Carnegie Mellon University

17-678 MSIT Project II

MSIT Project II is a 24 unit full semester course.

The MSIT Project is the capstone demonstration by the student of their abilities as a software engineer.

The purpose of the MSIT Project is for you to demonstrate command of the material learned in the core and electives courses you have taken. You will do so by solving a substantial practical problem in a realistic setting. Your focus will be to understand a major aspect of the software development life cycle in detail.

While the MSIT Project is intended for individual students, it may be completed in very small teams of no more than three people. All member of the team must have completed the core courses in the MSIT program. A team project must be more significant in scope than a project by an individual.

The MSIT Project may be completed on campus or off campus at your place of work.

The steps for the MSIT Project are

1. Propose a project. This will take the form of a formal document and will be considered the first deliverable of the project. The proposal must include
  • an executive summary
  • a definition of the work to be completed, including
    1. deliverables*
    2. timelines
    3. reviews
    4. final report
  • two advisors (A technical advisor who can evaluate the content of your work and a Carnegie Mellon faculty mentor who will evaluate the correctness of your process.)
  • a proposal of how you want the grade to be generated from the MSIT Project material
2. Discuss the project. Discussions will take place with the student's faculty mentor, technical advisor, and pertinent work supervisor (in the case that the MSIT Project is done off-campus and in cooperation in with the student's employer).
3. Receive approval. Approval usually occurs after all parties involved have agreed on the proposal and deliverables, clarified issues that may have arisen in the proposal process, and contact between the mentor and the advisor has occured. Approval must be in writing from the Carnegie Mellon faculty mentor.
4. Begin the project. Students are to report periodically to their faculty mentor and technical advisor.  
5. Deliver a report that addresses the strengths and weaknesses of the technique in the chosen domain, and relate what went both well and poorly throughout the MSIT Project experience.

An alternative to the outlined MSIT Project is to participate in the development phase of an existing MSE studio project. The deliverables are the work performed as part of the studio project in addition to a specialized area of the software development process on which you would report.

If you decide to work with an MSE team must, you still must submit a proposal for evaluation. In addition, the team must agree to your participation. You will need to participate in the end of semester presentation and the final products for the MSE project.

*Deliverables will always include a report which addresses the strengths and weaknesses of the technique in the chosen domain and relates what went well and what did not.

Guidelines for the MSIT Project

Example of a MSIT Project  proposal

MSIT Project Proposal Form (MS Word format)

Examples of previous MSIT Projects

How to Write an Executive Summary

Crafting a Powerful Executive Summary


  • Successful completion (with a grade of "B" or better) of the five Software Engineering MSIT-SE core courses. It is preferable to have completed all the electives prior to starting the MSIT Project. At least two months before the student enrolls in the MSIT Project, he or she must obtain departmental approval and complete a project proposal as described in the Guidelines for the MSIT Project.