UBC Engineering’s world-class faculty and researchers are committed to an instructional approach that is varied, experiential and engaging. This multi-faceted approach makes UBC engineers stand apart, on a firm foundation from which to build an exciting and rewarding career.

What you might expect/course format

While each course varies based on the subject and instructor, our VSP Packages feature:

  • Interactive in person lectures
  • Hands-on labs, fun and practical demonstrations
  • Team-based assignments
  • Fun social activities

Introduction to Robotics

Introduction to Robotics will provide an overview of common robotic devices and their classifications, and discuss industrial and home robotics applications. Major technical challenges in robotics will be considered, including dynamics related to trajectory and path planning. Through lectures, group activities, and hands-on lab work, students will explore both how robots sense their surroundings and gather information, and how they can interact with their environment. Although this course is technical in nature and will include a hands-on component, no experience in robotics is required. Knowledge of programming is encouraged in order to follow the material.

Roboethics: Challenges from Computational Intelligence

This seminar-style course will provide students with an awareness of the current state of thinking of the design of robots that are meant to co-exist with people (service, therapy, military, sentry, etc.).  The course will provide insight into how sociology, psychology, law, literature and design can contribute knowledge to arrive at a safe and effective co-existence between humans and machines that have some autonomy from their computational intelligence, i.e., robots.  The course will examine the taxonomy of collaborative robots, the underpinnings of bioethics applied to technology, and several controversial robot application areas.

Undergraduate applicants only.
Prerequisites: Preferred background in Engineering or related discipline. Knowledge of programming is encouraged in order to follow the material.

Introduction to Mechanics of Materials

When you push, pull, or twist an object, how much does it deform and when will it break? Introduction to Mechanics of Materials will start you on the road to answering these questions, which are essential for mechanical engineering design. Topics covered include: statically determinate frames and trusses, normal and shear stresses and strains, shear force and bending moment diagrams, the theory of beam bending, torsion of circular rods, the transformation of stress and strain in two and three dimensions, stress in thin-walled pressure vessels, yield and ultimate failure criteria, and stress measurement techniques using strain gages.

Introduction to Dynamics

A fundamental subject core to Mechanical Engineering, this course will explore how forces act upon rigid bodies and the movements which are generated. Classes will cover the dynamics of systems of particles, and then extend to rigid bodies in planar motion. Kinematics of rigid bodies will include relative and absolute motion analyses. Looking at the kinetics of rigid bodies in two dimensions, students will learn how to use Newton’s second law equations of motion as well as work-energy and impulse-momentum principles, while gaining a practical understanding of their engineering applications. Advanced topics such as Gyroscopic motion and its practical applications will also be covered. Students will be introduced to how Engineering software is used to model, analyze and simulate the dynamics of rigid bodies and simple mechanisms.

Undergraduate applicants only.
Prerequisites: Preferred background in Engineering or related discipline.

Introduction to Fluid Mechanics

How do planes fly? Why are all modern sedans essentially the same shape? How does water get from Vancouver’s reservoirs to the water taps on campus? The answers to these questions require an understanding of fluid mechanics. This course introduces the fundamentals and basic engineering applications of fluid mechanics, from nautical to aerospace. Topics covered will include fluid properties, hydrostatics (why boats float), and the application of Newton’s Second Law of Motion to fluid systems. Next, the course will describe how scale-model experiments in fluid mechanics are designed, interpreted, and applied to real-world systems. Laminar and turbulent flow through pipes, pipe systems, and pumps will also be covered.

Introduction to Thermodynamics

A key topic in engineering is understanding how to convert energy stored in the environment into usable mechanical work. Through lectures and hands-on activities, students will learn about energy conservation and entropy transport in closed and open systems. These concepts will be applied to analyze refrigeration and power cycles, including the Otto (internal combustion engine) and Brayton (jet engine) cycles. Students will explore course principles through fun and practical demonstrations, including making their own ice cream!

Undergraduate applicants only
Prerequisites: Preferred background in Engineering or related discipline

Student testimonials

‘”Frankly, VSP is overall a great summer program in North America. Life in Vancouver doesn’t’ stand still. The teaching quality are assured by the polished staff and support. The patient, proficient, and accessible support and mentors are second to none. I am very passionate about being able to having a wonderful campus life in UBC. My computer science background helped me to solve problems with my teammates in a pleasant way.

…the course instructors are so approachable and available to answer questions at any time even late night. I built unforgettable friendship with my classmates and instructors. Apart from coursework, I had much spare time to discover Vancouver and its surroundings.”

– Ruiyu Gao, VSP Applied Science Student