Capstone Design Project


During their final year, all UBC Civil Engineering students must complete a Capstone Design Project where they tackle real-world projects by using skills and knowledge they gained during their studies.

Teams of six students work on projects submitted by industry partners. These teams are supervised by faculty members, who act as technical directors who guide students to appropriate technical expertise.

Our Department will commit significant technical and financial resources to make this a successful partnership. We hope that your organization will commit in a similar fashion, to the extent that is feasible for you.

Read on below for detailed instructions on how to submit a proposal.

If you have any questions, please reach out to Dr. Yahya Nazhat at We look forward to hearing from you.

How to Submit a Proposal

Project Objectives

Emphasis is placed on a clear focus on the client’s needs, and disciplined adherence to professional design practices, including planning, scheduling, design documentation, risk management, and economics.

The main objective is to enable students to experience real life engineering problem solving, design, team work, project execution and management with opportunities to work in many specialist activities including:

  1. Engineering Construction and Project Management
  2. Geotechnical Engineering
  3. Structural & Earthquake Engineering
  4. Computer Application in Civil Engineering
  5. Transportation Engineering
  6. Water and Wastewater Engineering
  7. Environmental Engineering

Benefits to Your Organization

If accepted, your project will receive approximately 1,000 dedicated person-hours of time from students from the top ranked civil engineering school in Canada. Final deliverables may include a design report and documentations, depending on size and scope of project.

Other benefits to your organization may include, but are not limited to:

  • Exploration of research/development opportunities utilizing the expertise of UBC students, faculty, and staff
  • Access to computer facilities (including sophisticated design and analysis software)
  • Fresh new ideas, and a look at things from a different perspective
  • Access to expert technical personnel from UBC Civil Engineering
  • Engagement with the next class of new graduates to facilitate recruitment and networking
  • Exploration of products or services that are outside of your organization’s current business plan
  • Introduction, in-depth, of your organization to the UBC Civil Engineering academic community

Our Commitment to Resources

The Department of Civil Engineering at UBC commits instructional resources to support our students, as they become highly competent and enthusiastic engineers. Our duty is to provide each student with support and instruction in design, project management, communication, solution quality assessment, further enhance their metacognitive skills, and more.

Your Commitment

As the client, you define the problem, and you evaluate the solution.

Acting as a client for student teams is very similar to subcontracting a design to another firm.

The total time commitment is approximately 50 hours, though you are welcome to provide additional contact time for students if you wish.

Your commitment includes:

  • Defining the project. The design problem description should include an introduction, a project description, expected outcomes, a list of resources available, and a list of customer requirements. Our faculty supervisors will help you refine the problem description, and ensure the projects are feasible within the course scope.
  • Meeting with the students to further define the problem. Ideally, this would take the format of a site visit by the students. The visit allows students to better grasp your requirements, and to ask you questions.
  • Providing critical assessment of student deliverables, including the concept design and final report design reports.
  • If possible, attending the student’s final presentation and providing feedback.
  • Financial or in-kind support to the students; this may include:
  1. Reimbursement for students’ travel expenses from UBC to your office/project site,
  2. Your in-house costs involved in providing the students with some training in novel techniques required for the project
  3. Utilizing your database and/or in-house specialized software required for the project not normally provided by UBC
  4. Printing design report manuscripts
  5. Prizes in recognition of outstanding design team.

Submit a Proposal

Ready to submit a proposal? Fill out this form by August 8 and email it to to be considered for the 2023/24 cohort starting in September 2023.

Please note that due to limited space not all proposals will be accepted. To ensure you submit a quality proposal, follow these guidelines:

Introduction (Background Information)
Describe the magnitude and scope of the problem being suggested and make a reasonable estimate of the resources required. Give some background, including the reason(s) the project is needed.

Project Description and Project Main Objective(s)
Please explain the problem to be solved, refer to prior work conducted by your client(s) or others, and describe any constraints not included below.

Project Main Deliverable(s)
What is expected at project completion? Design report, documentations, drawings, a demonstration, a series of conceptual designs in CIVL445 and a preferred detailed design in CIVL446. If possible, list important milestones that could be used to track progress.

Resources Available from the Industry Partner
Please list financial, supervisory or other in-kind support that will be made available to the team. Note: these may be contingent on how well the students progress through the project.

Customer Requirements
Please list in order of importance your requirements (as envisioned at this stage) for the design in terms of deliverables, cost, and other considerations that may be specific to the application. Putting the criteria into two or three categories of importance is a good start. Please be specific by quantifying your requirements whenever possible.