Department of Engineering

 

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.

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Engineering Course Packages

June 8 - July 8, 2019

Electrical and Computer Engineering
Introduction to Digital Technology and Smart Devices
New products (smart-home devices, portable electronics, cars, appliances) are getting more intelligent and more connected. Do you ever wonder what technology lies behind them? This course covers the fundamental ideas behind smart devices and modern electronics. We will study the building blocks of digital electronic systems, including small microcomputers, and how they interface with us. Our exploration will involve the design and implementation of machines that can read signals from the real world and make decisions digitally. This course will introduce the basics of microcontroller programming to perform smart tasks; additionally, it will cover the how different peripherals and sensors are used to communicate, and how the information they collect is stored. Regardless of your background, if you are interested in the world of modern electronics, this course is for you!
Introduction to Electric Circuits, Sensors, and Power
You need more than a digital system and basic programming to make your electronics work -- you need to understand electricity, sensors, and what it takes to bring everything to life. In this course, the basics of electricity and electrical circuits will be covered. You will learn about circuit fundamentals, amplifiers, and filters, which allow us to recover signals from devices such as microphones. Our look into sensors will allow us to detect physical magnitudes (like light, sound, pressure, color, temperature, and speed) and turn them into electrical signals that our microcontroller can understand. Finally, we will explore the circuits that give power to our electronics and bring them to life. Along with an introduction to digital electronics, this course will allow you to build simple systems to develop and interface with electronics systems.
Introduction to Renewable Energy
Do you want to save the planet with green power? This course covers the fundamentals of renewable energy systems and includes topics on energy storage, power generation, distribution, transportation, and consumption. The course starts with an introduction to carbon emissions, climate change, and environmental pollution to emphasize the importance of sustainability. Students will learn about solar, wind and ocean power generation. Grid connection and microgrids will be explained, as well as battery storage and fuel cell systems. Modern loads such as LED lights and electric vehicles will be discussed around the concept of demand side management. Students in this course will gain skills on these emerging and key areas of green power and will have the opportunity to consider several case studies/examples. The course includes tutorials and demonstrations using simulation software and physical equipment. The planet will depend on engineers with a strong background in green power -- what could be more important?
Electricity and Conversion for Renewable Power
How do we generate renewable power? Renewable energy sources such as wind, solar, and ocean are intermittent and fluctuating. Changes in sun irradiance during the day, in wind speed variation, and changing ocean tidal velocity produce fluctuations in power generation. This course covers the fundamental of electricity and power conversion to transform variable/fluctuating energy into high quality power required to supply loads. The principles of power conversion for AC and DC system will be covered. Application examples will include power converters for battery chargers, solar inverters, wind/ocean power conversion, and traction for electric vehicles. The course will provide a strong theoretical background and enable students to understand renewable power conversion at the system level. A practical/applied component will be included, providing the student with real-world problem-solving scenarios, laboratory experiences and visits to UBC state of the art power facilities.

July 13 - August 13, 2019

Chemical Engineering
Harnessing Chemistry: An Introduction to Matter, Energy, and Chemical Engineering
Matter and energy are the building blocks of our universe. Using their understanding of these concepts, chemical engineers re-organize and transform matter and energy to produce new substances and materials. From the pharmaceuticals we take when we are sick, to the fuel we put in our vehicles, to the plastics, alloys and polymers that we find in our homes, in our phones and virtually everywhere around us, chemical engineers are involved, always keeping economic and environmental sustainability in mind. This course provides an introduction to the chemical engineering discipline, first by providing an overview of the physical processes and laws involved in the conversion of raw materials into refined products, and secondly by applying these concepts into more practical applications and designs. Students will have the opportunity to perform laboratory experiments illustrating some key concepts, as well as establish connections with newly acquired theory by visiting operating industrial facilities. This is an introductory course, and no prior knowledge of chemical engineering is therefore required.
Harnessing Nature: An Introduction to Biological Engineering
Science has advanced to the extent that humankind now asserts its dominion over the very building blocks of life, and engineers are at the forefront of the efforts to harness the power of biological systems to develop new technologies, materials, medical tools and treatments, foods, industrial products and environmental processes to improve the world around us. This course provides an introduction to biological engineering. Subjects covered include introductions to microbiology, cell biology, and genetic engineering, bioprocessing for the production of biofuels, foods and pharmaceuticals, biomaterials, and recent advances in tissue engineering. Given these astounding technological advances, human beings are, as a species, faced with new ethical quandaries, and the ethics and social aspects of bioengineering are therefore also discussed. Participants will have the opportunity to apply theory into practice through lab experiments, and to witness bioprocessing and sustainable design in action through a tour of a local biological waste treatment plant. This is an introductory course, and no prior knowledge of biochemistry or biological engineering is therefore required.
The Science and Engineering of Coffee Production
For many of us, coffee magically appears every morning at the press of a button or served by a smiling barista at our favourite café. Chemical engineers, however, see coffee as the product of a series of physical and chemical processes through which coffee beans are picked from a plant and are converted into the beverages we all enjoy. This course introduces the fundamentals of chemical engineering, through the study of coffee production. Each step of the production process step will be studied, and the underlying physical and chemical phenomena involved will be explored, from the cultivation of the plants, through the heat and mass transfer involved in roasting, drying and brewing, and through the engineering considerations that go into the design of coffee machines and disposable cups, while taking economics, sustainability, and ethics into consideration. Participants will get hands-on experience in process engineering through relevant laboratory experiments, see the process in action by visiting a local coffee roaster, and, of course, sample delicious coffees from all over the world.

