Engineering Design

Experience unparalleled collaboration that prepares you for your career as an engineer!

At the U of G, you’ll work in mixed-major teams with your peers from other engineering majors, testing the limits of creative design.


Vehicle Design Challenge

a small car design made of meccano and wires. 2 students sitting in the background out of focus.
Adams Atrium view from above, filled with students competing in a design challenge


The Vehicle Design Challenge is an introduction to engineering and design by means of selected problems. Students integrate basic science, mathematics, and complementary studies to develop and communicate engineering solutions to specific needs using graphical, oral, and written means. Students apply computer-aided drafting, spreadsheets, and other tools to simple engineering design problems.

The aim of the course is to introduce students to engineering design at Guelph, to the expectations of the profession in spirit and specifics, to establish a collaborative and team philosophy around learning and engineering, and to stimulate enthusiasm through the successful completion of a design challenge.  Finally, to initiate the development of independent learning skills that are essential for success in engineering education and engineering careers.

Interdisciplinary student teams from this first-year course (ENGG*1100), design, build and program a vehicle for a client.

This design challenge constraints:

  • Vehicles must complete a variety of challenges to assess performance. Challenges have included speed tests, stability tests, safety tests, and launching of projectiles such as ping-pong balls at defined targets.
  • Challenges in 2021 included programming sensors for the autonomous vehicle to traverse an obstacle course.


Kinder Egg Toy

a 3D-printed toy
student hand reaching toward a small 3D-printed toy car


The 3D-Printed Kinder Toy is the second course in the undergraduate engineering design spine. The main goals of the course are to provide experience and guidance for working in and leading teams, developing communication and presentation skills, and teaching design using 3D modeling techniques. Students in this course will work in mixed teams to reverse engineer a common object such as a lawn mower or sewing machine, and then use skills learned in this project to conceive, design, build, test, and present a unique solution to a complex design problem.

Second-year design is a progression in engineering design skills with particular emphasis on computer usage in design, oral communication of solutions and team skills. Computer usage in design will include advanced CAD/CAM/CAE tools; and database management software. An introduction to safety in engineering practice and design, and the concept of sustainable development are also covered.

Student teams from second-year design (ENGG*2100) create a toy that fits inside a large Kinder Egg toy container when disassembled. Once the toy is put together, it must perform an action - drive/fly/shoot a projectile. Each year, toys are designed following a given theme – previous themes have included 'Biomimicry' and ‘Science Fiction'.

The task comes with a set of constraints:

  • All parts must fit inside a 10 cm tall Kinder Egg while disassembled
  • 75% of the overall weight must be 3D printed material
  • It must be able to store energy and then incorporate a release mechanism in the form of forward motion, shooting a projectile, or flying.


Creative Solution

students presenting their project in front of a slideshow presentation
a small car design made of meccano and wires. 2 students sitting in the background out of focus.


The Creative Solution Project combines the knowledge gained in the advanced engineering and basic science courses with the design skills taught in first and second-year design in solving open-ended problems. Additional design tools are presented, including model simulation, sensitivity analysis, linear programming, knowledge based systems and computer programming. Complementing these tools are discussions on writing and public speaking techniques, codes, safety issues, environmental assessment and professional management. These topics are taught with the consideration of available resources and cost.

This course builds on the design skills taught previously and focuses on a project-based model of learning. The lab time is designed to use a studio-style pedagogical approach to design. Each student is to apply the knowledge that they learned in their discipline-specific courses in the design environment.

This is a project-based, experiential learning course. Students apply knowledge and build on design and professional skills developed in previous advanced engineering and basic science courses to solve open-ended problems. Previous projects included: a modified fish ladder design, removal of microplastics from wastewater sludge, and a solution aimed at improving current concussion diagnostic protocols.

The design project presentation consists of:

  • Identifying a problem
  • Designing multiple alternative solutions
  • Determining a final design solution based on project's constraints and criteria
  • Submitting a final report


Final Capstone
Design Project

a student pointing to a device located on another student's back

person's hand reaching toward a design prototype

The Final Capstone Design Project is the final design course for the Engineering program. Teams of normally 3-4 students apply engineering analysis and design principles to an engineering problem in their discipline. A completely specified solution at the level of preliminary or final design is required, including assessment of socio-economic and environmental impact. This is a small group design that requires reports and a poster presentation to a professional standard. Ethics and legal case studies relevant to professional engineering practice are presented during the lectures.
Fourth-year design projects (also known as 41X projects) are to improve life through designing a solution to solve an open-ended problem. Previous projects have included: agriculture designs, solutions aimed at improving the environment, robotics and AI, healthcare and accessibility. Teams get the opportunity to work across disciplines to use their combined knowledge to solve a problem – much like in a real world scenario.

The final capstone project consists of:

  • Completing a large 41X poster
  • Presenting the chosen problem and solution
  • Designing and constructing a prototype or simulation
  • Submitting a final design report