Capstone Overview

What are Capstone Projects?

The centerpiece of the MTM Program is our intense and hands-on capstone projects, putting students at the center of solving real problems.

They’re Real World

Students join real-world teams to take medical innovations from idea to the clinic.

Projects range from new medical devices to drug and cell therapies to patient workflow management systems. As a MTM student, you’ll be an important part of these advances.

They Build Skills

Capstone teams demand and evolve a range of diverse professional skills.

Some focus on getting a first proof-of-concept developed or providing a user interface suitable for use in a clinical setting. Others chart a course for regulatory approval while developing a business case for funding.

They’re Innovative

Teams emerge from research projects in the labs at UCSF, UC Berkeley, and Bay Area business partners.

A broad suite of partners have worked with students to make real advances in their own innovations.

Capstone Project Deliverables

Students develop projects with a balanced hybrid of core requirements and project-specific tasks.

Core Deliverables

Market Assessment
Regulatory Strategy
Reimbursement Planning
Ethical Considerations
Business Model

Project Specific

Funding Proposal
User Needs Assessment
Pitch Competitions
Proof of Concept
User Experience

Project Selection Process

Every fall, MTM students dive into a variety of capstone projects. Teams of students collaborate with a sponsor to take healthcare innovation from early concept toward clinical use. Projects focus on multiple aspects of the medical translation process, including technical development, prototyping, examination of the intellectual property landscape, market scoping, and business case development.

Teams involve 3-5 students with backgrounds ranging from bioengineering and molecular biology, to clinical training as RNs or MDs. The sponsor team can be multifaceted as well, including clinicians, academic scientists, business advisers, and consultants. Generally, sponsors meet with students on a weekly basis, providing mentorship, technical advice, and resources (e.g., lab space, hardware and software) required to complete the project.


Projects submissions are accepted until June 15 for the upcoming year (early drafts are encouraged and allow us to suggest ways to make the proposal a better fit for students). Submissions are evaluated to ensure they incorporate translational elements and have a robust mentorship plan to enhance the student learning experience. Sponsors will be notified whether they will be considered in early August. 


At the beginning of the MTM program in mid-August, mentors will pitch their project to students and answer questions. Students express their interest in each project, and projects must garner sufficient interest (at least 3 students) to proceed. Capstone mentors discuss with the MTM program the skills they need, and the MTM program builds teams, taking into account both student and sponsor preferences.


Teams begin work in early September, with each student expected to spend 10-30 hours per week on project activity (this effort typically ramps up during the year, with more intense project focus later in the spring). Sponsors from outside the SF Bay Area, or who expect work to be primarily remote, should plan for at least three in-person activities throughout the year. Projects that expect to be in-person should describe contingency plans in case public health conditions necessitate switching to fully remote work.


Students use their capstone projects as the basis for assignments in core MTM courses, and projects must accommodate some level of discussion. At the conclusion of the MTM program, in June, students will present their capstone activities in a symposium that includes students, mentors, faculty, and other invited guests of the MTM program.

The Capstone Experience

Past students have delivered outstanding work alongside their dedicated sponsors. Take a look at what they achieved.

View Capstone Projects