Course Description

Welcome to ESE Senior Design!
As instructors of senior design, we truly look forward to knowing you well over the “course” of the year and participating with you in every possible way to enhance your experience. 

We welcome any questions you may have – and we love team in-person or zoom meetings! Some of you have already been in touch and soon we hope to hear from all teams.  As you know, the ESE senior design course is a two-term sequence in electrical and systems engineering design. During the first semester of ESE Senior Design (1.0 cu) work will focus on building a lean prototype, planning alternative strategies, including engineering standards slide deck  (links to an external site) and an excellent Penn Libraries Resource curated for the ESE Senior Design as part of design, and determination (experimental or by simulation) of quantities necessary for a detailed design in the following semester. 

ESE Senior Design Class office hours information, dates, assignments and milestones, are on Canvas

Class Expectations

By the end of the Fall semester (ESE4500), an initial prototype of the hardware or the software system will be demonstrated in the Fall demo day in December. This demo will include drawings, circuit diagrams, a budget, and time schedule for project completion in the spring semester (ESE4510). During the second semester (1.0 cu), work will be directed to improvise and build on the lean version of the prototype. A final presentation and report will be made on the project. Both semesters include periodic project reviews and brief presentations. We strongly recommend that every team find a project and advisor/mentor as soon as possible.  August is a great time to lock in your project.  Potential Senior Design Projects are listed here (links to an external site) as well as projects from last year. Occasionally we will ask for team meetings if we have not heard from you.  Expect 1 team meeting every other week. 

ESE Senior Design Standards and Compliance

Engineering standards are important in senior design experience – it provides emphasis on constraints, stakeholder needs, and compliance that can result in a much more robust final product. Even though you may not be familiar with compliance with engineering standards, several technologies in use today will not be able to operate without strict guidelines (WiFi, 802.11 standards) from engineering standards. IEEE-SA, ASTM, AAMI, and ISO 9001 are some of the most well-known engineering standards organizations.
A helpful resource for conducting standards searches can be found at Penn Libraries, www., and discusses the value of standards.

As part of the requirement of ESE Senior Design your team will be required to explore and search for engineering standards that may apply to your project. Here is an excellent paper on including “Standards” in your capstone project.
Commonly found examples include:

  • Standards are required to comply with FDA requirements for the use of medical diagnostic products.
  • Management of patient data compliance (even if it is deidentified). This will be important to teams collaborating with UPHS or the School of Medicine.
  • Teams that collaborate with companies off campus that have  ISO 9001 design control standards in place. You may be required to follow documentation requirements from the sponsor company as well.
  • Teams that collaborate with a team of researchers who are associated with a proposed activity that constitutes “human research” will need IRB approval. See Penn’s approval page here.

You will indicate the Engineering Standards/Compliance as part of the Senior Design Report in Fall and Spring. The Standards should also be included in the final 8min presentation in spring (ESE 451), and the posters that will be displayed as part of the final demo day.  If the project does not fall into a standard that can be applied towards your project you need to explain it in your report. 

Competitions for Students Enrolled in ESE Senior Design

Course Outcomes

Read more about the skills, knowledge, and behavior that students are expected to have attained by the end of the sequence.

Course Units

ESE Senior Design, ESE4500 Fall (1.0 cu) & ESE Senior Design, ESE4510.

Assignments/Lectures (Please see Canvas site)

We strongly encourage you to participate in our Slack page for class discussion.

Instructor Team (2023-24)

Jan van der Spiegel <> and Sid Deliwala <>

Senior Design Resources

  • Potential Senior Design Projects
  • President’s Innovation Prize – Unique at both Penn and across higher education, the Prize underscores the University’s considerable commitment to encouraging students to put their knowledge to work for the betterment of humankind.
  • President’s Engagement Prize – The competition is open to traditional undergraduates in good academic standing in the College, Engineering, Nursing, Wharton, or LPS who have completed at least three-quarters of the credits needed for their baccalaureate degree.