Industry Students

ME317 has historically focused on working employees, which is offered through Stanford's Center for Professional Development


What is Stanford ME317?

ME317 Design Methods is a 6-month, 2-quarter course delivered from January to June. ME317 is a project-based course--there are no examinations, but there are plenty of homeworks, presentations, and project reports. ME317 addresses "system development" of a wide variety of project applications, including establishing requirements, concept development, financial evaluation, and communicating results. ME317 includes both standard lecture-based material as well as frequent interaction with the ME317 teaching staff.

What makes a good project?

This question can be addressed on several levels. In terms of project nature, a balance should be struck between “real value to the company” vs. “not on the critical path”. Also, it is desirable to have management support for a project. Typically, managers participate in project formation by identifying projects for student employees to work on. However, this is best done when the manager or champion has some background in the nature and content of the course.

What are some previous project examples?

In general, the types of projects suitable for ME317 are of the following type:

What is the ideal team size?

Ideal team size is 3-4 persons. 2 and 5 can work, but are not ideal. Also, it is desirable to have all team members equally invested in the project objectives/deliverables, and results, although this is not always possible in practice. If a company is providing only 1 student, then we can sometimes accommodate that student by having them participate on an on-campus based project.

If I am working on a project from my own company do I have to pay extra for the project?

No. If you have 3 or more students from you company location, you can work on you own internal company project. Your company information will be fire-walled from the rest of the class, and the teaching team will be under non-disclosure with your company.

When are the lectures given, and do I need to attend anything?

Lectures are delivered on campus twice a week (Mon. and Weds., 4:15 - 5:30pm Pacific Time). The lectures are generally available for viewing online within 2 hours of the actual class. Some corporate sites elect to have their student employees attend a joint lecture viewing session, but this is not formally required. Many Wednesday lectures will actually be the Active Learning sessions on campus. For the off-campus corporate sites, these lecture sessions will typically be replaced by Active Learning sessions with the ME317 teaching team, and will be scheduled on a regular basis via telecon and file or desktop sharing.

What are the active learning sessions?

The active learning (AL) sessions are weekly-based opportunities for the project teams to present progress to the ME317 teaching team. Each AL session has an assigned set of deliverables, and typically involves a 15-30 minute teleconference-based presentation. The AL sessions are a critical component of the ME317 learning experience, and provide ample opportunity for the teaching team to address questions/concerns as the project progresses.

What if I am traveling?

Travel is a reality of the corporate world, and we do our best to accommodate this reality. Lectures can be accessed from anywhere in the world if you have an internet connection. For the Active Learning sessions (team presentations to the ME317 teaching staff), having an ability to teleconference and connect to the internet are required, and an ability to connect outside of standard business hours may be required. In terms of project work, homework, and presentations, travel issues will have to be dealt with within the team on an individual basis. It is best to voice travel concerns to your team as early as possible.

When will the faculty visit?

This varies by corporate site. In general, one or more members of the ME317 teaching staff will visit once during each quarter. Each visit will be an opportunity for the project teams to convey more information to the teaching staff, including plant and lab visits, and an opportunity to present in front of management while the teaching staff is on location. Visit timing and activities will be arranged on a case by case basis.

Where can I buy the textbook for the class?

All reading material will be provided electronically to the students. There is no separate textbook to purchase.

I would like to take this class, but I am the only one from my company. Is this possible?

Yes, but please contact the teaching team.