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Focus Areas


8692252363_2aa62d5fcf_kFocus Area

The focus area is designed to help students build the foundation for their capstone project. The focus area consists of 9 credits selected by the student that fall into one of five focus areas.

The five different focus areas of the Honors Program are:

The focus area courses students select must meet these guidelines:

  • 9 credits of advanced electives
  • 300-level or higher
  • Courses can come from technical electives, general electives, or intellectual breadth
  • Independent study, special topics, directed study, or research credits must include a detailed description of the work completed for credit, and how it will support your capstone project; up to 3 credits of independent study or research may be approved
  • Courses may not double-count with your core major requirements or academic minor requirements (unless the student has more than one minor)
  • Students may arrange credit hours for their capstone, but these credit hours may not be used towards the focus area
  • For multi-semester projects (research, MDP projects, etc.), a maximum of 3 credits may count towards the focus area. The final semester of capstone credits may not count towards the focus area.

Focus areas and focus area courses are discussed in more detail in Honors Seminar 1, and during your first semester in the College of Engineering Honors Program with the Honors Advisor. Students will submit a focus area proposal no later then the last semester of their junior year.

Focus Area & Capstone Examples


Kathryn Henry
BSE Aerospace Engineering 2018

Capstone Experience: Characterized heating and cooling profiles for a Small Unmanned Aircraft System which can be used to predict overheating during and after flight

Related Focus Area Coursework:

  • EECS 301 Probabilistic Methods in Engineering
  • AEROSP 423 Computational Methods in Aerospace Engineering
  • AEROSP 523 Computational Fluid Dynamics


David Van Dyke
BSE Mechanical Engineering 2019

Capstone Experience: Thettle

Related Focus Area Coursework:

  • ME 452 Design for Manufacturability
  • ME 481 Manufacturing processes
  • EECS 312 Digital Integrated Circuits


Joanna Ciatti
BSE Chemical Engineering 2018

Capstone Experience: Design of Cooling Water Recirculation Systems for Ann Arbor Distilling Company

Related Focus Area Coursework:

  • CEE 365 – Environmental Engineering Principles
  • CEE 265 – Sustainable Engineering Principles
  • CEE 563 – Air Quality Engineering Fundamentals

Public Service

Katie Matton 
BSE Computer Science Engineering 2018

Capstone Experience: Building machine learning models to predict the mood states of individuals with bipolar disorder from their speech.

Related Focus Area Coursework:

  • EECS 492- Introduction to Artificial Intelligence
  • EECS 445 – Introduction to Machine Learning
  • UARTS 250 – The Creative Process

Business/Global Operations (EGL Specialization)

Peter Paquet 
BSE Computer Engineering 2018
BSE Data Science Engineering 2018

Capstone Experience: Tauber Project at General Motors-Engine Quality 

Related Focus Area Coursework:

  • STRATEGY 310 – Competing in the Global Business Environment
  • TO 465 – Business Systems Consulting
  • TO 572 – Applied Business Forecasting
  • TO 701 – Topics in Global Operations
  • TO 605 – Manufacturing and Supply Operations