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One example of a capstone project in computer science would be developing a customized medical information system for a clinic or hospital. For a project of this scope and scale, students would work in a team to analyze requirements, design the system architecture, develop the necessary code and applications, implement security features, test all aspects of the system, and deploy it for real-world use at the medical facility.

In the initial phases, the student team would work closely with administrators, doctors, nurses and other medical staff at the facility to understand their detailed workflow processes, data storage and reporting needs, and systems integration requirements. This requirements gathering and analysis phase is crucial to understand all of the features and functionality that must be included in the custom medical information system. The team would document gathered requirements, perform gap analysis on current workflows versus desired future state, and prioritize features to ensure the system addresses top priorities and pain points.

With a comprehensive understanding of requirements in hand, the student team would then begin designing the system architecture. Key consideration would include decisions around database structure and schemas, backend application design using appropriate programming languages and frameworks, front-end user interface designs for various user roles (doctors, nurses, administrators etc.), integration with existing practice management systems or electronic health records if needed. Important non-functional requirements around security, privacy, performance, scalability and maintainability would also influence architectural design decisions.

Detailed documentation of the system architecture design would be created, covering database models, application component diagrams, interface wireframes, infrastructure requirements and more. Students would present and defend their proposed architecture to stakeholders to obtain feedback and approval before moving to implementation.

The implementation phase represents the bulk of effort for the project where students translate designs into working code and applications. Key activities would include:

Building out the backend applications using languages like PHP, Python, Java or .NET to implement the required functionality based on requirements and architectural designs. This includes developing APIs, business logic and integration layers.

Creating a frontend UI using HTML, CSS and JavaScript frameworks like React or Angular that adheres to user experience designs and provides role-based interfaces.

Setting up and configuring a database like MySQL, SQL Server or MongoDB based on the data models and architecting appropriate schemas, indexes, foreign keys etc.

Populating the database with sample test data including demo patient records, appointment schedules, insurance profiles and more to enable thorough testing later.

Integrating the custom system with other existing medical facility systems like practice management software or EHR products through pre-defined APIs.

Implementing security features like multi-factor authentication, authorization controls, encrypted data transfer and storage, input validation etc. based on a thorough security risk assessment.

Developing comprehensive installation, configuration and operation guides for medical staff.

Performing extensive testing of all functionality from different user perspectives to uncover bugs. This includes unit testing code, integration testing, user acceptance testing, load/stress testing and more.

Once development is complete, the student team would help deploy and launch the new medical information system at the partner medical facility. This includes performing the necessary installation and configuration activities, onboarding and training of medical staff, addressing any post-deployment issues, and measuring success based on defined key performance indicators.

Ongoing maintenance and improvements to the system over several months post deployment may also be part of the project scope, requiring the team to monitor system performance, implement requested enhancements, and resolve production issues.

In the concluding project phases, the student team would document the complete system development lifecycle and create a comprehensive final report. An oral presentation would be given to stakeholders highlighting achievements, lessons learned, future roadmap for the system and reflections on career readiness gained through such a hands-on capstone project experience.

An example medical information system capstone project as outlined above covers the full scope from requirements analysis to deployment, addresses real-world problems through technical solutions, and provides students an in-depth industry-aligned experience to showcase their cumulative skills and knowledge gained throughout their computer science education. Completing a complex project of this scale truly allows students to synthesize their learning and strengthens their career preparedness for jobs in both software development and healthcare IT fields.


Website/Web Application Development:
A very common capstone project is developing a full-stack website or web application from scratch. Some examples of web app capstones include:

An online marketplace application where users can list products for sale and other users can browse listings and purchase items. This would involve building a database to store product/user information, developing the front-end site using HTML/CSS/JavaScript, and creating backend functionality with a language like PHP, Python or Java.

A social networking site similar to Facebook where users can create profiles, share posts/photos, connect with friends, send messages. This encompasses building the database schema, designing interactive frontend interfaces, implementing authentication/privacy features.

A CMS (content management system) platform that allows non-technical users to easily manage and publish website content without coding knowledge. Capstone students develop an admin dashboard for managing pages/posts with a rich editing interface.

