Strategic Design for Engineering, Product Development and Advanced Manufacturing

About the Graduate Diploma in Design

The Professional Master of Engineering (MEng) degree with a Graduate Diploma in Design (GDD) is an exciting program offered by the Department of Mechanical and Mechatronics Engineering at the University of Waterloo. 

It is a coursework program available to graduate engineers, qualified working professionals or internationally trained engineers on a full or part-time basis. The unique feature of the GDD is the mandatory three (3) course programming component that integrates a cooperative educational term. 

The three (3) course sequence is designed to move your design thinking ability from conventional rule-based levels to strategic expertise levels using novel, systematic and progressive teaching, learning and assessment methods.  The Design Methods course introduces you to the latest design theory, methods, and techniques and culminates with a design project. This is followed by studio and tutorial-based design project course that emphasizes situation-based expertise building, followed by the final course that is designed to facilitate your development as a strategic designer.  This final course puts you on path for your continued development as an expert practicing designer.

Learning to discover, formalize and communicate a valid opportunity and to structure and co-evolve problem and solution spaces is a key educational objective of this course.

Design is a creative discipline and we focus on the several important forms that it may take, such as:

  • A process of complex problem solving, in devising means to change existing situations into preferred ones,
  • The creation of artifacts, systems and processes and their embedding in our natural, virtual, psychological, economic and social environments
  • Creative artistic expression and the communication of meaning, and
  • Reflective practice

Design’s true strength is derived from it’s domain independence and universality, and while the context of instruction is in engineering its principles and practices can extend far beyond.

You will receive mentoring, oversight and advice from both world-renowned faculty and accomplished practitioners during a series of design workshops and design reviews.

Finally, this diploma can be structured to accommodate the Certificate of Completion in Business and Entrepreneurship from the Conrad School of Business and Entrepreneurship in addition to the Graduate Diploma in Design – a powerful educational experience and practical preparation for our modern world.

Admission Process

The Graduate Diploma in Design requires that candidates complete two (2) design project courses, ME681: Design Project 1 and ME682: Design Project 2.  Admission into these courses requires permission of the instructor, and follows an admission process described below.  A candidate may submit an application for admission at any time.

The candidate must submit the following to the Graduate Administrator:

  • A Letter of Intent expressing why the candidate would like to take a Graduate Diploma in Design
  • A design project portfolio of completed design projects including a summary of challenges encountered and lessons-learned.  This can be submitted as a presentation format set of slides
  • Résumé

The candidate may be invited for an interview with the course instructor.  The interview will consist of a one-on-one review of the candidate’s background, knowledge and design project experience.  A design aptitude test may be administered before or during the interview.  The student will have an opportunity to ask questions about the design project course structure and format at this time. Remote interviews can be scheduled upon the request of the applicant.

Students who are not successful will be notified as such and will be encouraged to continue to develop experience and expertise in developing a design project portfolio of projects.

Application Deadlines

  • GDD (non coop) - Fall term course add/drop deadline
    • Interviews - until the end of September 
  • GDD (coop 4 & 8-stream) - Week 3 of Fall lectures, application deadline
    • Applicants must complete aptitude test in week 2 fall lecture of ME 680

Degree Requirements

Students must complete the degree requirements of the general MEng program. To add the Graduate Diploma in Design, four of the eight graduate level courses required must include the three mandatory courses and one specific course.

Mandatory courses:

Course Instructors
ME 680 Advanced Design Engineering

O. Nespoli

S. Lambert

ME 681 Advanced Design Engineering- Design Project 1* O. Nespoli
ME 682 Advanced Design Engineering- Design Project 2* O. Nespoli
*Mandatory Courses must be taken in sequence  

One (1) engineering science-based course with an engineering design focus from Faculty of Engineering courses, with approval.  The following list is an example from the department of mechanical engineering:

Courses Instructors
ME 538 Welding Design, Fabrication & Quality Control

N. Tam
N. Zhou

ME 555 Computer-Aided Design S. Bedi
B. Khamesee
ME 559 Finite Elements Methods K. Inal
N. Chandrashekar
ME 561 Fluid Power Control A. Khajepour
E. Toyserkani
ME 566 Computational Fluid Dynamics For Engineering Design C. Devaud
F.S. Lien

Centre for Career Action Graduate Student Workshop Calendar

Contact Information

For more information about the MEng program in the department of Mechanical and Mechatronics Engineering please look through our main website.

For answers to specific questions, please feel free to contact us:

Ms. Allison Walker: Graduate Administrator, MEng and Recruitment, Graduate Studies.
Tel: (519) 888-4567, ext, 33341. E-mail:

Prof. Oscar Nespoli, P.Eng: Full-time Faculty
Tel: (519) 888-4567, ext, 84420. E-mail:

Dr. Steve Lambert: Professor.
Tel: (519) 888-4567, ext, 84728. E-mail: