Capstone Design

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Capstone Design is the culmination of the undergraduate student experience, creating a blueprint for innovation in engineering design.

Supported by numerous awards, Capstone Design provides Waterloo Engineering students with the unique opportunity to conceptualize and design a project related to their chosen discipline.

A requirement for completion of their degrees, Capstone Design challenges students in teams of four to push their own boundaries, and apply the knowledge and skills learned in the classroom and on co-op work terms.  It reinforces the concepts of team work, project management, research and development. Capstone is "entrepreneurial by design" fostering the entrepreneurial spirit that embodies Waterloo Engineering: an appetite for real-world problem solving, a willingness to test new ideas and the joy of shared invention.

Student projects, all of which are approved and evaluated by supervising faculty members, are often trademarked and steered toward commercialization during the Capstone Design phase, even before the students have completed their degrees. The University of Waterloo’s unique “inventor owns it” IP policy contributes to the successful commercialization of many projects. Ground-breaking ideas leading to the creation of Athos, BufferBox, Intellijoint HIP, Myo armband and the Pebble smartwatch had their geneses in Capstone Design.


Eric Migicovsky, Systems Design Engineering graduate, CEO and founder Pebble Technology

credits Waterloo Engineering’s design projects for giving him the skills to create his Pebble Smartwatch that smashed financing records in 2012. 

I can’t imagine what it’s like going through engineering without working on something like Waterloo’s fourth-year engineering projects.  If I hadn’t had that background where you’re working on short four-month schedules and building things, I wouldn’t be able to do what I’m doing now.

Eric Migicovsky

Ryan Denomme, Nanotechnology Engineering graduate and CEO, Nicoya Lifesciences

Managing your health via your smartphone and diagnostic tool from your pharmacy is the vision for Nicoya Lifesciences. The company was launched by Waterloo Engineering graduate Ryan Denomme, who developed a unique home diagnostic tool that may one day help screen for cancer, monitor your heart and diagnose infectious diseases.

Nicoya’s lab-on-a-chip technology began as a fourth-year nanotechnology engineering project and was further developed during Denomme’s master’s thesis at Waterloo.

This is all about the consumerization of health care. In the long term, this could mean earlier diagnosis of diseases, better monitoring of chronic diseases, and better therapy management, all of which improve quality of life, patient outcomes, and reduce healthcare costs.

Ryan Denomme