The application period for the 2018 capstone course is now open! The capstone course will run April 23, 2018 - June 29, 2018 (10 weeks).

The timeline is below, followed by additional detail on each event.

Event Deadline/Period
First submission of proposal November 20 (recommended)
Proposal revision process (must be accepted by…) December 31, 2017
Students rate proposals January 12, 2018
Selection of proposals January 19, 2018
Partners accept invitations January 29, 2018
Partner presentations February 7 - March 23, 2018
Partners provide legal documents March 15, 2018
Students rate the projects March 23 - March 26, 2018
Partners demonstrate/declare readiness of data April 3, 2018
Students are assigned to projects April 5, 2018
Kickoff meetings April 16 - April 20, 2018
Phase 1: student proposals April 24 - May 4, 2018 (approx)
Phase 2: project development May 7 - June 8, 2018 (approx)
Phase 3: project polishing June 11 - 22, 2018 (approx)
Final presentations June 28, 2018 (approx)

Proposal revision process

Members of an organization interested in participating as a capstone partner should submit a one-page project proposal to

Members of the MDS leadership team will review the proposal, and work with the potential partner to establish a finalized proposal. Potential partners should feel free to ask us for our opinion on any aspect of this step ahead of time, such as whether the main idea of the proposal is appropriate.

We recommend your first submission of the proposal to be well before the December 31st deadline, so that we can offer suggestions in case it needs revision.

Students rate proposals

A list of finalized proposals, along with one-sentence summaries, will be posted on a “project board” viewable by the students. The students will then rate their interest in the proposals, according to the following scale:

  • 1: reject
  • 2: accept (default)
  • 3: accept with interest
  • 4: accept with extra interest

Selection of proposals

The MDS leadership team will select proposals based primarily on student interest, and will invite the successful organizations to be a capstone partner.

Partners accept invitations

The successful capstone partners accept the offers, and correspond with MDS administration to schedule a presentation to give at UBC.

Partner presentations

We require that the capstone partners give a 30-minute presentation (allowing for 10-15 minutes of questions) to the students and MDS leadership over lunch at the UBC Vancouver campus.

Before students rate the projects, they should have access to any legal documents they would need to sign in order to work on the project. Thus, partners must provide these documents before the rating stage. Furthermore, students should be aware of any potential conflicts of interest before rating the project, so partners are asked to declare these as well.

Partners provide data

Before a project is accepted, the partner must provide MDS with a demonstration or written (email) declaration that the data has already been collected and prepared, and exists in its entirety (in the form specified in the proposal), and is ready to be shared with the students.

Partners should feel free to ask us for our standard agreement at any point in the selection procedure.

Students rate the projects

After the presentations, the students assign a final rating to the projects.

Students are assigned to projects

Based on student interest, the MDS leadership team assigns student groups to the projects. In the unlikely scenario that there is insufficient interest in a project, no student group will be assigned to that project.

Kickoff meetings

The students will arrange a date and time with their capstone partner and teaching fellow mentor to have an initial meeting to discuss the project.

Student proposal stage

Students propose the data product and approach.

  1. The student team works with each other, colleagues, and teaching fellows to develop an approach in a 2-day hackathon.
  2. Students present the proposal at UBC, to solicit ideas and feedback.
  3. Students write the proposal. This will be passed to the capstone partner to check that the proposed product is indeed in line with the capstone partner’s needs.

Project development stage

Students develop the data product. This involves:

- Regular meetings with the teaching fellow mentor.
- Regular meetings with the capstone partner.
- Recording your progress and explorations in a data science notebook.

Project polishing stage

Students polish the data product for delivery to the capstone partner:

1. Deliver the data product after incorporating feedback from teaching fellows and colleagues, along with a final report.
2. Briefly present product(s) in an end-of-program celebration (not graded).
3. At the end, students also reflect on the project in a short individual report.

Final presentations

Students present the final data product and approach to the class.