A web app for organizing and scheduling employee timesheets/time-off requests with management approval workflows. This integrated a calendar system, user roles/privileges, and administrative reporting features.

Game Development:
Creating a playable, fully-functional game is a popular choice that requires skills in computer graphics, simulation, AI and more. Examples include:

A 2D side-scrolling platformer game where the player navigates different levels, collects items, avoids obstacles and enemies. Implementation included sprite graphics, character controls, collision detection, level design.

A 3D first-person puzzle game set in a maze-like environment. Challenges involved 3D modeling/texturing game assets, scripting puzzle/level logic, developing the player character’s navigation abilities.

A multiplayer online battle arena (MOBA) game inspired by titles like Dota 2 or League of Legends. Developing the networked code for simultaneous multiple player gameplay across different devices presented difficulties.

An augmented reality (AR) application/game making use of a mobile device’s camera, GPS sensors to overlay virtual objects/characters onto the real world. Synchronizing the virtual and physical posed programming hurdles.

Data Analytics/Machine Learning:
Applying computing skills to analyze real-world datasets and build predictive models also constitute valuable capstone topics, for instance:

Building a recommendation engine for movies, books, music or products based on collaborative filtering of user preferences/behavior data. Techniques included developing similarity measures and generating personalized recommendations.

Analyzing social media data scraped from public Twitter/Facebook profiles to predict user demographics based on linguistic patterns in posts/bios. Natural language processing, data wrangling and machine learning models were essential.

Using satellite/weather station records to train a convolutional neural network that detects hurricanes/storms in satellite imagery with a high degree of accuracy. Gathering/preparing the image dataset along with deep learning implementation proved challenging.

Applying computer vision techniques to diagnose cancers/diseases by classifying cell images with transfer learning on pre-existing models. Evaluating accuracy on new medical imaging test cases required domain expertise.

Mobile App Development:
Designing and coding fully-functional mobile apps for Android or iOS to solve practical problems is another area of focus for capstone work, such as:

A workout/exercise tracking app allowing users to log their daily routines, view stats/progress over time. It leveraged device sensors, local databases and responsive layouts optimized for different screen sizes.

A “campus wayfinder” navigation app for a university utilizing indoor map data and beacon technologies like iBeacon/Eddystone to guide users between buildings. Developing the location services and overlaying directions was complicated.

An augmented reality travel guide app that superimposes virtual information/media about points of interest while live camera footage of a location is shown. Integrating device cameras, cloud databases and local caching consumed significant effort.

A photo management/sharing app allowing users to apply filters, edit photos and post to social networks directly from their camera rolls. Optimizing image processing performance across various hardware was problematic.

Effective capstone projects require extensive independent work to research, plan and implement sophisticated computing ideas from start to finish. While topics will vary between individuals/programs, web, mobile and game development, data analysis and machine learning represent common areas that allow students to demonstrate multiple acquired technical abilities through substantial applied programming challenges. The projects often yield tools and experiences directly applicable for future career paths or startup ideas. With a well-considered scope, ample collaboration and iterative problem-solving, these final year efforts can result in highly impressive demonstrations of technical competency for any computer science graduate.


A major capstone project in computer science would be developing a software application from start to finish. The student would come up with an idea for the app, design how it would work, select technologies to use like a programming language, database software, etc. Then they would spend the capstone timeframe writing the code to build out all of the functionality of the app according to the design. Some examples of software apps that could be built include:

A web or mobile app for a small business – Examples could include an app for a restaurant to allow online ordering and reservations, an e-commerce site for a retailer, a scheduling and task management app for a small construction company.

A game application – Students interested in game development could design and program a game like a puzzle, trivia, card, board or video game. This would allow them to showcase skills in areas like graphics, sound, gameplay mechanics, artificial intelligence, networking for multiplayer.

A data analysis or visualization tool – Examples may include an app to analyze customer data for trends and patterns, visualize financial data, map public datasets, or process scientific simulations. This gives opportunity to work with databases, programming algorithms, and data presentation.

