Urban Systems

What Will You Learn?

Through its unique blend of technical courses, leadership development courses and ongoing professional development opportunities, the MEL in Urban Systems will accelerate your career.

Deepen your technical skills

The project-based curriculum covers all stages of community and infrastructure system life cycles. You will develop a comprehensive and integrated understanding of the range of professional roles and technologies that support urban infrastructure systems. You will also explore the social, ecological and economic factors that are so important for successful infrastructure systems management.


Working in collaboration with faculty and government and industry experts, you will graduate from this program with the ability to:

  • identify major ways in which urban systems provision and performance affect society, including linkages to environment, health, quality of life and economy;
  • develop long-term investment plans for urban infrastructure provision and assess the impacts of alternative courses of action;
  • apply systems thinking, sustainability and resiliency considerations, and risk analysis to the design and operation of infrastructure;
  • model and analyze large-scale infrastructure projects from multiple perspectives to support strategic-level decision-making; and
  • apply principles of engineering economics to the modeling, valuation and analysis of infrastructure projects.

Read more about the technical courses included within this program.

Develop as a leader

Strong leadership and business skills are essential for career success. As we developed this program, our industry partners told us that they were looking for engineers who combined sector-specific technical skills with strong leadership skills.

While 70 per cent of your classes will focus on your technical specialization, the remaining 30 per cent are leadership development courses that will enhance your business, communication and people skills.

You will complete courses on project management, organizational leadership, analytics for applied sciences, business acumen for technical leaders, and sustainability and leadership. These classes will empower you to:

  • effectively deliver multidisciplinary projects and operational results
  • use data for technical and business decision-making
  • understand the critical components of how business works
  • take on increasingly complex and high-profile leadership positions within organizations

Sharpen your business skills

Professional development workshops, delivered by industry leaders, are offered throughout the year-long program. These extra-curricular sessions cover topics such as:

  • giving and receiving feedback
  • learning how to deliver a successful pitch
  • mastering meeting and email etiquette
  • assessing and coaching others

The workshops also provide opportunities to network with professionals from a wide range of industries, UBC faculty and students in the MEL and MHLP programs.

Keep Reading: Course Information