PD21: Engineering Workplace Skills II: Developing Effective Plans

PD21: Engineering Workplace Skills II: Developing Effective Plans introduces students to the engineering design process, a framework they can use to solve problems and satisfy stakeholders in their workplaces. How do you make sure your project fulfills all of your client’s needs? How do you choose between a handful of viable solutions? Can you create a compelling presentation that convinces everyone you’ve finished the job? Students who take PD21 can answer all of these questions with confidence upon finishing the course.

What do PD21 students do?

  • Define complex problems by identifying needs and solution requirements
  • Collect information from reliable sources to better understand problems
  • Differentiate and choose from a variety of feasible solutions
  • Present their findings in a concise, compelling manner

If you've completed PD21 and want to feature the course on your résumé, you're welcome to use and adapt the following bullet points in a "Professional Development" or "Relevant Courses" section:

  • Developed an understanding of the engineering design process, including needs analysis, requirements, design alternatives, and design selection
  • Generated multiple design options using morphological charts to create feasibility models
  • Identified criteria and values for decision matrices; used decision matrices to select best final design option
  • Effectively communicated project management plans in writing, using work breakdown structures and linear responsibility charts to identify and best assign resources

How are PD21 students graded?

PD21 students complete a series of assessments over the course of the term. To pass the course, students must earn an overall grade of 60% or higher. Students can deepen their learning by completing a bonus assessment worth 10% during the term.

If you have a question about grading in PD21, contact the course team using the information in the sidebar.


PD21’s instructor is Dr. Peter Teertstra, a continuing lecturer in the department of Mechanical and Mechatronics Engineering at the University of Waterloo. Peter is also the director of Waterloo’s Student Design Centre.  


PD21 is offered every term.

Enrolment information

PD21 is the second compulsory PD course taken by students in Engineering. Students are enrolled automatically and complete the course during their second work term.

Students in Engineering complete their first elective PD course next.

Contact information

Course team: pd21@uwaterloo.ca

ISC: Noor Al Jalam  naljalam@uwaterloo.ca