An internet of things (IoT) device or system – Examples can be a smart home automation system controlling lights, thermostat, locks, a smart greenhouse environment controlling with sensors for moisture, temperature, a drone with camera and computer vision processing. This provides exposure to hardware, wireless communication protocols, embedded systems.

A resource sharing/marketplace platform – Examples include an on-campus ridesharing/food delivery app, tool/equipment rental marketplace, student tutoring/services marketplace, task crowdsourcing marketplace. Provides experience with payment systems, user accounts/profiles, reviews/ratings.

Another major capstone project type would be a large research study or paper involving:

Conducting a literature review on a topic like machine learning techniques, programming language trends, computer graphics, computer security to analyze the current state and make predictions. This demonstrates research abilities.

Implementing and comparing different algorithms (sorting, searching, modeling, etc.) to evaluate performance on standard benchmark datasets. This shows coding and analytical skills.

Proposing and prototyping a new technology, model, or approach through simulations/prototypes along with a risk analysis. Examples may include blockchain for recordkeeping, computer vision for medical diagnosis, natural language processing for personalized education. This provides innovative thinking experience.

Analyzing usage and privacy policies of major websites/apps by setting up accounts and cataloging data collection methods. This highlights privacy and ethical concerns understanding.

Designing a new computer architecture concept with performance/cost tradeoffs analyzed through simulations before hardware implementation. Shows systems design skills.

A few other examples of major capstone projects include developing:

A large website/web application with complex information architecture and collaborative functionalities.

Advanced computer security tools – Intrusion detection/prevention systems, encryption algorithms, malware analysis sandboxes, etc.

Scientific computing code libraries and parallelizable algorithms for high performance computing.

Low-level system programming projects involving operating systems, network protocols, embedded systems, database internals study.

A natural user interface with technologies like computer vision, speech recognition, haptic feedback, augmented/virtual reality.

Large-scale datasets and cloud-hosted data services/APIs for machine learning use cases.

In all of these capstone project examples, the key aspects demonstrated are independently researching and scoping a problem, designing technical specifications, implementing through programming and testing, documenting work, and presenting findings. The projects provide opportunities for hands-on learning beyond a traditional classroom setting to simulate real-world development experiences. By tackling ambitious yet achievable projects, computer science students can gain valuable skills and portfolio work to showcase their abilities to employers or graduate studies admissions.


Many capstone projects focus on creating apps or software programs to solve problems or make people’s lives more efficient. While these can be worthwhile learning experiences, they may not have a big real-world impact if no one actually uses the program after graduation. Some ways students can boost the impact of such projects include conducting user research to identify problems people genuinely want solved. Students should talk to potential users and get feedback before and during development to guide the project toward filling real needs. They can also spend time planning how to advertise the project and seeking partners who can help with distribution so it reaches those who would benefit from it after graduation. Thinking through challenges of adoption and scaling up can help turn even a small program into something with lasting value.

Another approach is to identify causes and communities students are passionate about and find ways their technical skills could help. For example, a student sensitive to food insecurity could create a website helping connect surplus food from grocery stores and restaurants with shelters and food banks in need. Or someone drawn to environmental protection may build a database and mapping tools to allow citizen scientists to track wildlife populations. Consulting experts at non-profits on the frontlines of issues students care about can point them toward the highest-impact technical solutions. Choosing projects specifically aimed at benefitting others is a great way to create lasting social value with their degree.

A couple related options are open sourcing projects so others may continue developing them, or working with academic researchers to address complex problems through data analysis and modeling. For example, epidemiological research on infectious diseases could leverage large data sets and ML algorithms created by students. Publishing code and results on public repositories encourages wider adoption and contribution from other developers. Partnering with university faculty also increases chances projects will integrate into ongoing long-term efforts rather than ending at graduation. Even if students don’t stay directly involved, their work can live on through these channels in ways that solve real problems.

For some students, the most impactful use of their technical abilities may be working for causes through non-technical roles after graduation. They can still leverage their capstone projects to explore such avenues. For instance, a student drawn to advocacy may interview local organizers to understand campaigns needing digital or data-focused strategies they could prototype. This allows applying CS skills to support work helping communities, which may indirectly influence the student’s longer term career path. Collaborating closely with grassroots leaders and frontline workers ensures projects actually meet needs and priorities of partners doing critical on-the-ground work.