This course takes a technical look at coffee production, and so familiarity with calculus, chemistry, and physics is suggested.
The Science and Engineering of Beer and Wine Production
We’ve come a long way since beer was first brewed in Mesopotamia 6000 years ago, and today we can easily purchase beer boasting a boundless diversity of flavours and styles from all over the world. Wine, beer’s much younger cousin brewed for the first time a mere 4000 years ago, continues to this day to evoke images of mystery and romance and serve as inspiration for songs and poems. Chemical engineers, however, though many remain romantic at heart, see beer and wine as the result of a series of physical, chemical and biological processes that convert the sugars in fruits and grains into the beverages enjoyed by many. This course presents the fundamentals of chemical and biological engineering through the study of these processes, exploring industrial microbiology, fermentation, filtration, distillation and carbonation. Underlying principles and disciplines, including cell culture, bioprocessing, heat and mass transfer, and phase separation will be studied in detail, both in the classroom and in hands-on laboratory experiments, along with discussions on economics and market analysis, and environmental sustainability. Participants will visit industrial breweries to establish links between theory and practice, and sample beers and wines from all around British Columbia, which is well known the quality and diversity of its products. This course is a technical introduction to bioprocess engineering, and familiarity with calculus, chemistry, and physics is therefore suggested.

All participants must be at least 19 years of age.
Introduction to Numerical Methods and Computer-Assisted Problem-Solving
Computers have come a long way over the last few decades and now impact virtually every aspect of industry, business and society. Engineers have been able to take advantage of advances in computer technology by using them to solve complex problems that were previously impossible or impractical to solve. In this course we will examine how computers solve problems. We will apply various methods and computational tools to engineering problems in chemical and pharmaceutical production, energy generation, and engineering design. This course will focus on how to formulate problems that engineers and others face every day, into language and commands that computers can understand. We will also investigate how to apply numerical analysis techniques to a variety of systems, and introduce tools that make problem-solving efficient, fast, and reliable. Everyone is welcome and no prior experience in computer programming is required.
Introduction to Process Simulation and Design Tools
Engineers use computers to assist them in a variety of complex tasks, from building and operating production facilities to modelling individual pieces of equipment. This course will explore process simulators, such as those made by Aspen, used for assessing technical and economic feasibility of operations in a variety of industries including oil and gas, pulp and paper, and chemical and pharmaceutical production. We will also learn to use other computer design tools such as SolidWorks to analyze and build individual pieces of equipment. With these tools, we can ensure these equipment pieces will perform as designed, are structurally sound, and can be serviced in an easy manner. No matter your previous background, this course will introduce you to computer modelling in engineering design. Everyone is welcome and no prior experience in computer programming is required.
Civil Engineering
Computer Application in Civil Engineering
An introduction to spreadsheets, equation-solving software, and computer-aided graphic design tools used when solving civil engineering problems. Introduction to basic structural analysis, approximate analysis of structures, and calculation of forces, stresses, and displacements using common industrially available computer software. The course focuses on the introductory topics in the civil engineering design processes, graphical visualization of civil infrastructures, and use of computational tools in civil engineering, providing an overview on the applications of computer software tools in civil engineering. The course is a combination of lectures and hands-on lab sessions, and it may include presentations from industry personnel and civil engineering software developers.
Laboratory Projects in Computer Modeling and Analytics
The course runs in a computer laboratory and includes introductory lessons and tutorial sessions, covering some of the commonly used basic civil engineering computer programs in both industrial projects and academic research. These include software for data acquisition, signal processing, numerical analysis, and analytical studies, such as Excel, Mathcad, MATHLAB, RISA, ETABS, SAP2000, and S-FRAME. In addition, the course would introduce some of the basic engineering software for graphical visualization of civil infrastructures, such as Visio, SketchUp, and AutoCAD. The laboratory course aims to demonstrate the implementation of concepts/applications discussed during the lectures and the students will learn the capabilities of the latest computer software for civil engineering analysis. Throughout the course, simple example problems will allow the students to implement the concepts discussed during the lectures. Time will be available during the lab sessions to discuss specific engineering problems that the students may want to model with one of the software packages.

