WHAT IS CEnvE capstone?

CEnvE is the two-semester capstone course series for seniors in the Civil Engineering (CE) and Environmental Engineering (EnvE) program. Students work in teams to address complex and multidisciplinary problems given to them by a client. Projects originate as problem or needs statements submitted by local, state, and federal agencies, municipalities, non-profits, engineering design competitions, or UVM Staff and Faculty. Students investigate the client’s needs and create an engineering design that solves the client’s problem or unmet need.


There are many reasons to sponsor a project and participate in CEnvE, depending on your perspective:

Governmental organizations:

  1. CEnvE projects offer the opportunity to work directly with senior level students who will soon enter the engineering workforce.
  2. The organization gets to take a long-standing problem off the back burner with minimal effort from existing staff.
  3. The organization can explore a new idea or concept only needing limited existing staff resources to investigate and develop.
  4. Engineers and scientists in these organizations usually consider the project interaction with students a welcome addition to their more typical duties.

Non-Governmental organizations or Non-Profits:

  1. CEnvE projects offer the opportunity to solve a problem for your organization that you may not be able to afford using traditional engineering resources.
  2. The organization can evaluate a new idea or concept they don’t currently have the skills to investigate, engineer, and design.

Staff and Faculty:

  1. CEnvE projects offer an opportunity to work with small groups of undergraduate students who share a passion for your area of research.
  2. The students can advance engineering related design or research toward an outcome to be described in a well-defined project investigation report.

Engineering Design Competition Sponsors:

  1. Support innovation in an area of interest and need.
  2. The competition creates an opportunity and motivation for advancing a special initiative via a defined project goal over the course of an academic year.


If you are interested in sponsoring a CEnvE project, you can submit your project idea directly via the following link, CEnvE Project Submittal. This link will bring you to our project management software EduSourced used for the course. A user login is required to submit and track all projects. If you have submitted projects in the past, you should use the same account to submit additional projects.

If you have specific questions about the program or want to discuss a project idea prior to submittal, contact the CEnvE program instructor via jelens@uvm.edu.


All projects submitted via the project management software are reviewed by the capstone course instructor. The instructor will work with the client to verify the scope, complexity, schedule, and desired outcomes/deliverables are appropriate for the course and students’ skill level. Once details have been agreed upon, the client and UVM discuss the project Letter of Understanding (LOU). The LOU agreement outlines the expectations of both the client and the student team for the duration of the course. At this point the project is considered Accepted and awaits selection by students. At the beginning of the Fall Semester, the projects are presented to the students who rank the projects in order of interest. The instructor subsequently assigns students to projects, based on students’ interests, background, and applicable skills. If your project has enough interest, it will become active and the student team will start working on your project. We cannot guarantee that all projects will move forward.


The client agrees to assign a liaison to the project who will attend a CEnvE project kickoff meeting with the student team. The liaison is required to regularly communicate with the students and promptly supply information to students when needed. The client liaison needs to review and approve the students’ proposed scope, deliverables, and schedule proposal and support communication between UVM and the client. The liaison is to provide three separate design reviews through the two-semester sequence. In addition, we invite the liaisons to attend the UVM Design Night event at the end of the spring semester to support their design team and the other CEnvE projects.

We ask clients to recognize these are students who are learning the engineering design process. They are asked to meet the needs of the client and the course, which do not always align perfectly. We appreciate your willingness to allow for some flexibility in this process, making the learning process as rich as possible.


There is no formal fee structure. We welcome sponsorship funding from clients, on a voluntary basis, such as to help reimburse students’ travel expenses to project sites and costs of project-specific consumables. We recognize that sponsorship funding is not possible for some clients and appreciate that their time spent interacting with the students is a valuable non-monetary form of sponsorship.


In the fall semester, students will:

  • Investigate the problem/need to understand the client’s needs from the student project
  • Investigate existing standards of practice and new developments in that area of practice
  • Develop a scope of work, deliverables, and schedule for client review and approval
  • Obtain background information, relevant field data, perform lab tests, and prepare a background/data/needs report
  • Provide a Preliminary Design Report with alternatives and their recommended design concept

In the spring semester, students will:

  • Review alternatives with the client and confirm the client’s preferred final design concept
  • Perform engineering to expand upon the chosen final design concept
  • Develop a cost estimate and identify project permitting requirements
  • Prepare final design plans and a corresponding Final Design Report
  • Present the project at the Design Night program at the end of the semester
  • Present the project in a Final Design Review session to the client, outside reviewers, faculty and students at the end of the semester