Practicum project proposal guidelines

The purpose of this page is to aid Carnegie Mellon University Africa Practicum Sponsoring Organizations in creating an appropriate proposal document that will highlight the main details and issues regarding the proposed practicum project. The proposal will be made available to the students and faculty involved in the Master of Science in Information Technology Practicum (MS Practicum) course and will serve as the main information source prior to project selection. Thus, it is in the sponsor’s best interest to present the project information clearly and completely.


MS Practicum - An opportunity in the CMU curriculum for students to refine and reinforce the skills they have acquired during the first year of their master’s degree program. Short-term, real-world projects are sought that can thoroughly exercise these skills in a fixed amount of time. The practicum is 14 weeks in length.

Sponsor/Sponsoring Organization - The Sponsor is the organization that agrees to support a CMU practicum project. They provide the project definition and necessary resources to complete the project. The Sponsor designates an individual to be the project client for the team.

Team – A group of 3 to 4 CMU students, who together will work part-time (20 hours per week per student) on the Sponsor’s project. The student team is expected to perform as if they are a contract team that negotiates the scope and details of the project directly with the client.

Client - Sponsor’s designated individual who interacts directly with the team. For the initial weeks of the practicum, the client (or client’s designee), must be available at least twice a week (remotely is acceptable) to facilitate learning the new application domains, technologies, etc. Thereafter, the client should be regularly available at least once a week for the remainder of the project.

Proposal elements

A practicum proposal should contain the following in document or presentation format:

  1. Name of the organization.
  2. Client contact information. Name, title, phone number, email address, including general availability in terms of time of day and day of week most appropriate for meeting and/or consultations.
  3. Title or name of project. (An item often left out). Please include the name/title of the project.
  4. Organization background. A brief overview of the business that the practicum sponsor organization engages in and the specific department that will be responsible for the conduct of the project.
  5. Project overview. Describe the specific problem you are trying to solve, its strategic or operational relevance and the benefits to the organization and its customers including internal groups. Also, describe the scope of the project as you see it, including the core problem, its dependencies, and the role of the team in developing a solution or possibly a part of the larger solution given the time and resources available. The project should have discrete goals rather than simply additional workers on an ongoing project.
  6. Project data. If the project will be using data owned by you or any other organization, provide a description of that data and proof that you have access to it at the time of your submission. This will help us determine the nature of the data as well as its privacy concerns.
  7. Key project outcomes. Please specify the desired outcomes, documents, systems built, or reports that will be created or generated during the project.
  8. Technology skills and competencies required by the practicum student team. Please identify any known technical skills and competencies you believe are required to deliver the desired results and deliverables.
  9. Challenges and risks. Briefly outline any serious challenges that you believe exist and as well the risks these challenges can present, e.g., technical, organizational, scheduling, or communication.
  10. Preliminary work plan. Please provide a brief overview of the sequence of the various key tasks and desired outcomes. This will assist the student team to develop the statement of work (SOW).

Practicum dates and deadlines

  • Course sponsor information sessions: June 29th – July 1, 2022. CMU Africa organizes practicum information sessions for potential sponsors
  • Project proposal due date: July 8th at 11:59pm Kigali time. All interested Partners must submit their Practicum proposals by this date for consideration
  • Responses to partners/sponsors: July 22nd, 2022. You will be provided feedback on whether your practicum has been shortlisted by this date.
  • CMU’s Office of Sponsored Projects (OSP) Engagement with Sponsors on Educational Project Agreement (EPA): July 25-29, 2022. OSP will send draft EPAs to Sponsors for shortlisted projects to commence regulatory/legal processes.
  • Partners proposal approved and Educational Project Agreement (EPA) accepted by partner: August 8th, 2022 to August 16th, 2022. This is the period by which any Practicum Sponsor (organizations with shortlisted practicum projects) must have executed the EPA with CMU for inclusion in the program.
  • Student project bidding: August 19th, 2022. This is the date when students will select which Practicum proposals that they are interested in working on.
  • Outcome of project bidding: August 23rd, 2022. Sponsor organizations whose shortlisted practicum projects have not been selected will be informed. Similarly, sponsor organizations whose projects have been selected by students will be informed and be given the details of the student team.
  • First meeting between sponsor advisor and student team: on or before August 26th, 2022. This is the kick-off between each student team and their Sponsor advisor about the Practicum project.
  • Practicum kick-off: August 29th, 2022. This is the date by which students, Practicum Sponsor advisors, and CMU faculty advisors must officially kick-off collaboration on the MS Practicum project.
  • Ongoing development and collaboration: from August 29th through November. The students and Practicum sponsors work to deliver a solution based on the scope outlined in the Practicum proposal

Submission and contact details

You may submit your proposal in presentation or document format by emailing to the address below. Thank you for your interest in becoming a Practicum Project Sponsor. Should you have any questions, please email the practicum team or Dr. George Okeyo.