The practicum is a capstone course for students in Carnegie Mellon Silicon Valley's master's degree programs. Practicums offer an educational opportunity for students to work for corporate clients doing real-time work, under the guidance of faculty, to analyze problems, negotiate requirements and scope, and manage the customer relationship, in addition to solution development. The experience integrates all of a student's previous coursework.

2014 Sponsors

  • IBM: Risk Analysis 
  • NASA: TrailScribe electronic field notebook
  • Origami Robotics: RomiboWeb
  • Ford Silicon Valley Labs: Open Source iOS Application for OpenXC Platform

2013 Sponsors

  • Google: Interactive Spaces
  • Propellor Labs: Open Source Guacamole, Audio Channel for VNC Connections
  • Stanford University Libraries: LOCKSS
  • City of Palo Alto Office of Emergency Services: Survivable Social Network

2012 Sponsors

  • NASA: Mapmixer
  • The Boeing Company: Agile Process to Evaluate Aerospace Specification
  • Ericsson: Blitzy
  • CMU-SV: Big Data - Applying Machine Learning Techniques to Social Network Datasets

2011 Sponsors

  • NASA: Orbital Refinement and Bundle Adjustment: Research Advances in Lunar Topography
  • NASA Intelligent Robotics Group: GeoCam Cover App
  • NASA GeoCam Project: GeoCam Talk and GeoCam Memo
  • Honda Research Institute: Human-Robot Dialogue on Robot Operating System
  • Stanford University Libraries: LOCKSS
  • RIM: LifeLogger
  • SETI: Informational Displays for User Participation
  • CMU-SV, Disaster Management Initiative: Disaster Management Over Disruption-Tolerant Networks
  • CMU-SV: Human-Robot Interaction: Gesture Recognition

2010 Sponsors

  • Google: Personal Indoor Navigator
  • Panasonic: Neko
  • Codective: Crowd-sourcing Software Development
  • SecuriMobile: Approval Service

Previous practicums (2002-09)

  • Accelere Systems: validate current business plan, assess business strategy, develop financial outlook
  • Lockheed Martin: Rainbow SORDA Service-oriented Architecture: persistent sensing in a heterogeneous environment using pervasive computing
  • CommerceNet: write a general purpose microformats “crawler” to used in a new search engine
  • Ericsson: create a mobile health application that gives users the ability to electronically receive a prescription from a doctor, locate nearby pharmacies, and contact family and friends according to where users are currently located and their willingness to be reached
  • Intel: CRM migration planning; create a prototype plan to support our proof of concept needs on SAP CRM
  • SAP Labs: develop a proof of concept model for secure messaging within Software-as-a-Service (Saas) using identity-based encryption (IBE)
  • Sun: compare and contrast various open source and commercial tools for use in rapid Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) user interface (UI) prototyping

Benefits of practicum sponsorship

Sponsoring a practicum allows your company to engage our students to help examine and solve problems. Your organization should identify a problem with an engineering or business solution and select team members to function as the “client” for a student team. Start-up companies may find the practicum to be a particularly useful and unique method for solving their business and software problems in a timely manner by utilizing student resources to augment a start-up staff.

Contact our practicum advisors:

Sponsoring a practicum

Interested in becoming a practicum sponsor and engaging students to solve a problem? Key steps involve:

  1. Provide a clear and concise project description and realistic goals that can be met within the semester-long practicum session.
  2. Discuss with the faculty advisor to see if your project is feasible.
  3. Conscientiously work with the team to ensure success
  4. Resolve any IP, confidentiality issues or restriction on presentation/paper details well before the start of the practicum. For example:
    • NDAs and PSAs with students take time for approval
    • Extra NDAs to allow faculty to observe will take time for approval
  5. Provide any necessary software and hardware prior to the start of the practicum.
  6. Review all submitted deliverables and provide timely feedback.
  7. Commit to several hours each week to work with the team and the project, including:
    • Weekly meetings (several times a week initially; a minimum of once a week thereafter); these meetings may include working sessions and project management tasks
    • Communications (student questions and clarifications)using email and other medium
    • Allow faculty/instructors to observe the students' interaction with the sponsor/client from time to time during the project
    • Feedback to the practicum faculty for academic evaluation purposes at the end of the semester
    • Ideally, participate in the final student practicum presentations

How do I know which program’s students will be a good fit?

  • Software Management (MS SM) students
    • perform market and competitive analysis, and develop requirements; gain key insights into software businesses and organizations
    • Contact Gladys Mercier
  • Information Technology (MSIT) students
    • gain the strategic thinking skills and insight that are essential for technology leaders in today's competitive business environment.
    • Contact Aleecia McDonald

Multi-disciplinary sponsored projects

Real-world experience is a critical part of the Carnegie Mellon academic experience, and graduate students at the Silicon Valley campus have several opportunities to assist faculty, researchers and partners in exploring key opportunities and challenges in technology and developing new ideas. These projects are optional, but can be a valuable addition to a student's educational and professional experience.

Connecting with outside organizations is also an important part of preparing students for successful careers. If your company would like to get involved with a CMU-SV team, please consider engaging with a student team.

Team research projects

Industry partners are welcome to sponsor projects in existing SV campus courses or submit original ideas for research or project work for a team of students. Multi-disciplinary projects are typically offered for credit, as part of an independent study curriculum arranged by students and faculty advisors. They may include students from any of the graduate programs offered at the Silicon Valley campus, with many different backgrounds and interests, at any point in their course of study. Teams may be any size; students work 10-20 hours per person per week.

  • Projects vs practicums: Practicums are held during specific semesters for each academic program. Teams include a set number of students from within the same program and are more closely directed by faculty advisors.

All proposals must be reviewed and approved by SV campus administration and faculty. Inquiries and project submissions may be made at any time, although students may not be available immediately. Contact Jennifer Feyrer for more information.