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Saint Louis University
Dept. of Math & Computer Science

Computer Science 4961/4962
Capstone Project

Michael Goldwasser

Fall 2017

If you wish, you may download a printable version of the syllabus, containing the same information that is on this web page.

Table of Contents


Instructor: Dr. Michael Goldwasser
Email: michael.goldwasser at our university domain
Office: Ritter Hall 355
Phone: (314) 977-7039
Office Hours:    
  • Mondays:
    • 1:00-2:00pm
  • Tuesdays:
    • 10:00am-10:50am
  • Fridays:
    • 2:00-3:00pm
  • or by appointment


The Capstone Project serves a a concluding achievement for graduating students, allowing them to apply knowledge that they have gained from the Computer Science curriculum toward a year-long project. Formally, the project is completed as part of a two-semester sequence of 2-credit courses: CSCI 4961 (Capstone Project I) and CSCI 4962 (Capstone Project II).

Student Learning Outcomes

After successfully completing this course sequence, students will be able to:

  1. Communicate with a client regarding project requirements and formally document the requirement specifications.
  2. Develop a project design and plan, including reasonable timeline and effort estimates.
  3. Design, implement and test a medium- to large-scale software product which meets given requirements specifications.
  4. Use a range of tools in support of the development of a team-based software product.
  5. Effectively communicate with peers and supervisors in a technical setting.


Key roles in the capstone course are as follows:

The Supervisor and the Instructor will work together in grading the performance of the teams. A non-CS Client may be consulted, but has no formal responsibilities in regard to evaluation.

Project Selection

At the onset of CSCI 4961, the instructor will circulate a list of potential projects to consider. These projects are often suggested by CS faculty members based on research endeavors or educational tools, are based on requests coming from members of the broader SLU community, or in some cases from external community groups. Students will also be afforded an opportunity to suggest project ideas for consideration. Projects should have an appropriate scope for a year-long sequence, having a richness in both aspects of design and use of technology. Past examples of project descriptions will be provided.

At the beginning of the second week, individual students will be asked to submit a ranked list of preferences for projects of interest, and preferences regarding the composition of student teams. The supervisors will make final determination of the teams and their assignments to projects, while taking into consideration the preferences submitted by students. Those assignments will be announced by the end of the second week.

During the third week, each student team must develop a formal Project Plan that outlines the scope of the project, and the timeline for major deliverables for both Capstone I and Capstone II. This plan must be approved and signed by both the Supervisor and Instructor no later than Friday, September 22, 2017 to be considered prompt.

Project Timeline, Deliverables, Presentations

Each project is unique, and teams may adopt one of a variety of project management styles. However, all teams must adhere to the following checkpoints and timeline (details of which follow).

Required Work Deadline
Individual preferences 5:00pm Tuesday, September 5, 2017
Project Plan (first draft) Friday, September 15, 2017
Project Plan (final/signed version) Friday, September 22, 2017
Weekly reports each Friday
CSCI 4961: Deliverable #1
CSCI 4962: Deliverable #3
Friday, October 13, 2017
Midterm presentation TBD, week of October 16-20
Final presentation Tuesday, December 12, 2017
CSCI 4961: Deliverable #2
CSCI 4962: Deliverable #4
Friday, December 15, 2017
Team self-assessment Friday, December 15, 2017

Repository for Project Artifacts

All teams will be required to use git repositories on hopper for all project artifacts (e.g., all deliverables, source codes, presentation materials). Both the instructor and supervisor should be granted access to the repository from the beginning of the project. An analysis of contributions to the repository may be used as additional evidence of individuals' participation.


Each semester of the capstone project is graded based upon the performance during that semester. The evaluation of students' artifacts and presentations will be made by a combination of the Instructor and project Supervisor. The overall grade will be weighted as follows:

Letter grades will then be assigned based on the following formula.

Student percentage above 90% will result in a grade of A or better.
Student percentage above 87% will result in a grade of A- or better.
Student percentage above 83% will result in a grade of B+ or better.
Student percentage above 80% will result in a grade of B or better.
Student percentage above 77% will result in a grade of B- or better.
Student percentage above 73% will result in a grade of C+ or better.
Student percentage above 70% will result in a grade of C or better.
Student percentage above 67% will result in a grade of C- or better.
Student percentage above 60% will result in a grade of D or better.
Student percentage below 60% will result in a grade of F.
Although team members will typically receive similar grades, in some cases the Instructor and Supervisor may consider the relative contribution of individual team members in assigning individual grades.

Academic Integrity

Academic integrity is honest, truthful and responsible conduct in all academic endeavors. The mission of Saint Louis University is "the pursuit of truth for the greater glory of God and for the service of humanity." Accordingly, all acts of falsehood demean and compromise the corporate endeavors of teaching, research, health care, and community service via which SLU embodies its mission. The University strives to prepare students for lives of personal and professional integrity, and therefore regards all breaches of academic integrity as matters of serious concern.

The governing University-level Academic Integrity Policy was adopted in Spring 2015, and can be accessed on the Provost's Office website.

Additionally, each SLU College, School, and Center has adopted its own academic integrity policies, available on their respective websites. All SLU students are expected to know and abide by these policies, which detail definitions of violations, processes for reporting violations, sanctions, and appeals. Please direct questions about any facet of academic integrity to your faculty, the chair of the department of your academic program, or the Dean/Director of the College, School or Center in which your program is housed. Specific College of Arts and Sciences Academic Honesty Policies and Procedures may be found here.

Title IX Statement

Saint Louis University and its faculty are committed to supporting our students and seeking an environment that is free of bias, discrimination, and harassment. If you have encountered any form of sexual misconduct (e.g. sexual assault, sexual harassment, stalking, domestic or dating violence), we encourage you to report this to the University. If you speak with a faculty member about an incident of misconduct, that faculty member must notify SLU's Title IX coordinator, Anna R. Kratky (DuBourg Hall, room 36;; 314-977-3886) and share the basic fact of your experience with her. The Title IX coordinator will then be available to assist you in understanding all of your options and in connecting you with all possible resources on and off campus.

If you wish to speak with a confidential source, you may contact the counselors at the University Counseling Center at 314-977-TALK. To view SLU’s sexual misconduct policy and for resources, please visit the following web address:

Supporting Student Success

In recognition that people learn in a variety of ways and that learning is influenced by multiple factors (e.g., prior experience, study skills, learning disability), resources to support student success are available on campus. The Student Success Center, a one-stop shop, which assists students with academic and career related services, is located in the Busch Student Center (Suite 331) and the School of Nursing (Suite 114). Students can visit to learn more about:

Disability Services

Students with a documented disability who wish to request academic accommodations must contact Disability Services to discuss accommodation requests and eligibility requirements. Once successfully registered, the student also must notify the course instructor that they wish to access accommodations in the course.

Please contact Disability Services, located within the Student Success Center, at or 314-977-3484 to schedule an appointment. Confidentiality will be observed in all inquiries. Once approved, information about academic accommodations will be shared with course instructors via email from Disability Services and viewed within Banner via the instructor’s course roster.

Note: Students who do not have a documented disability but who think they may have one are encouraged to contact Disability Services.

Michael Goldwasser
Capstone Project, Fall 2017
Last modified: Friday, 13 October 2017
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