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School of Engineering and Weapons
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Capstone Multidisciplinary Courses

Individual Department Capstone Courses


Aerospace Engineering

EA440 Aerospace Vehicle Design • EA469 Special Space Craft Design • EA470 Spacecraft Design

Electrical and Computer Engineering

EE411 Electrical and Computer Design I • EE414/EC415 Electrical and Computer Design II

Mechanical Engineering

EM471 Mechanical Engineering Design I • EM472 Mechanical Engineering Design II

Naval Architecture & Ocean Engineering

EN471 Ship Design I • EN476 Ship Design II • EN461 Ocean Systems Engineering Design I • EN462 Ocean Systems Engineering Design II

Weapons, Robotics and Control Engineering

ES401 Engineering Design Methods, • ES402 Systems Engineering Design • ES403/404 Engineering Design Methods

General Engineering

 EG471 Engineering Design I • EG472 Engineering Design II


Multidisciplinary Courses

EX485M Interdisciplinary Capstone Design • EX486M Interdisciplinary Capstone Design

Overview • Format • TimelineProject Selection • More Info


The capstone project, as the name suggests, is the culminating event in a student’s undergraduate educational experience.  Students are asked to define the scope of an open-ended problem, use the tools they’ve learned in previous courses to analyze the problem and evaluate alternatives, learn to manage a long-term project, and work as a team with their fellow students.  Inclusion of a capstone experience is mandated by the Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology (ABET) and is undertaken by all accredited engineering departments in the United States.

Each engineering department at the US Naval Academy offers a capstone design course.  The Multidisciplinary Capstone Design Courses are offered at the division level and can be taken by students of any engineering major who are interested in working on a multidisciplinary project.

Why offer a separate multidisciplinary course?
  • Many design processes are non-discipline specific
  • It more accurately reflects the reality of design work conducted in industry
  • It provides the opportunity to work on a wider variety of real-world projects
  • It allows us to bring a much broader scope of resources to bear on a single problem
  • It teaches students to appreciate and value the similarities and differences between themselves and students from other majors

Course Format

Each faculty instructor is assigned three to four teams and will stay with those students through fall and spring semester.  Their role is to mentor the team through the design process and help the team to manage their time, manpower, and resources.  Additionally, technical advisors are assigned, one faculty member per team, to assist the instructor and the team in completing the project. Technical advisors are paired with teams based on their knowledge of or experience with the associated subject matter.

During the fall semester, teams are provided instruction in project management and the engineering design process.  They work to define the problem, gather information about their customers, conduct a trade study to determine the state of the art, develop potential solutions, use analysis tools to predict the performance of those solutions, select from among them, and plan the prototyping process. During the spring semester, students fabricate designs, test them on the basis of their customer requirements, and redesign as time permits.  The final presentation for the course is given on Capstone Day, typically the last week in April.

Team Eagle Claw with Boeing UAV

Team Eagle Claw, the Boeing UAV capture team, includes student engineers in electrical, general, mechanical, and weapons and systems engineering


Engineering Design I (EX485M) and II (EX486M) is a two-course sequence, typically taken during a midshipman's first-class (senior) year.  However, project selection begins in the spring of a student’s second-class year, as shown in the table below.

Spring Semester February Initial project proposals
March Project selection and assignment
April Site visit and initial meetings
Summer Semester June - August Internship
Fall Semester September Problem definition
November Concept generation and selection
December Embodiment design
Spring Semester January Prototype demonstration
March Testing, evaluation, and redesign
April Capstone Day and final report submission

Project Selection

Click for details and deadlines to propose a future project.

Early in spring semester the Capstone Committee collects projects from current customers and potential future partners.  The result of the collection process is a list of potential multidisciplinary projects and associated summaries.  These summaries are made available to students with sufficient time to learn more about the project prior to selection.  In the meantime, the students form groups of approximately four and decide collectively which projects most interest them.  In mid-March, a project selection fair is held during which each group has a chance to bid for projects.  By the end of the fair, most teams walk away with a project and instructor assigned.  The benefit of selecting in March is that at least a month remains of the semester.  This gives new teams the opportunity to visit their customers prior to departure for summer break.  For teams working on a multi-year project, one team is able to turn the project over to the next.

Students from all majors within the division are invited to participate in the multidisciplinary courses.  Each department has approved the course to fulfill the capstone design requirement for each major.  Students from the Electrical and Computer Engineering and Mechanical Engineering Departments are signed up for the multidisciplinary course by default, however interested students can be approved to take other departments’ courses on a case-by-case basis.

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