Data Science Masters

How can your organization sponsor a capstone project?

The MSDS program trains students with the skills to extract valuable insights from data. In the last two quarters of the program, our students put their skills to use by completing a capstone project. Capstone projects give students the opportunity to solve a real-world data challenge facing a company or not-for-profit organization.

Capstone teams consist of two to five MSDS students. Each team will work with their sponsoring organization to recommend solutions to a strategic problem or operational challenge facing the sponsor. Along with the satisfaction of shaping the next generation of leaders in data science, sponsors benefit from high-quality data science services that can help move their organization forward. Sponsors also gain access to a pipeline of talented data scientists.

Why sponsor a capstone project?

  • Partner with creative data science talent for a fresh look at an organizational challenge.
  • Talented data scientists will provide innovative solutions to move your company forward.
  • Raise your company’s profile by mentoring the next generation of data scientists.
  • Build strong relationships with rising data scientists.

Capstone Annual Project Cycle

Pre-September: Have an idea for a Capstone project? Contact us.

Potential clients or students who have an idea for a project can fill out the Capstone Sponsor Request survey or email directly to Keep in mind for your expression of interest that we will need to collect the following information: 

  • Please specify the data sets you have available. 
  • How will students access and use this data (e.g., copied onto their local machines, via cloud based VM, through proprietary system)? 
  • What legal agreements need to be completed before students can access the data? 

When you have an idea of the project and answers to the above questions, please fill out the Capstone Sponsor Request survey.  

September 1: Deadline for clients expressing interest in a Capstone project with MSDS students.

Fill out the Capstone Sponsor Request survey or reach out to

Autumn Quarter – Late September through December: Project Begins

  • Early October: Capstone student teams are formed and matched with projects based on big-picture project descriptions, including a brief description of the sponsor, the big picture criteria for success, and any other notable points of interest.  
  • Mid-/Late-October: Sponsors meet with team (on site, or via video chat) to detail the project description. At this time teams are provided with a coherent list of items needed for success, a detailed description of how data is accessed, an idea of how to communicate and work with the sponsor. Students will be prepared to ask questions in order to clarify their understanding in anticipation of project proposal.  
  • Mid-November through early December: Full review of project proposal with team, and help with data extraction. Sponsors should be available to facilitate data extraction and ensure that teams are able to gather necessary information for success.  

Winter Quarter – January through March: Project Completion and Poster Presentation

  • Mid-January and early February: Review project progress. Sponsors should expect a formal check in with students to check on progress. This may be done on-site, via video conference, or via email.  
  • January-March: Help with project development. Sponsors should be available for project questions.  
  • Mid-March: Attend the Capstone poster presentation, take delivery of projects.   

Sponsorship FAQs

What are the benefits to the Capstone Sponsor?

Capstone Sponsors have the opportunity to:

  • Engage creative minds for a fresh look at your data science problems.
  • Talented data scientists provide innovative solutions for your requirements.
  • Raise your company’s profile by mentoring rising data scientists.
  • Build relationships with the next generation of data scientists.

Do I need to know data science?

No, our students will communicate important ideas to you in a way that can be understood without advanced data science knowledge

Do I need data?

Yes. If you do not currently have the data, you must know a legally available source for the data. You may also need a nondisclosure agreement (NDA) to clarify how students can use the data or discuss their findings – please check with your organization’s legal group to see whether such an agreement is needed.

Do I need to be in Seattle?

No. Our students can work with you remotely.

How much time will this require?

0-2 hours per week over a period of 2 quarters, from late-September through early-March of the following year.

What kinds of capstone projects have students done in the past?

Interested in sponsoring a capstone project?