college engineering students show their projects to event attendees

Typical Semester Timeline

While Capstone Design Programs may differ slightly by department, a typical semester entails:

Week 1: Show up to class; review the descriptions of available projects; specify top five project preferences; get assigned to a team and project.

Week 2: Attend Project Kick-Off to meet with team and project sponsor; arrange initial site visit.

Weeks 2-4: Make initial site visit; refine project requirements and deliverables; start brainstorming solutions.

Weeks 5-6: Prepare Statement of Work; review with instructor; revise and submit to sponsor.

Weeks 7-9: Continuing working on project, including gathering data, CAD modeling, prototyping, analysis, etc.

Weeks 10-11: Prepare Detailed Specification Report; review with instructor; revise and submit to sponsor.

Weeks 11-12: Prepare and present alpha prototypes for review.

Weeks 12-14: Continue working on project, including design for manufacturing, fabrication, testing, validation, etc.

Weeks 14-15: Wrap up project; prepare final report, poster, and summary; attend Design Showcase.

group of students posing in Learning Factory facility

map of Penn State campus



Our mission is to help bring the real-world into the classroom by providing engineering students with practical hands-on experience through industry-sponsored and client-based capstone design projects. Since its inception, the Learning Factory has completed more than 1,800 projects for more than 500 different sponsors, and nearly 9,000 engineering students at Penn State University Park participated in such a project.

The Learning Factory

The Pennsylvania State University

University Park, PA 16802