CS 4970 – Capstone Design


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"Senior Capstone Design I"



4:00 - 4:50 pm    EBW 116   Monday, Wednesday & Friday    


The primary goal of the course is to allow the students to fully develop a project from initial idea to final implementation in a systematic fashion.  Rather than simply being about coding this includes proper design documentation, planning, testing and other steps as part of a professional software design cycle.  Rather than using a strict waterfall model this class will take a prototyping approach as demonstrated by the spiral development model.  The final goal is a product that is functional and has a certain amount of “polish” as you would except from a commercial product. 

This course also satisfies a writing intensive requirement for the degree program and is done so through essays on topics such as ethics and intellectual property which are fundamental to professional life.  Also there will be a fairly in depth literature review pertaining to the selected project topic. 


Senior standing and must be taken one semester prior to graduation for those students wishing to also take CS 4980 Capstone 2.

Class Requirements:

Students are expected to formulate and complete a technical project using a systems approach. Student teams identify an appropriate faculty mentor and formulate a problem definition. Starting with the project problem definition, a thorough requirements analysis is to be completed. The requirements analysis should include a description of system components, desired functions, interactions with the system environment, and performance metrics. The needs analysis is followed by the development of several alternative design solution options. The alternative designs or components are then evaluated on the basis of various preestablished performance metrics and a final design specification is selected for implementation. An implementation schedule with milestones and costs is created. The final design implementation is then tested and benchmarked against the requirements document. An ongoing technical report with multiple revisions is maintained as part of the design document. Students are expected to make progress in each aspect of the capstone course throughout the semester. Specific assignments include problem definition, requirements analysis, alternative designs, final specifications, and implementation schedule. At the end of the semester the teams are expected to put together a final report which contains several writing assignments related to the capstone design and professional practice including ethics and patent related. Each design team will make two presentations one for the problem statement and the other at the end of the semester describing the final design.


Grading is a mixture of individual and team work. The writing intensive essays, initial problem statements, and literatures reviews are all completed and turned in independently.  The project documents and presentations are all done as a team and any submissions are done as a single copy for the whole team. 

Grading Criteria



Writing Intensive Portion


Problem Definition


Requirements Analysis


Design Specification


Prototypes and Testing




Final Report / Project


Academic Dishonesty and ADA Statements:

The academic community regards academic dishonesty as an extremely serious matter, with serious consequences that range from probation to expulsion. When in doubt about plagiarism, paraphrasing, quoting, or collaboration, consult the course instructor. Cheating will result in your name submitted to the provost and no credit given for the assignment.

If you have a disability and need assistance, please notify the Access Office (A048 Brady Commons, 882-4696) or course instructor immediately. Reasonable effort will be made to accommodate your special needs.