Strategic Design for Engineering, Product Development and Advanced Manufacturing

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About the Graduate Diploma in Design (CO-OP Option)

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 an optional 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, principles 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, identify, construct, represent and communicate a meaningful 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 finding, constructing and 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
  • Engaging with messy, indeterminate, problematic situations (Schön, 1983)

Design’s true strength is derived from its 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 studio, 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.

See What Our Grad Students Have to Say!

Admission Process

The Graduate Diploma in Design (GDip Design) starts in the Fall term only with ME680 Advanced Design Engineering, and is followed by ME681 Advanced Design Engineering – Design Project 1 and ME682 Advanced Design Engineering – Design Project 2.   Admission into these courses requires permission of the instructor and follows an admission process described below. 

To obtain permission to enrol in ME680, please submit the following directly to the instructor between August 1st and August 22nd:

  • Résumé
  • Design Project Portfolio

You may be asked to meet with the instructor, virtually or in person. You will be notified on or before September 1st. Applicants having 2-3 years industry experience are best positioned for admission, however, all applications will be reviewed. After you have been admitted into ME680, submit the following to the Graduate Administrator for applying to the Diploma on or before the course drop/add deadline:

  • A Letter of Intent expressing why you would like to take the Graduate Diploma in Design
  • Updated Résumé
  • Updated 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

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, during or after the interview.  The student will have an opportunity to ask questions about the GDip Design at this time. 

Admission into the diploma is also contingent on applicants successfully completing ME680. 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

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 (must be taken in sequence)

  • ME 680 Advanced Design Engineering
  • ME 681 Advanced Design Engineering - Design Project 1
  • ME 682 Advanced Design Engineering - Design Project 2

One (1) specific science-based course with an engineering design focus from the department of mechanical engineering:

  • ME 538 Welding Design, Fabrication & Quality Control
  • ME 555 Computer-Aided Design
  • ME 559 Finite Elements Methods
  • ME 561 Fluid Power Control
  • ME 566 Computational Fluid Dynamics for Engineering Design

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:

Krista Miller: Graduate Admissions and Recruitment Administrator

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

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