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Capstone Design Projects

Capstone design projects provide an opportunity for student to apply the knowledge gained in their courses for the design of a complete engineering system in and environment and manner similar to actual industry practice.

  • Baja SAE® Series

    The Baja design project is a senior capstone design course where a student team designs an all-terrain vehicle to specific standards set by the Society of Automotive Engineers using a small engine for power. The students design, build and test the ATV in a year-long project that culminates in a major collegiate competition somewhere in the U.S. or Canada where at least 100 other universities from all over the world will meet to go through a rugged series of events including a four-hour endurance race over rough terrain.


    EcoCAR 3 is the latest U.S. Department of Energy Advanced Vehicle Technology Competition series. As North America's premier collegiate automotive engineering competition, EcoCAR 3 is challenging 16 North American university teams to redesign a Chevrolet Camaro to reduce its environmental impact, while maintaining the muscle and performance expected from this iconic American car.

  • Formula SAE® Series

    The Formula SAE® competition sponsored by SAE International® challenges students from across the globe to design and fabricate Formula-style race cars for the non-professional weekend autocross racing enthusiast and compete in international collegiate racing competitions to determine the best overall design, performance, cost, fuel efficiency, and production feasibility. Formula SAE® promotes careers and excellence in engineering as it encompasses all aspects of the automotive industry including research, design, manufacturing, testing, marketing, management and finance.

  • Industrial Outreach Program in Mexico

    Travel to Querétaro, Mexico, for eight weeks to earn nine credits toward your engineering degree by teaming up with Mexican students of similar disciplines and level, and gain industrial experience working full time on meaningful engineering projects with multinational companies in Querétaro. Student teams work under the advice of engineers from industry and faculty members from Mexico and the U.S. Local families provide room and board in a safe, healthy and friendly environment for a full cultural immersion. The program ends with a long weekend in Cancún.

  • Microgravity Research Team

    Student teams conceive, propose, design, build and test their own microgravity experiment. The experiments are designed according to weight, safety and size constraints set by the course instructor. Teams currently conduct their experiments under conditions of microgravity using the WVU Microgravity Drop Tower or aboard a general aviation aircraft. They reduce and analyze their experimental results, and write a technical report to document their results. In past years, WVU Microgravity Research teams have conducted their experiments aboard a NASA reduced-gravity parabolic trajectory research aircraft.

  • Robotics

    Robotics capstone course consists of a multidisciplinary team of researchers mostly from Lane and MMAE departments. The goal of the course is to demonstrate the ability to synthesize knowledge from their undergraduate education to design a robot (e.g., a planetary rover) that will meet specific performance criteria, such as size, speed, functionality, endurance, accuracy, efficiency, or other pertinent measures as determined by the project and the instructor. Robotics capstone course competes the University Rover Challenge conducted by the Mars Society

    Competitions Highlights:

    • In 2014, WVU Robotics team won first place in four different competitions
    • In 2016, WVU Robotics took top price at NASA Sample Return Robot Final Challenge
  • Design Build Fly

    For the past 20 years DBF Teams have been competing at annual AIAA Cessna/Raytheon Missile Systems Student Design Build Fly events. The objective of this course is to provide students with the knowledge of the fundamentals of unmanned aerial vehicle design, construction, and operation.

  • Flight Vehicle Design

    The objective of this course is to provide students with knowledge and experience in design of a major aircraft component and evaluation through experiments or simulation of performance and design requirements compliance. Specifically, the objectives are:

    1. Learn how to evaluate and respond to a given engineering design requirement for a major aircraft component.
    2. Learn key concepts related to aircraft component design, development, and testing.
    3. Learn basic organizational and communicative methods for effective engineering project management and product implementation.
  • Projects with Industry

    This is a capstone design course taken in the senior year where teams of students are assigned to tackle a real problem in an industry or institution in West Virginia. It may involve mechanical design of a system, thermal design of a system, or an energy efficient design for a building or institution. This course was identified as one of the top 29 programs in the US for the inclusion of real world engineering into the curriculum. It is supported by the West Virginia Division of Energy.