Document Type

Conference Proceeding

Publication Date


Publication Title

2018 Capstone Design Conference Proceedings


This study investigates engineering students’ transitions from academic to professional environments by examining the role capstone design courses play in preparing graduates for the workplace. To better understand how capstone design experiences contribute to graduates’ professional preparation, we are collecting data from participants from four different institutions with project-based capstone courses as they begin post-graduation positions in a variety of engineering workplaces. Through quantitative and qualitative methods, our study is designed to collect insights from participants in their first 12 months on the job. Currently we are collecting and analyzing data from the first of two planned cohorts of participants. Preliminary results for the participants in the first cohort point towards interesting trends regarding participants’ frequency of activities and perception of their preparedness. Professional skills such as team meetings were listed most frequently as activities engaged in by participants, and while there were particular areas such as budgeting where participants felt less prepared, overall their perception of preparedness indicates that capstone design courses and the larger engineering curriculum they are housed within are preparing students for professional careers.


learning transfer, professional preparation, capstone design, school-to-work transition

Creative Commons License

Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.


Licensed to Smith College and distributed CC-BY under the Smith College Faculty Open Access Policy.


Peer reviewed accepted manuscript.

Sponsoring organization: National Science Foundation

Included in

Engineering Commons



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