Quality documentation also plays an important role in maximizing real-world impact. Thoughtfully commenting code, writing approachable explanatory materials and guides, and planning for knowledge transfer helps ensure others can understand and continue projects. Impactful projects don’t end at graduation but thrive by empowering new contributors. Quantifying outcomes through metrics, surveys, or pre/post research whenever possible demonstrates value to potential users, funders or future collaborators—critical for scaling solutions. Tracking engagement, user satisfaction and high-level achievements of projects over time shows where efforts make the most difference.

Computer science students can optimize their capstone projects for impact by authentically addressing pressing problems, actively seeking user and community input throughout development, prioritizing transparency through documentation and open approaches, pursuing long-term viability pathways like ongoing research or non-profit partnerships, and systematically measuring outcomes to refine approaches. With intention and collaboration, even individual student projects can develop into technical solutions with real staying power with benefits that ripple outward. The key is designing projects to outlive graduation by continuing to evolve and serve community needs.


Many capstone projects involve developing software applications to solve real-world problems. One example is a social networking application for senior citizens that was designed to help combat isolation and loneliness. The students conducted user interviews with seniors to understand their needs and pain points. They then developed a desktop and mobile application with features like photo sharing, local event calendars, group messaging boards, and video chat. The application was tested with senior focus groups and refined based on their feedback. The students wrote technical documentation, developed a marketing plan, and presented the project to potential community partners.

Another common type of capstone project is developing tools or systems to help non-profit organizations and local governments. For example, one group of students worked with a local food pantry to create a web application to manage their inventory and coordinate volunteer scheduling. The old paper-based system was inefficient and error-prone. The students designed a database to track all inventory items with expiration dates. They created an administrator interface to scan donations in and out, generate expiration alerts, and produce analytics on item needs. A client-facing section allowed volunteers to sign up for shifts online. The project helped the food pantry transition to a digital system and gain efficiencies to better serve the community.

Some students have worked on developing educational applications and games. One project was an interactive web-based science learning game for middle school students focused on environmental science concepts. The game incorporated interactive simulations, mini-games, and quizzes to teach topics like the carbon cycle, water pollution, and animal habitats. The students designed instructional frameworks aligned to state education standards. They leveraged game engines to create 3D virtual environments and programmed gameplay logic. User testing was done in local classrooms and feedback was used to refine the game experience. Upon completion, the website and game assets were handed off to a non-profit partner to continue developing and disseminating the educational resources.

In terms of platforms, many projects have utilized full-stack web development. For instance, one group created a web application for a local ambulance service to help coordinate emergency responses. Features included GPS-enabled vehicle tracking, call dispatching, automatic report generation and medical record integration. The backend was built with PHP/MySQL and included APIs to interface with external systems. The frontend utilized HTML5, CSS3, JavaScript and jQuery to create an interactive mapping interface, responsive forms and dashboards. Another project was a B2B e-commerce platform for a toy manufacturer to streamline ordering and fulfillment. It featured an inventory database, customer portal, admin controls, and integrated payment processing. Such projects aim to solve concrete business needs through full-stack software solutions.

Some students have focused their capstone projects on artificial intelligence and machine learning topics. For example, one group trained convolutional neural networks to classify dermatological diseases from patient skin image datasets. They explored techniques like data augmentation and transfer learning using models pre-trained on ImageNet. The goal was to develop a tool to assist physicians with diagnosis. In another project, natural language processing techniques were used to build a chatbot for career counseling. Students collected text conversations to train recurrent neural networks to understand intents and converse about topics like resume building, interview preparation and further education options.

Regardless of the technical focus, all Utica College computer science capstone projects emphasize real-world problem solving. Students work directly with partners in the community to understand needs, propose solutions, implement prototypes or minimum viable products, and ensure their work provides tangible value. Comprehensive documentation, presentations to stakeholders, and iterative development based on feedback are also important components of the capstone experience. The goal is for students to demonstrate both technical skills and soft skills like project management, communication and collaboration that are crucial for technology careers.