Student Guide

As students near completion of the Bachelor of Science in Computer Science and Software Engineering, they must enroll in a 10-credit capstone course.

CSS 497: Capstone consists of a final project that further enhances and exemplifies the experience at the University of Washington, Bothell. The following series of steps need to be completed to satisfy the Capstone requirement of the Computing & Software Systems Program.

Are You Eligible to Enroll into CSS 497?

Students must be considered eligible before they can register for CSS 497. Eligible students have completed all of the CSS core classes:
CSS 301, 342, 343, 350, 360, 370, 422, 430 and a minimum of 10 credits of CSS elective courses. Under certain circumstances, a student who has yet to complete one or two of these requirements may petition to register for CSS 497. For further information on starting the Capstone early, contact the CSS Program Office.

Getting Started: What You Need to Know

The Capstone requirement is 10 credits, which is equivalent to a 400 hour project. To complete the project in one quarter, students would need to complete 40 hours per week for ten weeks.

Projects must be considered challenging for an advanced CSS student, well-defined, and utilize competencies gained in the CSS core and CSS Elective courses.

Due to the length of some projects, it is possible, upon the approval of the CSS faculty advisor, to divide the Capstone over two or more quarters. If a project extends over two or more quarters, students may need to prepare a status report for evaluation and grading by the faculty advisor.

One quarter prior to beginning your Capstone, you should make an appointment with:

Janet McDaniel
CSS Internship Coordinator
(425) 352-5287

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Project Options

There are five options from which a student must choose when starting the internship process. Each option lists circumstances and criteria, which will help shape the Capstone experience. Before choosing, students should give careful consideration as to which option will be most beneficial to their individual interests and circumstances.

Option 1: Sponsored Internship

In this option, opportunities for projects are identified through internships sponsored by local firms, multi-national corporations, government agencies and non-profit organizations. Some companies have established internship programs, while other companies or organizations will work with the student to find an appropriate internship project. Projects are found either through an individual search or a search using UW resources (see Finding an Internship for more details). Projects are subject to conditions as specified by the sponsor, CSS faculty advisor and the CSS Program.

Option 2: Current Employment

Students currently employed have the option of incorporating their Capstone (CE) requirement within their current job. This option must have approval from the faculty advisor, the employer (i.e. the CE sponsor) and CSS program. Each project must demonstrate academic merit and effort that provides additional benefit to both the student and employer (i.e. the project represents work that is above and beyond what is normally expected by the employer).

Option 3: Faculty Research Internship

A student may work with a faculty member on a research project that has significant implications for industry and/or the community. Each project must demonstrate academic merit and be approved by the CSS program. At least one external Capstone sponsor and/or granting agency must be identified as a reviewer of the work to be completed.

Option 4: Individual Project - Student Defined

A student may identify a computing project that he or she feels meets a need of industry and/or the community. The project must demonstrate academic merit and be approved by the CSS program. The student must identify at least two potential customers (that is, two Capstone sponsors) who will agree to review your project and sign the Capstone Contract agreement. Once these users have been identified, the student must use appropriate software development methodologies to meet deliverable requirements. The student must present the project to the customers and the faculty advisor for final evaluation.

Option 5: Group Project - Student Defined

A group of students may identify a project that meets the requirements specified above. This project, however, must be more complex in nature and have sufficient academic and practical workload and be approved by the CSS program. A detailed project specification and project plan including individual responsibilities and team milestones must accompany a proposal for approval.

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Finding an Internship

CSS will help facilitate student internship searches, but students are ultimately responsible for finding a Capstone Project.

UW resources geared towards helping students find internships are:

  • UW Bothell Career Services provides guidance in creating and critiquing resumes interviewing and job search skills workshop, salary negotiation workshops, and mock interview workshops.
  • HuskyJobs (UW internet resume service) coordinates job listing and campus interviews and search for internships and jobs.
  • Career Fairs provides students with the opportunity to speak with recruiters.
  • CSS Internship Coordinators facilitates student internship placement.

Students should also utilize person-to-person networking to help locate internships.

Students who are currently employed have the possibility of conducting their internship at their place of work. For more information, please see Option 2 above.

Some internships offer a salary to students while others may not. Payment for an internship is negotiated between the student and the sponsor. While paid internships are more popular, unpaid internships may provide the possibility of a permanent position once a project has been completed. International students must contact the UWB International Student Advisor and notify the CSS Internship Coordinator before accepting a paid internship.

Remember, Capstone projects do not necessarily have to take place off campus (see Option 3: Faculty Research Internship); UW Bothell faculty may have a need for students to work on research projects. For information about faculty research, please visit our Faculty Research page.

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I found an internship! Now what?

Once a student has found an internship, they need to choose a faculty advisor. Suggestions for choosing a faculty advisor include someone whose research interests coincide with the project, or someone with whom the student can work comfortably. After discussing the project with the faculty advisor, the student must fill out the Capstone Contract. Contracts should be completed as thoroughly as possible and have all salient information attached when turned in to the faculty advisor. The faculty advisor must review and sign the contract before the Capstone sponsor signs. The completed/signed form must be turned into the CSS program office one week before the quarter begins. Once the completed contract has been received and approved by the CSS Internship Coordinator, the student will be given an entry code to enroll in CSS 497 (see Contract Deadlines). Students are expected to maintain contact with their faculty advisor throughout the course of the internship to discuss project status, academic work required, lessons learned, academic models addressed, and other issues associated with the completion of the internship. Most faculty require students to prepare a report for evaluation and grading by faculty advisor at the end of every quarter.

Detailed guidance regarding how to structure your contract and fulfill its obligations can be found on the Specific Guidelines page.

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The Colloquium

Upon the completion of the cooperative education the student is required to present at the CSS Colloquium. The Colloquium includes a poster presentation, and an eight to ten minute oral presentation that describes their experiences and accomplishments in fulfilling their cooperative education requirement.  CSS faculty, staff, students, cooperative education sponsors, and the community are invited to attend.  The colloquium is scheduled for the Friday of the last week of instruction.  Samples of past colloquium presentations can be found outside of the CSS labs (UW1 3rd floor).  Questions about the colloquium, including a schedule of presenters, and special requirements for presentations, can be answered by the CSS Internship Coordinator, Janet McDaniel (

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