Capstones provide undergraduate CSE majors with the opportunity to step outside the single-topic classroom to explore projects that involve multiple computing domains. Students must work together in teams to define the problem they have chosen, develop a solution plan, produce and demonstrate an artifact that solves the problem, and present their work using written and oral reports.  Class time focuses primarily on project design and implementation but may include lectures on the practical application of advanced topics.  The Allen School encourages cross-disciplinary projects that require interaction with other departments. A Capstone course is not simply an advanced course in a particular sub-area, nor is it an unstructured project course. A Capstone is designed to be a culmination of your learning, and a chance to develop and express many skills at once: For example, technical expertise and communication ability.

See what our students have to say about the hard work (and fun!) involved in the Capstone Experience.

The Top-10 Reasons to Take a UW CSE Capstone Course (1 minute)

Overview Montage UW CSE Capstone Courses (4 ½ minutes)

Capstone Goals

  • Projects must be large enough to require teams of several students to work on over one quarter.
  • Students must apply concepts from more than one sub-area of CSE (at the 300-level and above).
  • The work must involve a substantial design effort.
  • Students must present their work using formal oral presentations and written reports.
  • Efforts must culminate in an interesting, working artifact.

Links of Interest

Capstone Registration

Capstone pre-registration is now closed, but any open space will open during regular registration each quarter.

We'll notify people of their Capstone placement later in summer, and send add codes for Autumn Capstones. After this initial survey, any remaining space will open in the courses during normal registration. If you have further questions, please contact the advising staff at ugrad-advisor@cs.

Computer Engineering majors are required to complete a capstone course as part of their graduation requirements. Computer Science majors are encouraged to take a Capstone, although it is not required for CS. Every effort is made to assign students to one of their preferred capstones. An add code is e-mailed to all students signed up for a capstone prior to registration for the quarter in which the student is taking it.

2017-2018 Capstones


  • 481i Sound and Media Capstone: Bruce Hemingway
    • Pre-req: CSE 351, 332 and ideally one 400
    • This capstone will build projects utilizing computer audio and video techniques for human interfacing, sound and video recording and playback, encoding and decoding, synchronization, sound synthesis, recognition, and analysis/resynthesis. Projects may contain any types of media. Students will work in teams to design, implement, and release a software project utilizing some of the techniques such as those in the links below.

      We have two Oculus-VR development kits, two Tobii EyeX Eye-tracking Controllers, and 15 Leap Motion controllers for use in building musical/audio/media interfaces. We also have three Nvidia Jetson TX1 Developer Kits for high-performance Deep Neural Network learning and computer vision.

  • CSE/EE 475: Taught by EE faculty
    • Prereq: CSE 369 and 474


  • 460 Animation Capstone: Barbara Mones (note: requires application and admission in summer)
  • 481C Robotics Capstone: Prof. Maya Cakmak
    • Prereq: CSE 332; CSE 351; either CSE 331 or 371
  • 481H Accessibility Capstone: Anat Caspi
    • Accessibility Capstone
      Instructor:  Anat Caspi
      Prereq: (recommended) CSE 490D, (recommended) CSE440
      Note: this course has a DIV designation and fulfills the diversity requirement

      Accessibility is quickly emerging as a leading consideration for product design and engineering. Disability is part of the human condition – almost everyone will be temporarily or permanently impaired at some point in life, and those who survive to old age will experience increasing difficulties. Disability is complex and heterogeneous, and the technological interventions to accommodate different abilities are wide ranging and vary with context. Many familiar technologies like voice recognition, text-to-speech, and gaze detection were initially engineered to assist people with disabilities gain more access and increase participation in daily life. Students will work in interdisciplinary project teams that include community members with expertise on project needs. Groups will follow participatory design practices and apply design and engineering skills to create technology solutions that increase independence and improve quality of life for people of all abilities. Teams will complete one end-to-end product iteration cycle: ideation, design, specification refinement, prototype and usability testing.

  • 481 Prof. Xi Wang Cloud/Systems Capstone
    • Prereq: CSE 451
      Students will work in small project teams to build hypervisors and
      containers for cloud infrastructure using state-of-the-art
      virtualization technology.  We will be developing on Linux/KVM x86-64.
      Students are encouraged to explore the full software stack, from
      low-level systems programming to high-level web development.  We will
      also cover recent advances in secure hardware (e.g., Intel's SGX and
      AMD's SEV), performance optimizations, and debugging/profiling
  • CSE/EE 475: Taught by EE faculty
    • Prereq: CSE 369 and 474


  • CSE 428 Comp Bio Capstone: Spring 2017 Professor Larry Ruzzo
    • Prerequisites: CSE 312; CSE 331; CSE 332.  CSE 427 and a basic knowledge of biology are desirable, but *not* required; we will provide whatever background is necessary.

      Catalog Description: Design and implement a software tool or software analysis for an important problem in computational molecular biology.

      Molecular biology and genomics are being explosively transformed by availability of enormous datasets  arising from DNA sequencing and other high-throughput technologies, with data growth that is significantly outpacing “Moore’s law.”  This motivates (and demands) significant computational innovation to turn “data” into “knowledge.”  Students will work in small teams to develop novel tools and/or analyze data in this arena.  Past offerings of CSE 428 have produced widely-used web-servers for “DNA sequence motif” discovery in bacteria, tools for analysis of noncoding RNA, and de novo genome assembly, among others.
  • CSE 441: Human-Computer Interaction Capstone Professor Katharina Reinecke

    •  Prereq: CSE 440

      Students will work in groups of three or four on a single project that parallels the experience of delivering an interactive prototype within a company or with a customer. Students are expected to already possess knowledge of appropriate HCI methods, and will focus on independently applying those methods in the context of your project. There will therefore be little lecture material in this course. Course staff will instead work closely with students to critique and advise on their group project. Students will experience the end-to-end product cycle from design to deployment.

  • 481D Games Capstone: Zoran Popovic
    • Prereq: CSE 332; CSE 351; either CSE 331 or 371
  • 481NLP Natural Language Processing Capstone: Yejin Choi
    • Prereq:
      (required) CSE 490U (or 447, the new number for NLP, I think),
      (recommended) CSE446 (ML)
      Algorithms that deal with text or speech, either as inputs as outputs, are increasingly part of our everyday lives.  Systems that translate accurately between languages, read many documents and summarize or answer questions about them, and even hold conversations with us, are on the horizon. Successfully designing and implementing such systems requires understanding and integration of ideas from linguistics, statistics, and computation, and testing them rigorously requires a strong grasp of experimental methodology.  This capstone course gives hands-on experience with selecting a natural language processing problem and with crafting and evaluating a solution.
  • CSE/EE 475 Embedded Systems Capstone: Taught by EE Faculty
    • Prereq: CSE 369 and 474