Carnegie Mellon University

Intensive Practicum

The Intensive Practicum is equal parts sandbox and proving ground. The practicum is an opportunity for you to apply the lessons learned since you first stepped foot on campus by rolling up your sleeves and showing the world what you can do.

Whether it is requirements gathering, project scoping, estimation, team management, architectural design, or assurance — you are going to use the tools and techniques you’ve learned to work hand-in-hand with your fellow students over the course of your final semester to solve a real-world challenge from inception through delivery.

Unlike traditional capstone projects, the software engineering practicum provides a structured environment in which students are given the opportunity to design and prototype a product, interact with real customers, and manage team tasks and processes.

Each practicum team is assigned one or more professional mentors who have significant industrial experience. Through weekly team and one-on-one meetings, mentors help to guide the project, ensuring that students remain focused, and encouraging them to take personal responsibility for the project's outcomes.

At the end of the year, students present their final projects, which become part of the student’s official MSE program portfolio that they can share with prospective employers during interviews.

How is it better than traditional coursework?

Real Problems

Thought experiments and case studies are good practice. But nothing can prepare you for the challenges of real world software development except the technical problems that real development groups are working on. This is real work with real results.

Real Clients

You want to work for the best in the business? Here’s your chance to show them what you can do. Project sponsors represent some of the most promising names in technology. Impress them and, who knows, there may be a job offer at the end of the project!

Real Learning

We can assign all the homework in the world; but until you get out there and try things for yourself, we believe you can’t really grow as an engineer. We call this “Learning by Doing” and its been the backbone of our approach for more than 25 years.

Featured Projects



The opioid crises in America claims hundreds of lives a day. Working with pharmaceutical consulting firm, Pinney Associates, our students designed and built a prototype wearable that can detect an overdose and save lives.




With recent advances in energy technologies, numerous decomissioned nuclear facilities now sit vacant. Alongside their clients in the Department of Energy and Carnegie Mellon's Robotics Institute, our students designed and developed vital backend infrastructure for a robotic platform that can enable safe, efficient demolition of these sites.