Skip to main content

University of Michigan School of Information


Project Proposal Process

If you are interested in engaging with a team of UMSI students on a project, you will need to submit both a project idea that is in scope for an active client-based opportunity and a subsequent project proposal. This proposal will contain all the information we need to present the project to UMSI students and faculty for consideration. 

Please note that submitting a proposal does not guarantee that your project will be matched to a student team. If you ever have questions about the status of your proposal please contact us at [email protected]. Review the Timeline page for more information about the timing of the process outlined below.

Step-By-Step Guide for UMSI Project Consideration

Step 1: Review the client-based course and program options

Familiarizing yourself with the project opportunities available through UMSI will help you identify a project idea that aligns with our client-based courses and programs. 

Tip: Reading the course descriptions, syllabi and project examples on the various client-based course or program pages will give you a better idea of what UMSI students can do. Please note that while all course and program offerings are listed on our website, some of them may not be actively accepting projects for a given semester due to variations in academic offerings.

Step 2: Submit your project idea

Complete this form to submit a project idea for consideration. At this stage, we are interested in understanding your project at a high level to determine if your needs overlap with students' abilities and course requirements. After we review your project idea, you can expect one of the following outcomes: 

  • We will invite you to advance in the proposal process if your project idea is clearly in scope and a potential fit with UMSI courses and programs.
  • We will schedule a call with you if we need more information to understand whether or not your project idea is in scope for UMSI courses and programs.
  • We will archive your project idea if it is out of scope for UMSI courses and programs. In this case, we would encourage you to familiarize yourself with the possible outcomes of UMSI’s various project opportunities and welcome you to submit another project idea that is a better fit. 

Step 3: Submit your project proposal

If it is determined that your project idea is a possible fit for a UMSI client-based course or program, we will ask you to submit a project proposal. The proposal will be submitted through a form that prompts you to elaborate on your initial idea by providing details such as: 

  • The specific challenges the project is meant to tackle
  • The users/constituents that the project will impact
  • The systems, data, websites and/or processes that students will need access to while working on the project
  • The contact information for at least two people that students can reliably reach out to with any questions they have throughout the project

Tip: In your project proposal, frame the project in a way that will appeal to the faculty and students. Creating an attention-getting project title and describing aspects of the project that are particularly innovative, impactful or unique can help your project stand out. 

Step 4: Collaborate with the Client Engagement team to finalize your project proposal

After submitting your project proposal, you will receive an email from a member of the Client Engagement Team who will have additional questions for you to clarify and confirm the details of your project as we scope it for a specific course or program. Keep an eye on your email and make sure to respond to their questions in a timely manner to move your project proposal forward. 

Step 5: Confirm the NDA needs for your project

Your organization may require you to use a non-disclosure agreement (NDA) when working with a student team to protect your organization’s confidential information. Use of an agreement is not required by UMSI, and projects with no agreements, or agreements that are less restrictive, tend to be more appealing to students. We cannot present your project to students for consideration unless we receive confirmation of your project’s NDA needs. Learn more about NDAs for student projects.

Project Matching

Project proposals are presented to both faculty and students for consideration before they are matched. More information about our matching process can be found below.

Phase 1: Projects are presented to faculty. The faculty member or program manager will review your proposal to determine whether or not your project aligns with the learning outcomes and expectations of their course or program. 

Note: Not all project proposals submitted will be identified by the faculty member or program manager as a good fit.

Phase 2: Projects are presented to students. At the start of each UMSI client-based opportunity, students are presented with all of the project proposals that their faculty or program manager have approved for their course or program. Students will review each project and select which ones they are most interested in working on. The Client Engagement team will notify you shortly before the student review process if your project is being presented to them for consideration.

Note: Not all project proposals submitted will be selected by students.

Phase 3: Projects are matched to teams. After receiving student preferences, the faculty member or program manager will match each student team to a project. If your project is matched, you will hear directly from the student team you will be working with. If your project is not selected, you will hear from the client engagement team about potential next steps for your project.