Undergraduate seniors in engineering have the chance each
year to show their creativity, ingenuity, and innovative spirit to the entire
UIC community—and the city of Chicago.
It all begins in the Senior Design course, a two-semester
sequence that allows seniors to gather all the knowledge and skills they’ve
acquired at UIC Engineering and put them to work to solve a real-world design
The projects our seniors take on range from the practical to
the fantastic. Recent projects have explored creating biodiesel from coffee
grounds, building devices to improve surgery, designing an HVAC system for a
four-story building, conducting traffic analyses for Chicago’s major highways,
and recommending musical selections for people via facial-recognition
Seniors then enter their projects into the annual
Engineering Expo, a conference-style event where students showcase their work
to peers, faculty members, and panels of judges who represent Chicago’s
Prizes are given: gold, silver, and bronze for the top three
projects, along with Globe Awards and Honorable Mention recognition for other
This year’s Expo will be held:
Friday, April 26, 2019
8:00 a.m. to 1:30 p.m.
Instructions for Students
All Expo participants must take the two-semester Senior Design sequence in their final year of undergraduate study. (See the undergraduate course catalog for the course code for your specific major.) The Senior Design course sequence gives you experience in managing a project from start to finish and applying your engineering knowledge to real design challenges. The Senior Design experience also will give you teamwork experience and develop your written and verbal communication skills.
Many projects that students produce in Senior Design are pre-arranged through the work of their faculty advisors. Students do have the opportunity, however, to take the initiative to identify their own project topic and sponsor.
In general, Senior Design projects must be design-oriented, well-defined, and achievable within an academic year. The design orientation is key—this is what distinguishes the project from other kinds of coursework and academic projects that students complete at UIC Engineering. This means that projects in which students serve as technicians or follow an existing recipe toward a solution are not appropriate.
Purely hypothesis-driven research typically does not qualify as design, but it may be possible to cast a more traditional research project in design terms with the approval and guidance of a faculty advisor.
In the research and development phase, your team will investigate an idea for a design concept, appropriately manage your time, and make the best use of available resources to realize your design as a presentation-ready concept. UIC Engineering and its various departments offer excellent support as you develop a prototype and proof of concept. Our students have access to the UIC MakerSpace, special memberships to the Chicago fabrication lab mHUB, and other resources that are specific to the academic departments. (We recommend that you ask your faculty advisor or other professors about what resources may be applicable to your project.)
You can purchase the materials you need for the research and development phase online or at a local hardware store, but you must first consult with your academic department to find out what the procedures are for budget and purchasing. Your faculty advisor and the department’s student affairs staff are good places to start. Please note that reimbursements are not allowed, so you cannot simply buy items yourself and expect to be reimbursed by the college or department. Proper purchasing procedures must be followed.
Here are some examples of sources of supplies:
- Adafruit (electronic supplies)
- CDWG (computer supplies)
- Cole-Parmer (lab supplies)
- Fisher Scientific (lab supplies)
- Global Industrial (industrial supplies)
- Grainger (industrial supplies)
- McMaster-Carr (industrial supplies)
- Mouser (electronic supplies)
- Office Depot (office supplies)
- RobotShop (robotics supplies)
- Sigma-Aldrich (lab supplies)
- Sparkfun (electronic supplies)
- VWR (lab supplies)
The budget for each Senior Design team is announced at the start of the term. The BioE department will assist in placing orders. A minimum of $35 per order is required, and all orders will be shipped to the department’s main office in SEO 218. You will be notified via email when items are ready for pickup. Please note that the group budget is for project supplies and your Expo poster ONLY, and that paying for food and meals is strictly prohibited.
Submit your orders by emailing links/quantities, carts, or wishlists (directly from vendor websites) to firstname.lastname@example.org. Do not send screenshots or pictures, as the department staff will need to be able to copy and paste. Include your group name and number in the subject line of your email. The amount of your order will automatically be deducted from your group budget.
Please note that the department can only use vendors that are available in in the university purchase order system (iBuy) or via our Amazon Business account. If an iBuy vendor has the item available within a comparable cost, we will order in iBuy. Please email email@example.com with any questions.
Plan ahead and start ordering early, because supplies will be delivered via the most economical shipping option, which often is the slowest. Expedited shipping may be allowed on case-by-case basis as Expo approaches but cannot be guaranteed.
Depending the parameters of your project, you may need access to specialized facilities such as machine shops, C&T rooms, and electronics labs. Your project sponsor is an ideal source of guidance for facilities questions. Also, keep in mind these campus resources:
Expo is held each year in April at the UIC Forum on campus. Students must block out a significant portion of time that day for setup, for the run of the event (8:30am to 1:00pm), and for breakdown and cleanup. You will receive more instructions from the Expo organizers well in advance of the event.
Send any questions about Expo to Simona Narubin in the College of Engineering’s undergraduate affairs office: firstname.lastname@example.org or 312.996.5986.