What is the Capstone Program?
BYU’s Computer Science has two capstone courses: Software Engineering and Data Science. The data science capstone is two-semesters in length while the software engineering capstone is one semester in length and taken by junior and senior level students. This course is intended to be the culminating experience for a student graduating in Computer Science. All CS Students are invited to enroll in the course, however its completion is only a requirement for those with either a Software Engineering or Data Science emphasis.
This Capstone program gives students firsthand experience designing programs and generating data for a company while overcoming real-world challenges. Our hope is that through this capstone, students can more fully develop the competence and confidence to better enter and contribute in the workplace. This experience, while benefitting our students, assists companies with projects and grants them access to our upperclassman for internship opportunities and potential job recruitment.
The data science capstone starts in the Fall semester while the software engineering capstone begins in the Winter semester. During both terms, students are split into teams of 3-5 members under their prospective fields. These teams are assigned a faculty coach and work with a liaison from the sponsoring company. Research indicates that students work harder and more creatively when their projects are authentic and of real consequence to a company.
Over the two-semester and one-semester course, it is anticipated that each team member will dedicate about 10 hours a week towards the project; meaning teams of 4 students will be putting in a cumulative 40 hours a week. Capstone includes class time and work outside of class as teams. Each team is required to build a product that is valuable for a real customer.
Who Can Sponsor a Capstone Project?
Sponsors can be companies, businesses, universities, research labs, non-profits, or any other organization with software development or data generation needs. Not every sponsor has the same needs, however we are dedicated to meeting your demands while providing a unique educational experience for our students. We have done projects ranging from a tool for automatic diagnosis of speech aphasia to a construction project manager and from a restaurant customer tracker to a software plagiarism detector (see these examples and others in the videos below). Even if you don’t know exactly what software you need engineered or what kind of analysis of your data is possible, talk to us and we can help you!
We feel it is very valuable for our students to interact directly with their customer to define and redefine the project features and requirements. This consistent customer feedback keeps students invested and propels the project forward as company desires dictate forward movement.
The amount of time a liaison is expected to spend working with students during the year differs depending upon project, however we have found companies will spend at least one hour per week talking with our students.
For sponsors of our Software Engineering Capstone, you are invited to the end of semester (December) and end of year (April) presentations. Data Science Sponsors are invited to attend end of year (April) presentations.
The timeline between our two capstone programs are quite similar, however differ slightly in course instruction and project presentations. The data science projects begin in September and run through mid-April. Proposals are accepted year round, but must be submitted no later than mid-July in order to be considered in the next capstone cycle.
The following timeline is typical of our programs:
- March thru May: Companies create and submit draft proposals (use this form).
- June: Faculty meet with companies to discuss and refine proposals as requested and/or needed.
- Mid-July: Proposal submission deadline.
- August: Final selection made on Projects and Sponsors.
- September: Donation due, student teams formed, and projects begun.
- December: Mid-project assessment and/or presentation.
- April: Final project presentations.
*If you have not met the proposal deadline, reach out to us and we can see if we can accommodate you!
To sponsor a capstone, a one-time $5,000 payment plus any hardware costs is expected. Sponsors retain all IP developed during the project’s development. This fee is typically solicited in September, however can be changed upon company request.
This fee is PER COMPANY and NOT PER PROJECT, meaning if we have two projects with your company, only $5,000 plus any hardware costs is expected. If any specialized software is needed, that will also need to be covered or brought in by your company.
Flexibility regarding the payment may be possible for the following groups:
- Members of our Computer Science Advisory Board
- Organizations sponsored by The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints
Some occasions permit exceptions. If the fee is too large for your company, please reach out and we will do our best to accommodate you!
These funds go towards student scholarships, miscellaneous supplies, and cash prizes for the top teams at the end of the capstone cycle. We have found financial incentive typically generates a higher caliber product and keeps projects moving forward. This money will also be used to host events highlighting our capstone students, their work and the company projects they have been working on.
No funds for capstone projects or agreements will be used for lobbying.
- Download and fill in the form found here to submit your capstone proposals. Upon its completion, please send it back to firstname.lastname@example.org. It will be reviewed by our capstone committee and a faculty member will arrange a time to meet with you to further discuss the proposal. Often this initial proposal will be reworked by sponsors and capstone faculty after discussing the project in further detail.