Submit a Project


Project submissions for spring 2024 will be accepted through December 8.  Click the blue Submit a Project to begin.  Contact Mr. Jesse Torba 814-863-1229 or ( with questions or to discuss project ideas.

Before submitting a project for the Capstone Design program, it's important to understand what makes a project successful.

The ideal project is the design of a product, process, software, or service that involves technical analysis, financial justification, and prototyping. This is an excellent opportunity, for a minimal investment, to investigate the potential for that "back burner" idea that has been sitting on your desk. Projects need to have a strong design component with clear, well-defined objectives to provide the students with an ideal starting point and allow them to keep focused. The required project work must be sufficient such that it may be handled by a team of 4-6 students within one 15-week semester. See examples of past projects for additional insight into the scope and types of projects that work well for our students. 


Project Sponsorship Support

To support project expenses, sponsors make a donation of $4,000 to the College of Engineering. Of that $4,000 donation, up to $1,250 is made available to the team for supplies and travel necessary to complete the project in the current semester of the project. Another $1,250 covers Learning Factory expenses, with the remainder covering instructional and facilities costs on the academic department level.


Project Prototypes, Intellectual Property Agreement, and Confidentiality Agreement

Prototypes become the property of the sponsors, subject to limitations outlined in PSU Policy BS07 Authority and Procurement.  PLEASE READ THE POLICY SO YOU ARE FULLY AWARE OF WHAT TO EXPECT.  Some materials/supplies purchased for the project could be subject to remaining with PSU.  

Some projects may incur additional expenses depending on a sponsor's needs for Intellectual Property & Confidentiality. Once a team has been formed and starts working on a project, part of the donation can be submitted as a tax-deductible contribution to Penn State. Additional expenses to support the program are provided by the College of Engineering and sponsor donations.


Sponsor Involvement

Sponsor involvement is essential to the success of the Learning Factory and the College of Engineering's Capstone Design program. Sponsors are expected to identify a liaison to serve as the team's point-of-contact for the project for the semester. We rely on our sponsors to fully engage their project teams during the semester and help us "hold their feet to the fire." We find the more time sponsors invest in the project, the more they get out of it.

The sponsor liaison should plan on:

  • attending the Project Kick-Off Meeting (2nd week of the semester)
  • providing additional details beyond the one-page Project Description
  • facilitating visits from the project team, if necessary (2nd-3rd week of the semester, later if needed)
  • interacting regularly with the team via tele- and/or video-conferences, weekly memos, etc.
  • reviewing reports and providing feedback from an industry point of view
  • evaluating the students' performance (part of the final)
  • attending the Design Showcase (last week of the semester) 
  • demanding constant professionalism and a high level of performance from the students


Project Deliverables

Depending on the nature of the project, the deliverables may include any or all of the following:

  • Technical reports (concept, preliminary, detail)
  • Feasibility studies, engineering analyses
  • Competitive benchmarking
  • Engineering drawings and specifications
  • Prototypes and preliminary hardware
  • Computer programs, simulation models, data
  • Manufacturing or service delivery process plans
  • Presentations, animations, videos, demonstrations
  • Final technical report, poster, and one-page summary

Each project will typically involve a team of 4-6 students over a 15-week semester. Considering that students will also be taking other courses at the same time, this equates to approximately 400 person hours of effort devoted to the project. Results from student teams are highly dependent on the nature of the project, the innate team capabilities, the amount of client interaction and support, and many other variables. No guarantees can be made, other than the students will give it their best effort. Often, a project provides direct and immediate benefits to the sponsor. Another common outcome is a good concept, but further work is required (either by a follow-on project, or by the sponsor's in-house staff) to bring the project to fruition. Again, we find that the more sponsors put into it, the more they get out of it. 

From Our Sponsors

Click here to read what our sponsors have reported as the many benefits from their involvement with the Learning Factory and the College of Engineering's Capstone Design Program.  

  • Submit a Project
professional report cover

Project Submission

Project submissions for spring 2024 will be accepted through December 8.  Click the blue Submit a Project button above to begin.  Contact Mr. Jesse Torba 814-863-1229 or ( with questions or to discuss project ideas.

Check out the Projects from Spring 2023

Click here to view the Spring 2023 Virtual Showcase

From Our Sponsors

Read the many benefits reported by sponsors from their involvement with the Learning Factory and the College of Engineering's Capstone Design Program.




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