ME481 “The Capstone design Experience,” provides the educational capstone for all students majoring in mechanical engineering at Michigan State University. Teams of students design prototype solutions for real world problems.  If you have a challenging problem and an interest in working with our ME students, please join us as a sponsor of a ME Senior Capstone Design Project.

During the Capstone Experience, student teams:

  • Design solutions for real, industrial-sponsored projects that draw on their technical expertise, communication skills and creativity.
  • Establish design requirements through dialogue with the project sponsor.
  • Identify multiple possible design approaches and select a preferred design through systematic evaluation of design alternatives.
  • Build prototypes of their designs and test their prototypes against the requirements established with the industrial sponsor. 
  • Work with a faculty advisor who monitors the team’s progress and evaluates their results.
  • Benefit greatly from the opportunity to work on real industrial projects.
  • Present, showcase, and demonstrate their projects at the semi-annual Design Day event:

Every semester, our partners also sponsor a limited number of humanitarian and educational projects.

Real problems presented by real customers with real needs strengthen the connection of Michigan State University Mechanical Engineering students with their community and their profession.

Capstone Project Characteristics

Capstone projects come from a wide variety of industries and can address a wide range of industrial challenges such as creation of new products to improved manufacturing methods.  Examples of recent projects can be found at

We seek open ended projects which include the following elements:

  • Innovation - Projects must require creativity. Students should be free to explore many ideas and should have access to company bench marking data, customer surveys, and previous products.
  • Prototype Fabrication - Projects should permit students to design, build, and evaluate a prototype.
  • Conventional Methods - Projects should require the application of fundamental engineering skills rather than familiarity with specialized technologies or exotic software packages

ME 481 Capstone Project Sponsorship

Sponsor Benefits

Capstone design project sponsorship provides an opportunity to build your company’s presence on the MSU campus, increase your contact with Mechanical Engineering students and contribute to outstanding education for our next generation of engineers.  Project Sponsors receive recognition in the Design Day project booklet and on the Design Day project displays.  While many companies participate because of the opportunity to showcase their company to MSU engineering students, and the potential for creative idea generation, many projects lead to cost-effective design solutions through the infusion of fresh ideas.

Sponsor Contribution

The sponsorship fee is only $5,000 per project.In addition to financial support the sponsor selects a staff engineer to be the team advisor.The team advisor will interact regularly via on/off site meetings, mentorship, and feedback.The team advisor is also asked to attend Design Day at the end of the semester to hear the student’s final presentation.

Proprietary Information

Students deliver public presentation. If project involves proprietary information or issues of intellectual property rights, then students can sign confidentiality and IP agreements with the project sponsor.

Contact Jim Lang for more information and a short sponsor application form.  Project sponsorship is on a first come basis and sponsor applications are due in Mid-August for Fall projects and mid-December for Spring semester projects.

Jim Lang – Industrial Liaison for Design Projects & ME481 Senior Capstone Projects Coordinator – 428 S. Shaw, Rm 2555 Engineering Building – Michigan State University – East Lansing, MI 48824;  810-224-0055

Design Consortium

Involving students at the freshman level through senior year in industry sponsored projects. Contact Dr. William Resh for details.