Graduate Studies at University of Waterloo

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Systems Design Engineering

Graduate Studies at University of Waterloo

Faculty:Faculty of Engineering
Field of Study:Systems Engineering
Thesis Based:Yes
Cost per year:*
National: $18,000

This cost estimate represents the tuition for the first year.


Established over 40 years ago, the Department of Systems Design Engineering at the University of Waterloo was the first-of-its-kind in Canada, and still is, hosting the most flexible programs and interdisciplinary areas of research. Systems design covers technical, environmental, socioeconomic and political aspects of the engineering process using systems design methodology.

Our community is home to more than 700 students, 35+ dedicated faculty and supportive staff, with thousands of alumni worldwide – including some of the most successful entrepreneurs to graduate from Waterloo.


These courses are intended as guidelines. Speak to your guidance counsellor to see what courses are offered at your school.
  • Excellent background preparation and academic achievement in prior degrees, usually a relevant (i.e. thesis-based) Master's degree with an 80% average from a recognized university.
  • Demonstrated ability to formulate research problems and to execute the research required to solve problems (such as a Master of Applied Science (MASc) research thesis or published scientific/technical papers).
  • At the time of admission, each student must have an approved PhD supervisor or two co-supervisors (at least one of whom is an approved PhD supervisor) who have agreed in writing to supervise the academic program of a candidate. The Faculty of Engineering maintains a list of individually approved research supervisors ("LIARS", which is equivalent to the current University of Waterloo designation of "ADDS": Approved Doctoral Dissertation Supervisors). Additions and deletions to this list are made by the Engineering Graduate Studies Subcommittee upon the recommendation of the Associate Chair for Graduate Studies in the appropriate department.
  • Note: in the Faculty of Engineering, a minimum 80% standing in an applicant's appropriate Master's program is the usual requirement. A MASc obtained without a full research thesis is normally an inadequate qualification for admission to the PhD program. Admission to the PhD program is based upon the student's academic record and evidence of ability to pursue independent work. No candidate will be admitted to the program before a faculty advisor is appointed as the student's supervisor.
  • Transfer to the PhD program without completion of the MASc program: a student enrolled in a MASc program at the University of Waterloo may apply for transfer to the PhD program without completing a Master's degree. Transfer from a MASc program to a PhD program will normally be considered if an applicant:
  • Has an excellent undergraduate record.
  • Has obtained a grade average of at least 80% in courses that have been taken for graduate credit.
  • Has developed a clearly defined research program that seems likely to satisfy the research proposal component of the PhD comprehensive examination and has demonstrated an aptitude for research.
  • Presents objective evidence of adequate English language skills which should enable the candidate to write a thesis and to communicate orally.
  • Is not beyond the fourth academic term of a MASc program.
  • Application Notes :
  • Résumé
  • Supplementary information form
  • Transcript(s)
  • 3 References: 2 from academic sources that are able to comment upon academic preparation and research ability.
  • English language proficiency (ELP) (if applicable)
  • * We make every attempt to provide accurate information on prerequisites, programs, and tuition. However, this information is subject to change without notice and we highly recommend that you contact the school to confirm important information before applying.

    Modified on October 02, 2022