Senior Design or Capstone Projects are a common culmination to an engineering degree. The general consensus is that the projects are beneficial for the students by providing a helpful learning experience and portfolio boost.
Participation in a Senior Design Project can also be beneficial to the company sponsoring it. The course provides the opportunity to make progress on a project that might not otherwise get worked on due to lack of time or internal resources. Another benefit for partaking companies is gaining a few fresh pairs of eyes from the students, allowing for multiple different perspectives on potential solutions.
While these projects have clear benefits for students and companies alike, it is important to keep in mind that the results will not be perfect. Finding an optimum level of communication and creative control can be difficult, but the idea is that all parties involved gain something from the experience. Working with students and faculty in the Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering Department at UC Davis, we have had a number of positive experiences that keep us participating in the senior design project program year after year.