Sponsor a Capstone/Practicum Project

The Goergen Institute for Data Science invites local, regional, national and international organizations to sponsor capstone/practicum projects. There is no sponsorship fee or funding requirement to sponsor projects. Our students are ready to help you solve challenging business problems using high-level, data analytics.

Benefits to Sponsors

  • Obtaining early feasibility results on new initiatives, assisting with exploratory projects.
  • Networking with highly trained students with internship/employment potential.
  • Contributing to the educational mission of the University of Rochester.

Team Players

The data science curriculum at the University of Rochester prepares students for the challenging task of deriving insight from vast quantities of structured and unstructured data, in a variety of disciplines. The semester-long capstone/practicum course emphasizes a team-based learning experience where students conduct real-world analytics projects using data provided by sponsoring organizations.

Students participating in the projects are required to complete a rigorous set courses in computational statistics, data mining, machine learning and computational tools in data science.

Since the program was launched in 2016, 46 companies have offered over 75 projects to students, covering everything from consumer retail and healthcare to agriculture, government and finance. Past sponsors include large corporations, start-ups, not-for-profit institutions, government agencies, and academic institutes.

A sponsor presenting business needs.

Starting a Project

Each project begins with a sponsor presentation highlighting:

  • Their business need(s)
  • The goals of the data analytics effort
  • A description of the available data

Students then work in teams of three to four members over an eight- to ten-week period (one semester) to understand the business problem, clean and analyze the data, and devise a solution. During the project, the students are strongly encouraged to establish and maintain regular communication with an assigned contact from the sponsoring organization. Day-to-day progress on the project is tracked by University faculty assigned to the course.

Project Meetings

Tracking the Progress

During the semester, student teams meet with their sponsors periodically to review progress and receive feedback, presenting at mid-semester and final presentations. At the end of the semester, the following records (typically generated in every project) are provided to the sponsor:

  1. A written report summarizing the project and its findings
  2. The final presentation
  3. Code, notebooks, and/or data visualization workbooks (e.g. Tableau) used in the project
  4. Instructions (ReadMe) documenting the steps required to run the archived code
  5. Updated versions of datasets after data cleaning and pre-processing (if applicable)

Interested in recent projects?

Data Science Capstone @ Rochester

Descriptions of recent projects, news articles, and testimonials are available on the data science capstone website.


Keeping Your Data Safe

If students need access to sensitive or proprietary information to complete the project, the sponsor can request that their team complete a non-disclosure agreement/intellectual property (NDA/IP) agreement.

Many of our previous sponsors have successfully anonymized business sensitive information in data sets and problem descriptions, while still maintaining the necessary technical information required for students to execute the project. We understand the time, effort and commitment required to sponsor a student project, and are grateful to sponsor organizations for their engagement.


The capstone and practicum courses are offered twice a year (fall and spring). Accordingly, the following deadlines are applicable for the two semesters:

Capstone Deadlines
Sponsor organization engagementJuly 15December 1
Project kick-off meetingsmid-Septembermid-February
Final presentation to sponsor (face-to-face or virtually via Zoom) early Decemberearly May

Interested in sponsoring a project?

How to Get Involved

For more information, or to participate in the capstone/practicum program, please contact:

Ajay Anand
Deputy Director and Associate Professor, Goergen Institute for Data Science

Cantay Caliskan
Assistant Professor of Instruction, Goergen Institute for Data Science

We look forward to working with you to help you define your project.