Preferred background in Civil Engineering or related field.
Civil Engineering Materials
The structure and properties of common Civil Engineering materials: Aggregates, Portland Cement Concrete, Asphalt Concrete, Steel, Wood, and Timber. The emphasis is on the relationship between the structures of these materials and their mechanical properties and durability. The course will include field visits to construction sites and may include presentations from industry personnel.
Laboratory Testing of Structural Materials
Students in groups carry out laboratory & field experiments to study the materials involved. It is a laboratory-based course where site-visits and external consultations are an integral requirement. Some topical problems will be identified in the performance of structural materials such as Portland cement concrete, asphalt concrete, geo-polymer, timber, and steel; the students in groups will carry out laboratory and field experiments to study the structural materials involved.

Preferred background in Civil Engineering or related field.
Concrete Technology
This course focuses on the advanced topics in concrete technology, addressing the current practices and the associated issues, covering smart materials for new constructions and repair of existing civil infrastructures. The course would introduce specialized concretes such as Fiber Reinforced Concrete (FRC) and High Performance Concrete (HPC), shotcrete, etc. In addition, the topics on advanced mineral and chemical admixtures to be used in modern concrete, as well as understanding the mechanical response of advanced concretes and their durability aspects are discussed. The course will include field visits to construction sites and may include presentations from industry personnel.
Experimental Studies of Structural Concrete Elements
Students in groups carry out experimental work on structural concrete elements: trusses, beams, girders, and columns with different reinforcements or repairs. It includes testing, analysis, and computer modeling; some of the projects run in a design competition format. This is a laboratory-based course where site-visits and external consultations are an integral requirement.

Preferred background in Civil Engineering or related field.
Electrical and Computer Engineering
Introduction to Digital Technology and Smart Devices

New products (smart-home devices, portable electronics, cars, appliances) are getting more intelligent and more connected. Do you ever wonder what technology lies behind them? This course covers the fundamental ideas behind smart devices and modern electronics. We will study the building blocks of digital electronic systems, including small microcomputers, and how they interface with us. Our exploration will involve the design and implementation of machines that can read signals from the real world and make decisions digitally. This course will introduce the basics of microcontroller programming to perform smart tasks; additionally, it will cover the how different peripherals and sensors are used to communicate, and how the information they collect is stored. Regardless of your background, if you are interested in the world of modern electronics, this course is for you!

Introduction to Electric Circuits, Sensors, and Power
You need more than a digital system and basic programming to make your electronics work -- you need to understand electricity, sensors, and what it takes to bring everything to life. In this course, the basics of electricity and electrical circuits will be covered. You will learn about circuit fundamentals, amplifiers, and filters, which allow us to recover signals from devices such as microphones. Our look into sensors will allow us to detect physical magnitudes (like light, sound, pressure, color, temperature, and speed) and turn them into electrical signals that our microcontroller can understand. Finally, we will explore the circuits that give power to our electronics and bring them to life. Along with an introduction to digital electronics, this course will allow you to build simple systems to develop and interface with electronics systems.
Introduction to Renewable Energy
Do you want to save the planet with green power? This course covers the fundamentals of renewable energy systems and includes topics on energy storage, power generation, distribution, transportation, and consumption. The course starts with an introduction to carbon emissions, climate change, and environmental pollution to emphasize the importance of sustainability. Students will learn about solar, wind and ocean power generation. Grid connection and microgrids will be explained, as well as battery storage and fuel cell systems. Modern loads such as LED lights and electric vehicles will be discussed around the concept of demand side management. Students in this course will gain skills on these emerging and key areas of green power and will have the opportunity to consider several case studies/examples. The course includes tutorials and demonstrations using simulation software and physical equipment. The planet will depend on engineers with a strong background in green power -- what could be more important?
Electricity and Conversion for Renewable Power
How do we generate renewable power? Renewable energy sources such as wind, solar, and ocean are intermittent and fluctuating. Changes in sun irradiance during the day, in wind speed variation, and changing ocean tidal velocity produce fluctuations in power generation. This course covers the fundamental of electricity and power conversion to transform variable/fluctuating energy into high quality power required to supply loads. The principles of power conversion for AC and DC system will be covered. Application examples will include power converters for battery chargers, solar inverters, wind/ocean power conversion, and traction for electric vehicles. The course will provide a strong theoretical background and enable students to understand renewable power conversion at the system level. A practical/applied component will be included, providing the student with real-world problem-solving scenarios, laboratory experiences and visits to UBC state of the art power facilities.

