Capstone Design Projects

Senior-Year Capstone Design Projects offer students the opportunity to get involved in sophisticated engineering design challenges. Participating companies reap benefits as well; building relationships with students and getting new ideas for real design problems.

The Department has six capstone design course options. At least one course is provided in each major civil engineering focus. This focus does not mean that the design is related only to one narrowly focused topic. Each capstone design course provides sufficient experience and opportunity to apply material learned in previous courses. These courses involve teamwork, report writing and/or oral presentation of the project, open-ended problem solving, and multi-disciplinary coverage. Several capstones involve practitioners in the project formulation, or for the supply of input data. Often practicing professionals will review a project or act as part of a juror panel. No strict rules are imposed on each course since flexibility is needed for different types of design projects.

The courses are intended to simulate a real-world design experience. Therefore, designs must consider performance objectives, costs, environmental impacts, and legal ramifications. In some courses the students must develop material to justify their design decisions to regulatory agencies and the public.

Ethical questions concerning relationships with clients, regulatory agencies, and other professionals also are considered as well as global and contemporary issues. 

For more information about sponsoring a capstone design project, visit The Learning Factory website or contact Matthew Parkinson, Learning Factory Director at (814) 863-9079 or



The Penn State Civil and Environmental Engineering Department, established in 1881, is internationally recognized for excellence in the preparation of undergraduate and graduate engineers through the integration of education, research, and leadership.

Department of Civil & Environmental Engineering

212 Sackett Building

The Pennsylvania State University

University Park, PA 16802-1408

Phone: 814-863-3084