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 two 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.
Systems Design Engineering admission requirements
Ontario students: six 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 high 80s to low 90s.
Complete the Admission Information Form once you've applied.
Not studying in Ontario? Search our admission requirements.
Why Waterloo Engineering?
Get tips from Waterloo students
Sign up for insider advice that can help you now and in the future.
Monthly topics include how to choose a university program, what it's like to be a Waterloo student, and more.
Questions? Ask a student!
Contact an Engineering student ambassador to learn about their experience.
Ask them questions such as why they chose their program, what the classes are like, and how you can get involved on campus.
First-year courses and beyond
September to December
May to August
After first year
Sample upper-year courses
Co-op = relevant paid work experience
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
What can I do with a degree in Systems Design Engineering?
Waterloo Systems Design Engineering graduates commonly pursue careers in business analysis, technology consulting, and applications engineering. They often utilize their interdisciplinary skills to work for manufacturing companies, accounting firms, technology companies, and more.
- Software Development Engineer – Amazon
- Hardware Program Manager – Microsoft
- Senior Solutions Engineer – D2L
- Software Engineer – Facebook
- Applications Engineer – Toyota Motor Manufacturing Canada
- Software Engineer – Apple
- Energy Manager – Hydro Ottawa
Possible professional designation
Learn about the future of careers in engineering.
Student life, including Women in Engineering
Student design teams
Have fun and develop hands-on experience through one or more of our 20+ student-led design teams! Design teams include rocketry, concrete canoe, robotics, solar car, submarine racing, autonomous vehicle, Space X Hyperloop, Formula Motorsports, Engineers Without Borders, and more.
You’ll meet people with similar interests and goals, benefit from networking with experts in the engineering profession, and develop some great skills for your résumé.
Women in Engineering
Women in Engineering (WiE) supports female students and engineers while encouraging the next generation of women to pursue careers in engineering. Regardless of gender, orientation, or background, you’re welcome to join this inclusive community to participate in outreach events as well as mentorship and volunteer opportunities.
Any student is also welcome to join Women in Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (WiSTEM), a student-run club that promotes equality in STEM through skills workshops, discussions, and guest speakers.
Engineering Society (EngSoc)
EngSoc is run by students for students and provides many social and academic events and services to make your experience as a Waterloo Engineering student the best it can be.
Benefit from mentoring for first-year students or get involved and meet other students through an annual conference, semiformal, career fair, charity events, community outreach, and much more!
Our campus is packed with opportunities to get involved – no matter how unique your interests. Between our 250+ student-run clubs, sports and recreation opportunities, student government, and events, student life at Waterloo has something for everyone.
Offered through the Faculty of Engineering
Apply directly to this program on your application
Earn a Bachelor of Applied Science degree
Ready to learn more?
- Download our program brochure.
- Visit the Department of Systems Design Engineering website.
- Subscribe to our newsletter to get tips and advice from current students.
Visit our Waterloo Stories website to learn about research in Systems Design Engineering at Waterloo
Add international experience
Grab your passport and take advantage of Canada’s biggest engineering exchange program, with 81 opportunities in 30 countries.
200 electives = lots of choice
Systems Design is Waterloo’s most flexible engineering program — you can choose from 200 different electives.