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ECE 415-416 Senior Design Project (SDP)

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UMass Amherst

College of Engineering

Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering

 ECE 415-416 Senior Design Project (SDP)


About SDP

The Senior Design Project in the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering was established in the Fall of 1992 as a capstone activity for its electrical engineering students.  In Fall of 2003, computer systems engineering students began participation in SDP, so that present class size ranges between 80 to 100 students.

SDP instruction begins in the 2nd semester of the third year when students self-form into teams and make project proposals.  At the end of this semester teams are formed, and projects and Faculty advisors assigned.

ECE 415-416 (SDP) formally begins in the Fall of the fourth year.  With projects in-hand, the student Teams are instructed in an all-class format on elements of engineering design and project management.  Each Team produces a Problem Statement, System Block Diagram and System Specifications to define the scope of their project. Team progress is monitored, and feedback given at four design reviews conducted during the academic year.  These reviews are conducted one-on-one between Teams and Faculty Review Boards comprised of 3 to 4 ECE Faculty members.  The final projects are demonstrated, typically in late April, before Faculty Review boards at the Comprehensive Design Review, and displayed to the University Community on SDP Day. 

The Senior Design Project Lab is located in Marcus 10-12, where each Team has a fully-instrumented lab bench with computer and sufficient CAD tools.  The Lab is open twenty-four hours a day, seven days a week, and is staffed by a full-time technician. The lab has specialized instruments, stocks of common electrical components, CAD software for printed circuit board design, and a specialized re-work station for modifying printed-circuit boards with capability for surface-mount components. Each Team has a budget of $500.


Potential SDP clients (suggest-a-project) are encouraged, and  potential donors are invited to contact us to discuss ways of contributing to our Senior Design Project.