if you’re not sure where it fits in your academic plan.
Can I work on a project with my co-op employer?
Yes! We encourage students to explore this possibility with co-op employers. Industrial sponsors can visit the Propose a Project page.
Can I propose a project?
Yes! Student proposals are welcomed from clubs, competition teams, and student entrepreneurs. Student proposed projects are required to have a client outside the MSD team. Visit the Propose a Project page.
Let’s connect! If you’d like to be involved with the MSD program, here are some options for you.
Propose a project
We run approximately 100 projects each year and are always on the lookout for interesting new design challenges. Access the project submission portal.
Don’t have a specific project need? There are other ways to get involved in the program:
Serve as a subject-matter-expert consultant for an open “office hour”
Give a guest lecture on an area of your expertise
Participate in a design review
Sponsor a humanitarian/social impact project
Sponsor a family of projects in your technical field
Provide fabrication services to a team or teams
Donate supplies for project activities
Visit our teams at Imagine or our end-of-semester webinar
Visit the Senior Design Center
This is where the excitement happens! Our design space is open to visitors and we welcome the opportunity to show you the great work our students are doing.
Your support is vital to the success of our mission. MSD provides our engineering seniors with a distinctive capstone experience that gives our students a meaningful story to tell. Help make a difference today!
Make a Gift Click “Other,” then “Fund of your Choice”. Select “Additional Designations"
and scroll down to select one of the “Multidisciplinary Senior Design…” options