Pre-requisite: 1st year engineering or equivalent
Communication Systems: Technology Embedded in Daily Life
Tweets, blogs, emails, videos, texts … we rely on a myriad of communication systems, but how do these systems really work? This course will explore the key historic technological breakthroughs that have led to modern communication systems. This will be followed by an introduction to how information is represented and why the digital revolution is the underpinning of modern communication. The remainder of the course will analyze current communication systems, technologies and standards selected to give an overview of what is on the market. Examples include the LTE wireless standard which is common in most cell phone networks, Wi-Fi for local wireless communication, and modem technology which enables information to be transmitted and received over fiber optic cables, wires or air. Students will build their knowledge through case studies of current communication technologies and systems with an emphasis on understanding and relating performance specifications to the user experience.
Introduction to Digital Systems Design with FPGAs
Digital systems lie at the heart of almost any electronic system including wearable devices, cell-phones, signal processing systems, computers, biomedical devices, etc. In all of these systems, the "intelligence" of the system is implemented in digital logic. This course introduces digital systems, and how to design them. More specifically, you will learn about combinational and sequential logic, synchronous and asynchronous circuits, embedded processors, and other related topics. The course will have a significant laboratory component, where a digital hardware design language (VHDL) will be introduced and employed to bring to life your digital designs on an FPGA (field programmable gate-array) board.

Pre-requisite: 1st year engineering or equivalent

Music: An Introduction to Electrical & Computer Engineering
Music has become an integral part of our daily life, but so few understand the engineering behind it. This course will give you an overview of Electrical and Computer Engineering (ECE), revolving around music. Several aspects of ECE will be covered, including the basics of acoustics and waves, the technology behind microphones, the electronic circuits behind amplifiers, analog to digital converters (ADCs) and digital to analog converters (DACs), sampling theory, signal processing using analog and digital filters, operation of speakers, encoding and compression techniques used in mp3, etc.
Music Laboratory: Hands on Learning
Have you ever wondered how a DJ machine works? What are all those knobs used on a mixer? How does a noise cancellation headphone work? In this hands-on course, students will learn about the technical details of different equipment used by recording artists and DJs, such as mixers, distortion units, bass pedals, synthesizers, and MIDI. Students will design and test a guitar amplifier as a class project.

Pre-requisite: 1st year engineering or equivalent

Algorithms and the World Wide Web

The Internet and the World Wide Web have enabled new methods for communicating and working with data. What is the underlying infrastructure for the Internet? What are the algorithms used to move bits of data around? How is your credit card number kept secure when you buy a book from Amazon or Baidu? How is your location determined using GPS when you use Google Maps? How do some dating web sites match people? We will discuss some of the system building and algorithmics that power the World Wide Web.

Building Modern Web Applications

Do you want to develop your own web-based application? Have you dreamed of making quick and slick looking web applications that are also robust? We will discuss the central abstractions and principles that enable the development of robust web applications. These principles can be applied when building applications using technologies such as HTML, CSS, and JavaScript.

Pre-requisite: 1st year engineering, computer science or equivalent

Mechanical Engineering
Green Building Design

Climate change is one of this century's grand challenges, and building science and green engineering are an underutilized opportunity to improve environmental and health outcomes. Despite the importance of building design, the difference in performance between the best and worst buildings is far larger than between the best and worst cars, cell phones or aircraft. This course tackles the question: "Why?" UBC has a tremendous variety of buildings, old and new, that are constantly undergoing review improvement. In this course, building design engineers and specialists will provide expert instruction during field trips through some of UBC's best performing buildings, followed by discussions on the key technical and social issues that went into their design.

Introduction to Engineering Design & Decision-making

This course explores engineering technology, engineering practice, trade-offs and decision-making. The course will be structured around specific engineering products/processes and the physical principles behind them, through which we will discuss the practice of engineering. Students will apply their own disciplinary background to the analysis of engineering work, projects, and perception, particularly as pertains to the public realm. Through a mix of in-class group activities, experiments, field trips, and discussions, students will examine a variety of topics, from hip replacements to car engines, from a perspective of solving social challenges through engineering design.

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, field trips, 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 or programming is required.

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.