Why is the program project-based? Launching a program in 2008 gave us a unique advantage in that we were able to design our curriculum upon the best learning science — people learn better by doing. Engineering careers are built upon project work too, so it’s good to hear from employers that they find our students project-ready upon hire. Recent student works have focused on:

First Year Project
First Year Project

Engineering students in the first-year course ENGR 112: Engineering Decisions form into teams as part of a semester-long project. Each team embarked on highly customized journeys to find a problem in the world that is worth solving, use appropriate tools to investigate and solve the problem, and clearly communicate the milestones of the project to a variety of stakeholders. In doing so, student teams had opportunities to blend their own passions and interests with engineering content grounded in the human-centered design process, the Stanford d.school design thinking model, engineering fundamental analysis, and analytical and physical prototyping skills.

Human Powered Vehicle
Bike Project

A year-long, client-based, design project interwoven with instruction in a two-course design sequence. The course project experience focuses on the design, development, and construction of a human-powered vehicle for an end-user with special needs. Through the course, students not only learn about the engineering design process, but they also learn about themselves as budding engineers and their future role as an engineer.

During ENGR 231 Engineering Design I, students are introduced to the engineering design process as both a descriptive and prescriptive process, and students work through the planning and conceptual design phases of the engineering design process per the Dym and Little Engineering Design textbook. In ENGR 232 Engineering Design II, students continue to work through the engineering design process completing the preliminary design, detailed design, and project reporting phases. The course sequence culminates with a demonstration of final designs and an opportunity for the end-user to ride the students' creations.

Capstone Projects
Soldier Capstone Project

Our two-year-long Capstone Projects are diverse and provide rich playgrounds for exploration and learning. In recent years, our students have been involved in projects that:

  • Spark curiosity in the entrepreneurial design of new products; 
  • Develop hands-on knowledge in prototyping new technologies in international (i.e., study abroad) contexts; 
  • Foster discoveries of new processes or methodologies to increase efficiencies of existing systems; 
  • Give back to the community with engineering solutions for local contexts; 
  • Engage with engineering professionals in industry-sponsored projects; and 
  • Compete at national and international engineering venues. 

Please see the Madison xChange books for a comprehensive list of student projects.


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