Senior Project

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A senior project is a capstone experience required of all Cal Poly students receiving a Bachelor of Science degree in Construction Management. The senior project will integrate theory and application from across the student's undergraduate educational experiences. Senior Projects must be about discovery, new knowledge, and/or significant application. Senior project for construction management students shall be either research based, interdisciplinary/entrepreneurial, or project based.

Research Based:

  • Action Research (tied directly to work experience)
  • Educational Research (relating to an existing or new CM course or class)
  • Case Study (detailed account of one or more cases)
  • Basic Research (expand human knowledge)
  • Applied Research (solve a practical problem)
  • Other (as deemed appropriate)

​Research Based Paper 7-10 Pages (probable content):

  • Abstract
  • Introduction/Background/Purpose
  • Detailed Literature Review
  • Methodology/Analysis
  • Results/Summarization
  • Discussion/Conclusions
  • References/Appendices 

Project Based:

Project Criteria:

  • Must be non-profit (not for an individual other than yourself and you should not be paid for the work being performed).
  • Must have a schematic sketch (or other visual depiction) to verify the scope is clearly identified and communicated as to what you intend to do.
  • Must have appropriate third-party validation (by owner, permitting agency, lender, etc.).  Example: If you preparing construction drawings then they must be up to full building codes and/or approved by appropriate inspecting agency.
  • Must confirm and verify that funding has been (or will be) obtained to complete the project.
  • Must affirm that project is of sufficient scope to be worthy of a senior project.  If it is a project involving more than one CM student, then fully justify why more than one student’s involvement is needed and clearly delineate the scope of work of each.
  • Must clearly identify the students roll and deliverables for the project.

Project Examples:

  • Build a construction project.
  • Work on a team with a definitive goal that is either academic and/or has commercial implications related to the construction industry.
  • Complete the design of a construction project (permit ready).
  • Provide significant pre-construction management services.
  • Create a document, models, digital creations, software development, website development, inventions, idea development, experiment, etc. which has academic and/or commercial implications for the betterment of the construction industry.
  • Other (as deemed appropriate by the CM faculty).

ANY proposed project-based senior project may be reviewed for approval by the faculty upon the recommendation of the Senior Project Director (SPD).

Project Based Paper 7-10 Pages (probable content):

  • Abstract 
  • How project came about
  • What process did the student go through (steps)
  • Deliverables (what was done/created/accomplished)
  • Lessons learned during the process
  • Photos of project (2-4 pages of photos showing the deliverable)

Interdisciplinary / Entrepreneurial Based: 

Project Criteria:

  • Must be either interdisciplinary or entrepreneurial in nature.  
  • Any type of senior project that is conducted and completed interdisciplinary with a student(s) from any other major(s) in the University.  The project simply must be construction related in some way.  
  • Any type of senior project that is entrepreneurial in nature typically taking multiple quarters to navigate and often requiring the involvement of the Center of Innovation and Entrepreneurship.
  • Must affirm the project is of sufficient scope to be worthy of a senior project.  

Interdisciplinary/Entrepreneurial Based Paper:

  •  The paper resulting from this type of senior project will either fall under the requirements of a research based or project based depending on the senior project being proposed.

Requirements for All Senior Projects:

    Regardless of the type of senior project chosen, in all cases every construction management student is required to provide the following deliverables:

    1. Take and pass CM460 (ideally in the student's junior year, but prior to the students last quarter)
    2. Submit and have approved by both the SPD (Senior Project Director) and SME (Subject Matter Expert) a fully vetted senior project proposal prior to being allowed to sign-up for CM462.
    3. Take and pass CM462 - an independent study course administered by the SME.


    All deliverable shall be posted to Digital Commons
    1. poster board (per ASC guidelines).
    2. paper (per ASC proceedings guidelines).
    3. A signed Senior Project Proposal (obtained prior to registering for CM462).
    4. A student reflection paper and completed evaluation form.
    5. Proof that senior project paper has been submitted to Digital Commons with payment receipt from library.

    ​Student Responsibilities (Chronologically):

    • If a project is controversial or possibly does not meet the requirements or standards of a Senior Project, the CM student can submit a Senior Project Proposal early for faculty approval.
    • Sign-up for CM460 in a timely manner (junior standing preferred but required to be completed before entering final term).
    • Prior to signing-up for CM462 student MUST HAVE:
      * A complete, well thought-out, and fully vetted senior project proposal.

      * Identified an SME who has agreed to work with them and approves of
    • Get a permission number from CM office for CM462 (assigned to the agreed upon SME), and sign-up for CM462 prior to the student's final quarter on campus (or earlier if achievable).
    • Complete all deliverables of senior project prior to the end of said quarter (see above)


    Senior Project Director (SPD) Responsibilities:

    • The SPD is the faculty member who is currently teaching CM460.
    • Takes the lead in assisting the student with navigating their senior project until student is registered for CM462.
    • Tracks the overall progress of all CM students once they have completed CM460.
    • Notifies graduating seniors of pending due dates and milestones.
    • Facilitates the selection of and common topical interest with potential SME’s.
    • Acts as a summer senior project advisor if an SME has not yet been identified.
    • Assists with connecting student senior project interest with work experience.
    • Assists with any logistical or general senior project guidance.
    • Assists in the development of a senior project proposal prior to SME submission.
    • Assists with any non-technical content of paper (structure, style, format, etc.).


    Subject Matter Expert (SME) Responsibilities:

    • Assists over the summer, with any technical or subject matter senior project guidance if identified by student and agreed to by the SME.
    • Assists in the development of a student’s senior project proposal prior to submission.
    • Advises the student on technical paper content (introduction, literature review, research methods, identify new information, conclusions, and possible future research) over the CM462 quarter enrolled.
    • Takes the lead in assisting the student on their senior project content over the CM462 quarter enrolled.
    • Provides the grade for senior project in CM462.

    Senior Project Director Contact Information:

    Phil Barlow, Ph.D.


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