This year’s capstone course will run May - June, 2021 (~8 weeks).

Due to COVID-19, it is unclear whether 2021 Capstone Projects will be conducted in-person or remotely. However, after a very successful “remote Capstone” in 2020, MDS is committed to facilitating Capstone Projects again in 2021. With this in mind, some activites described below may be conducted virtually in 2021.

Event Deadline/Period
Suggested initial submission of proposal November 15, 2020
Proposal deadline December 15, 2020
Selection of proposals January 15, 2021
Capstone fair February, 2021
Partners declare project legalities February, 2021
Students rate the projects February, 2021
Partners are notified of our decisions March 1, 2021
Partners demonstrate readiness of data April 1, 2021
Kickoff meetings March - April, 2021
Project May 3 - June 30, 2021
Kickoff hackathon May 3 - May 5, 2021

Proposal revision process

Members of an organization interested in participating as a capstone partner should submit a project proposal.

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.

Proposals received before November 15th will be reviewed by the MDS teams and feedback/suggestions for revisions will be provided to the partner, who can then revise and re-submit their proposal. This revision process aims to maximize the chance of a proposal being selected by students. Proposals received after November 15th will not be provided with feedback.

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 confirm their attendance at the capstone fair.

Capstone fair

Capstone partners must attend the Capstone Fair to meet with the students and answer any questions they may have. The Capstone Fair takes place at the UBC Robson Square campus in downtown Vancouver. Detailed information will be emailed to each capstone partner. An example of a Capstone fair slide deck can be found here.

Students rate the projects

After the capstone fair, the students assign a final rating to the projects.

Partners are notified of our decisions

Based on student interest, the MDS leadership team decides which projects will move forward. Student groups are assigned to the projects at the same time.

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.

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. It is common that students sign any required legal documents at this meeting, which means the students should be sent the documents for review well in advance.


The project itself. At the end, partners can expect the students to present at the partner organizations. Partners will also be invited to an end-of-program celebration at UBC.


The Capstone project typically starts with a 2-day hackathon at the UBC main Point Grey campus. Capstone partners are strongly encouraged to attend the morning of the 2nd day of the hackathon. In the past, students have found this very valuable, as they were able to ask questions about their dataset and clarify other data science issues with the partner.