Design thinking

Beginning in first year, systems design students engage in design workshops that involve devising solutions to problems using specific approaches. Working in teams, students learn to implement their solutions by creating, testing, and evaluating prototypes. Teams are generally dynamic and effective, with all members contributing equally for the better of the whole.

In first year, students are assigned to teams and given problems such as designing physical systems that use wasted energy to help with everyday tasks. Possible solutions could include building a bedside lampshade cover to keep you warm at night, or a solar-powered personal anxiety detector.

In fourth year, students choose their partners, supervisor, and the specific problems that they will address. They then spend a full year designing and building their solutions, developing ideas such as prosthetic forearms and stock market prediction programs. Some students have even converted their fourth-year projects into start-up companies, launched after (and sometimes before) graduation!

Check out some of our students’ past workshop projects.

Options available to systems design students

Note: options often require taking extra courses during an academic term. Students are allowed to take one extra course during an academic term and must have an average of greater than 70% in each of the previous two academic terms.