ENGR489 (2021) - Engineering Project


Students will work on an individual project of a complex nature in order to develop a solution to an engineering problem. In addition to the technical engineering development work, the project may require consideration of issues such as customer specifications, cost analysis, IP and product testing and delivery. Students will be required to give an oral and a poster presentation as well as a final report on their project.

Course learning objectives

Students who pass this course will be able to:

  1. Design, implement and evaluate a solution to an appropriate engineering problem. This should demonstrate an understanding of the various trade-offs involved, provide documented evidence justifying those design decisions made and demonstrate technical leadership through innovation. (3(a), 3(b), 3(c), 3(f))
  2. Justify the quality of your solution through effective written and oral communication, and through practical demonstration. Quality issues include, but are not limited to: the selection of appropriate technology; application of appropriate engineering and professional practices; consideration of real-world issues, such as scalability, reliability, safety and sustainability (where appropriate). (1(a), 1(b), 2(b), 3(b), 3(e))
  3. Assemble evidence from a range of sources to compare and analyse the relationship between your solution to the engineering problem and that of similar systems and/or approaches. Sources include, but are not limited to, books and academic papers, (2(b), 3(d))

Course content

ENGR 489 consists of an individual project which is done under the supervision of one (or more) of our academic staff or an academic and industry supervisor. The aim is to let you show-case all of the skills you have learnt during your BE degree. In particular, you will design, implement and evaluate a solution to a complex engineering problem. You will also present your solution through a final report, an oral presentation and where appropriate, a practical demonstration.
In 2021, it will be possible to take this course remotely, but the set of projects that are feasible for remote enrolment will be limited. Only students with a good justification (for example, enrolling from overseas) will be permitted to take this course remotely; students who can be in Wellington are expected to engage face-to-face with their supervisors, and, where approriate, use the physical lab resources of the School.
Students taking this course remotely must have access to a computer with camera and microphone and a reliable high speed internet connection that will support real-time video plus audio connections and screen sharing.  Students must be able to use Zoom; other communication applications may also be used. A mobile phone connection only is not considered sufficient.   The computer must be adequate to support the programming required by the project.
If the assessment of the course includes tests, the tests will generally be run in-person on the Kelburn campus. There will be a remote option for students who cannot attend in-person, but the remote option imposes extra costs on the School and will be limited to students with a strong justification (for example, being enrolled from overseas). The remote test option is likely to use the ProctorU system for online supervision of the tests. ProctorU requires installation of monitoring software on your computer which also uses your camera and microphone, and monitors your test-taking in real-time. Students who will need to use the remote test option must contact the course coordinator in the first two weeks to get permission and make arrangements.

Withdrawal from Course

Withdrawal dates and process:


Will Browne (Coordinator)

Teaching Format

A schedule of lecture topics will be available online. Regular meetings with your supervisor need to be arranged (Weekly meeting preferable). .

Student feedback

Student feedback on University courses may be found at:  www.cad.vuw.ac.nz/feedback/feedback_display.php

Dates (trimester, teaching & break dates)

  • Teaching: 22 February 2021 - 28 May 2021
  • Break: 05 April 2021 - 18 April 2021
  • Study period: 31 May 2021 - 03 June 2021
  • Exam period: 04 June 2021 - 19 June 2021
  • Teaching: 05 July 2021 - 08 October 2021
  • Break: 16 August 2021 - 29 August 2021
  • Study period: 11 October 2021 - 14 October 2021
  • Exam period: 15 October 2021 - 06 November 2021

Class Times and Room Numbers

22 February 2021 - 04 April 2021

  • Thursday 16:10 - 17:00 – LT119, Hunter, Kelburn
19 April 2021 - 30 May 2021

  • Thursday 16:10 - 17:00 – LT119, Hunter, Kelburn
05 July 2021 - 15 August 2021

  • Thursday 16:10 - 17:00 – LT119, Hunter, Kelburn
30 August 2021 - 10 October 2021

  • Thursday 16:10 - 17:00 – LT119, Hunter, Kelburn


There are no required texts for this offering.

Mandatory Course Requirements

In addition to achieving an overall pass mark of at least 50%, students must:

  • Deliver the final oral presentation,
  • Submit both the preliminary and final reports, and
  • Maintain a current copy of all work on University-approved storage systems, to demonstrate achievement of all the CLOs of the course.

If you believe that exceptional circumstances may prevent you from meeting the mandatory course requirements, contact the Course Coordinator for advice as soon as possible.


Your grade will be determined through an assessment of the various reports and presentations.

  • Preliminary Assessment - 20%
  • Final report and oral presentation - combined 80%

Assessment ItemDue Date or Test DateCLO(s)Percentage
Preliminary report and presentationWeek 10 of T1CLO: 1,2,320%
Final report and presentationCLO: 1,2,380%
A meeting log that must include a record of:
* when student / supevisor met.
* what action points were agreed for the next meeting.
* what action points were achieved since the last meeting.
* a statement on any action points not achieved since the last meeting.
[Penalty of up to two grades points from final grade for not adequately submitting a log.]
CLO: 1,2,30%


Late submissions will be penalized and extensions will not be given without prior arrangement with supervisors and the course coordinators. You should expect a penalty of one grade per day of lateness (i.e. A- would be reduced to a B+).


Individual extensions will only be granted in exceptional personal circumstances, and should be negotiated with the course coordinator before the deadline whenever possible. Documentation (eg, medical certificate) may be required.

Submission & Return

Assignments and reports to be submitted using the ECS online submission system, accessible through the course web pages. Marks and comments will be returned through the ECS marking system, also available through the course web pages.

Group Work

Where appropriate, team projects are permitted. In such case, all reporting items must still be individually prepared and, ideally, each student will do a distinct part of the project (distinct being judged by the project supervisor and course coordinators).


In order to maintain satisfactory progress in CGRA/COMP/ENGR/ELCO 489, you should plan to spend an average of 10 hours per week on this paper, spread over the 30 weeks that the course runs (i.e. including mid-trimester breaks). During term time, a plausible and approximate breakdown for these hours would be:

  • Lectures/tutorials: Will be held as and when required.
  • Project work: 10 hours per week.
NOTE: It is very important for you to ensure that you put enough time in your project. Your supervisor can give you warnings if your progress is slow due to lack of efforts. After three warnings, the associate dean will arrange a meeting with you to discuss your progress and ways of improvement.
NOTE: Time spent for writing research papers (both conference and journal papers) will usually not be counted for your project. If you plan to prepare a research paper during this project, please seek consent from your supervisor. An approval from Associate Dean of Students and the Head of School is also necessary.

Teaching Plan

See: https://ecs.wgtn.ac.nz/Courses/ENGR489_2021FY/LectureSchedule

Communication of Additional Information

All online material for this course can be accessed at https://ecs.wgtn.ac.nz/Courses/ENGR489_20201FY/

Offering CRN: 18688

Points: 30
Prerequisites: as for ENGR 401
Duration: 22 February 2021 - 07 November 2021
Starts: Trimester 1+2
Campus: Kelburn