Urban Systems

Program Goals

The Master of Engineering Leadership (MEL) in Urban Systems offers a comprehensive project-based curriculum encompassing all aspects of community and infrastructure life cycles. Gain a holistic understanding of the diverse roles, technologies, and critical social, ecological, and economic factors essential for effective infrastructure management.

Under the mentorship of industry-leading researchers and instructors, you will collaborate with peers to:

  • Evaluate how urban infrastructure impacts society, environment, health, quality of life, and the economy.
  • Implement systems thinking, sustainability, and resilience in infrastructure design and operation.
  • Model and analyze large-scale projects from various perspectives to aid strategic decision-making.
  • Integrate engineering economics into the modeling, valuation, and analysis of infrastructure endeavors.
  • Catalog municipal infrastructure assets and devise comprehensive management plans.
  • Conduct life-cycle cost analysis of infrastructure assets.

“Our program focuses on integrated learning experiences: students work on real-world projects to apply the urban systems knowledge they build in the classroom.” – Dr. Susan Nesbit, Professor Emerita & Former Program Co-Director


To excel professionally, a blend of technical knowledge and business acumen is crucial. Through courses offered by UBC Sauder’s Robert H. Lee Graduate School, delve into:

  • Process management in manufacturing systems and supply chains.
  • The application of visual analytics for effective analysis and communication.
  • Project management techniques and their practical implementation.
  • Identifying and evaluating sustainability opportunities across industries.
  • Analyzing organizational leadership challenges through case studies.
  • Understanding comprehensive business decision-making across key functional areas.
  • Grasping the principles of strategy and innovation.


Leading teams and managing projects demand a robust set of interpersonal skills. The MEL program enhances these abilities through professional development workshops, covering communication, teamwork, coaching, and mentoring, across the 12-month program. Engage in group projects and collaborative problem-solving, practicing your managerial and leadership skills in real-time.

“Our program’s emphasis on teamwork and project work also helps to build the skills our graduates will use as leaders throughout their careers.” – Dr. Stephanie Chang, Professor & Program Co-Director

Discover how this innovative leadership master’s degree can position you to tackle the world’s most critical urban and infrastructure challenges. Learn more about the significant industry challenges and how you can be at the forefront of addressing them.

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