All ECE students in their senior year are required to work in teams on a real world project or problem. The goal is to develop and hone their problem solving skills, help students learn the design process and troubleshooting, and develop communication and interpersonal skills. To these ends, students are responsible not only for developing a working prototype of a device, or an improvement on an existing one, but to also provide written and oral reports. Completed as a course (EE 4951W), the semester long experience for students culminates in the senior design show held at the end of the semester where students showcase their projects to an audience of other engineering students, faculty, industry experts, and lay individuals.
Projects originate both from industry and from faculty sponsors, often requiring interdisciplinary efforts, and typically having multiple paths for solution and implementation entailing trade-offs between performance, cost, and manufacturability.
We invite corporate participation in the senior design project experience. Companies or other entities can engage in it in two ways—by sponsoring a project, and/or by judging the senior design show.
Sponsorship of an ECE Senior Design Project
ECE is very keen on partnering with corporate and other entities within and outside the University of Minnesota to provide our students with real-world design problems and experiences. The guidelines for sponsorship are provided in Senior Design Guidelines for Corporate Support. These guidelines will provide you with information on the background, expectations, and procedures for such projects.
If you or your company is interested in exploring this opportunity, please contact Prof. Bill Robbins at 612-626-6722 or email him at
ECE Senior Design Show Judging
At the end of each fall and spring semesters, the Department of Electrical Engineering, and the Department of Mechanical Engineering (ME) host the Senior Design Show. The show is a platform for senior design students to present the projects they completed in EE 4951. Volunteer judges from the ECE and ME departments, and industry observe the displays, view the demonstrations, and question the students. Based on these three aspects, the judges rate the projects. Judges have the opportunity to view student creativity, and engage with project teams, while students get a sense of corporate/real-world expectations. If you would like to be a senior design show judge, please contact Frances Wood at
Format of the ECE Senior Design Course
Senior Design is a four-credit, semester-long course for students in their senior year, with the objective of providing students with a real-world, team-based design experience through which they develop an appreciation of design methodology and team dynamics, and refine their oral and written communications skills. Each team of 4-6 students participates in solving an open-ended design problem starting with the development of well-defined project requirements/specifications and concluding with a functioning prototype. Projects originate from both industry and faculty sponsors, often require interdisciplinary effort, and typically have multiple paths for solution and implementation entailing trade-offs between performance, cost, and manufacturability.
Honors Senior Design is a four-credit, 2 semester-long equivalent of Senior Design. In this sequenced set that begins in fall and ends in spring, students work on individual projects under the guidance of a Faculty Advisor. The project is independently designed, resolved and delivered, often with a research focus, although otherwise aligned with Senior Design.