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CS481 – Senior Design Project


CS481 – Senior Design project is a capstone course for our graduating seniors. Our students will get experience designing, implementing, and testing an assigned software artifact. Students will report their progress via documentation, meetings and demos with both the sponsor and instructor at regular intervals throughout the semester. 

Boise State University is not a software contracting firm and some projects may fail to deliver all of the requested features. The focus of this course is on the student learning outcomes as defined below.

  1. Analyze a complex computing problem and to apply principles of computing and other relevant disciplines to identify solutions.
  2. Design, implement, and evaluate a computing-based solution to meet a given set of computing requirements in the context of the program’s discipline.
  3. Function effectively as a member or leader of a team engaged in activities appropriate to the program’s discipline.

How do I Propose a Project?

Please review the sponsor agreement and fill out the project proposal template and e-mail it to by the dates specified below.

  • Fall 2019 – August 21, 2019
  • Spring 2020 – December 13, 2019
  • Fall 2020 – May 1, 2020

Proposal Staffing Steps

  1. The CS faculty reviews the proposal, identifies the required skills, and either approves or rejects the proposal
  2. Students rank all faculty-approved projects, indicating their preferences
  3. The faculty assigns students to a project by matching skills (evidenced by their 400-level electives) and preferences. Most teams consist of 2-4 students.
  4. The faculty sends out notifications to both students and sponsors

Not all proposals will be staffed with a student team.  The sponsor will be notified during the first week of class regarding the status of their proposal. If a proposal is not staffed sponsors are encouraged to submit again for the next available semester.

Project Fees

Project sponsors are asked to make a $1000 tax-deductible donation through the Boise State University Foundation, memo “Computer Science Department Fund (NR070)” to help defray our costs. Government agencies, non-profits, projects internal to Boise State, and the department’s existing donors are exempt. Project fee waivers can be granted for exceptional cases and are evaluated on a case by case basis by the course coordinator. 

Intellectual Property Considerations

All artifacts/code/etc. in CS481 are owned by the students.  As a sponsor you can request (in your proposal) that the student team release their code under an open source license. Boise State University has approved the MIT, BSD, GPL2, LPGL, and GPL3 licenses. You can read more about licensing at For proprietary options please reference the sponsor agreement.

Sponsor’s Responsibilities

Regular engagement  (every week) with the student team is the most critical responsibility of the sponsor.  Your team will ask you to participate in Sprint Planning and Sprint Review Meetings in which you will be asked to describe your business needs, prioritize those needs, and provide feedback on what the team constructed to meet those needs.  Students may also need to contact you outside of these meetings to clarify details or respond to questions that arise.

While the sponsor may provide guidance and a few key User Stories, the student team is usually responsible for writing the majority of the stories in the backlog.  We do this intentionally to provide students with the opportunity to define a product’s requirements.

Sponsors may need to provide specialized software development tools (e.g. an Apple Developer license), services (e.g. Amazon Web Services), libraries, or hardware (e.g. iPad, server) required to implement their product.