Get creative. And still get an engineering degree.
Cross boundaries. Connect the dots. Look at the bigger picture. Systems Design is designed for people who want the rigour of an engineering degree plus the flexibility to explore topics outside traditional engineering disciplines.
You’ll examine the people, materials, tools, software, and other factors involved in any engineering problem. You’ll learn to look at the system as a whole and assess how one change will affect another element, using a variety of modelling, analysis, and design methods.
Our project-based approach gives you lots of opportunity to apply your learning to real problems. Plus you’ll get 2 full years of work experience through our co-op program.
Once you graduate, your options are wide open: our grads go on to engineering consulting, project management, graduate school, medical school, startups, and more.
200 electives = lots of choice
Systems Design is Waterloo’s most flexible engineering program — you can choose from 200 different electives.
Add international experience
Grab your passport and take advantage of Canada’s biggest engineering exchange program, with 81 opportunities in 30 countries.
About the Systems Design Engineering program
Gain 2 years of experience in the co-op program
Apply directly to this program on your application
Earn a Bachelor of Applied Science degree
Engineering school in Canada (US News & World Report 2018)
Offered through the Faculty of Engineering
Students earn $17,800 on average per co-op term
Systems Design Engineering admission requirements
- Ontario students: 6 Grade 12 U and/or M courses including
- Advanced Functions (minimum final grade of 70% is required)
- Calculus and Vectors (minimum final grade of 70% is required)
- Chemistry (minimum final grade of 70% is required)
- Physics (minimum final grade of 70% is required)
- English (ENG4U) (minimum final grade of 70% is required)
- Admission averages: Individual selection from the low to mid-90s
- An Admission Information Form is required
- Not studying in Ontario? Search our admission requirements
September to December
SYDE 101/SYDE 101L - Introduction to Systems Design Engineering/Graphics Laboratory
SYDE 111 - Fundamental Engineering Math 1
SYDE 113 - Matrices and Linear Systems
SYDE 121 - Digital Computation
SYDE 161 - Introduction to Design
SYDE 181 - Physics 1
May to August
SYDE 102 - Seminar
SYDE 112 - Fundamental Engineering Math 2
SYDE 114 - Numerical and Applied Calculus
SYDE 162 - Human Factors in Design
SYDE 192/192L - Digital Systems/Lab
SYDE 223 - Data Structures and Algorithms
1 Complementary Studies Elective course
After first year
- See the range of courses available in Systems Design Engineering.
- View all the courses required for your degree.
Sample upper-year courses
Gain relevant work experience through co-op
By alternating school terms and paid co-op work terms throughout your degree, you can explore new career areas and types of employers as your career interests evolve.
Sample co-op job titles
- Product design/development
- Rapid prototype software developer
- Product manager
- User experience designer
- Application developer
- Control systems software designer co-op
- Machine learning developer
Sample co-op employers
- Environment and Climate Change Canada
- Intelligent Mechatronic Systems Inc
- Atomic Labs
- Applications Engineer, Toyota Motor Manufacturing Canada Inc.
- Consultant, Deloitte & Touche LLP
- Technology Consulting Analyst, Accenture Inc.
- Business Systems Analyst, CIBC
- Co-owner and CEO, Vidyard
- Co-founder and CTO, Kik Interactive Inc.
- Management Consultant, IBM Canada
- IT Business Analyst, Toronto-Dominion Bank
- Health Business Consultant, TELUS Health
Possible professional designation
Learn more about Systems Design Engineering
- Visit the Systems Design Engineering website