Senior Design Project Competition

Each year, the Penn Engineering Alumni Society sponsors a Senior Design Project Competition for undergraduate engineering seniors at Penn Engineering. This competition assembles together the winning senior design project teams from each of Penn’s engineering majors.

Each of these design teams presents their accomplishments to a panel of “real world” judges who collectively represent a diverse set of technology disciplines. Having already received departmental accolades for technical achievement, this Senior Design Project Competition now challenges each team to succinctly articulate their design project’s objective, strategy and results to a diverse audience. As such, of chief importance in this competition is the ability to clearly communicate complex subject matter to those who are not experts in that subject matter.

Competition Judging Criteria:

Each project/presentation is limited to 15 minutes including setup and questions and answers. The project/presentation will be judged using the following four criteria:

Project Criteria

Prior to their presentation, each student is required to submit by e-mail to Brad Richards a word document containing a project overview. The overview should be single-spaced, 12-point font, 250 words or less. Project title, department and author name(s) are to be clearly indicated at the top of the sheet. Project overviews will be used to inform the judges of the important aspects of the project by providing a brief background, a statement of the problem, methods used with results, and conclusions.

Communication (40%)

The team’s ability to effectively convey to the audience their project’s objective, approach and conclusion is weighted the highest in this competition. Verbal communication, diagrams, demonstrations, etc. can all be used to explain and support the project’s design objective. Each member of the team is expected to participate to some extent in the presentation, either verbally or as a demonstrator, just as they were required to participate in the project itself.

TIP: It is strongly recommended that teams do not give the same presentation they gave to their respective departments. The judges comprising this competition hail from a wide variety of technology and industry backgrounds. As such, while they are all technically savvy, teams should not expect them to be subject matter experts in the team’s particular field of study. Each team may therefore want to consider modifying their departmental presentations to fit the broader nature of this audience.

Design Approach (30%)

Scoring in this category is based on a team’s design approach. Specifically, how well did a team achieve its stated design objectives through implementation of a technically sound strategy.

Results and Support (30%)

Scoring in this category is based on several criteria. First, how well do the technical data and, if provided, cost analyses support the outcome. Second, how successfully does the design outcome achieve the objective of the stated design objective. A team’s ability to succinctly and clearly articulate what was accomplished is crucial.

More Information

The 2021 competition will be held virtually the week of Friday, May 3rd with a virtual award ceremony tentatively scheduled for Tuesday, May 11th. See information about past competitions.

If you are interested in serving as a Senior Design Project Competition judge, please contact Brad Richards, Director of Alumni Relations.

Prizes and Distribution

1 – 1st Prize $800
1 – 2nd Prize $400
1 – 3rd Prize $200
Honorable Mentions Certificate recognition (no financial award).

Dress code for contestants:
Professional attire recommended.


Contact the Office of Development and Alumni Relations: 215-898-6564

Jay Olman
Senior Design Project Competition Chairman