Graduate Programs and Courses

116 Doctor of Philosophy in Sustainable Design Engineering

Faculty of Sustainable Design Engineering PhD Program

Overview: The UPEI Doctor of Philosophy in Sustainable Design Engineering (PhD-SDE) program aims to train graduates who have in-depth expertise in applying principles of sustainable design engineering to interdisciplinary and transdisciplinary research challenges. The PhD-SDE degree program will be research-intensive and require the students to complete their thesis work under the supervision of a Faculty of Sustainable Design Engineering (FSDE) faculty member.

Course Requirements: Students will be required to take at least four (4) graduate-level courses (equivalent to at least 12 credits). At least two of the graduate-level courses must be from graduate-level courses offered in FSDE. All students must complete the SDE 8030 (Contemporary Topics in Sustainable Design Engineering) course unless they receive approval from their committee to take an alternate FSDE graduate-level course. The courses that students who transfer from MSc-SDE program at UPEI have completed during their MSc degree will count towards their PhD degree. Each student is expected to complete these courses within the first 24 months of the degree, before or in the concurrent semester of their PhD Comprehensive Exam.

Thesis and Seminar: PhD-SDE students are required to register for SDE 8010 (PhD Thesis) throughout their degree program.  PhD-SDE students are also required to register in the SDE 8900 (Seminar) course in the first four years of their degree program. SDE 8900 is a Pass/Fail course. Seminars are held on a weekly basis, and each student must present their research work at least once a year and attend all the seminar sessions to receive Pass the SDE 8901 course, unless prior arrangement is made with the Supervisor and the Graduate Studies Coordinator. SDE 8010 will be evaluated as satisfactory/unsatisfactory, and the requirement for receiving satisfactory in the SDE 8010 is explained under the Doctoral Examination subsection.

Duration of Program: A minimum period of three (3) years and maximum period of seven (7) years from the date of first registration will be allocated for the completion of the PhD-SDE program. The date of registration for students who transfer from MSc-SDE program at UPEI will be considered as the beginning of their MSc degree. Exceptional circumstances will be considered provided that they are supported by the student’s supervisor(s) and properly communicated, discussed and supported by the supervisory committee. In all cases, extensions beyond this maximum period must be approved by the FSDE Graduate Studies Committee (GSC) and the Dean of the Faculty of Graduate Studies.

Mentorship and Supervision:  In the first semester of the PhD program, each student will be assigned a supervisory committee which will consist of the student’s supervisor(s), three (3) members chosen from UPEI faculty. Up to two of these committee members can be UPEI adjunct faculty members with graduate faculty status. The primary supervisor must be a faculty member in the FSDE. Adjunct faculty with graduate faculty status may be faculty members from other universities or professionals with doctorates at external organizations with whom UPEI FSDE has research collaborations. The FSDE GSC has provided a document, “Guidelines for Graduate Supervision”, that is shared with supervisor(s), supervisory committees and graduate students at orientation sessions and this document serves as a reference to follow throughout a student’s program.

Doctoral Research:  Independent research will be the major focus of the PhD-SDE degree. In order to avoid undue extension of the time required to complete the degree, the research topic must be identified early and approved by the supervisory committee. The research should comprise an extensive body of original research in the student’s field, making a true contribution exemplifying the student’s depth of knowledge, creativity, innovation and proven ability to make significant scientific research contributions. The PhD-SDE student must be able to articulate how their research demonstrates aspects of engineering design and sustainability. The supervisor(s) will meet with the student regularly, and the supervisory committee will meet at least twice a year with the student to provide feedback on the student’s progress.

Candidacy Examination:  Doctoral students must complete a candidacy examination within two (2) years of entering the PhD program. Students who register for the MSc-SDE program at UPEI and then transfer into the PhD program must complete their candidacy exam within three (3) years of registering as a graduate student at UPEI (including the MSc period before the transfer). Before the exam, the student must present a thesis proposal abstract to the supervisory committee and obtain a recommendation that the student proceed with the oral candidacy exam. The supervisor(s) will inform the FSDE GSC of this decision, and will suggest the make-up of the candidacy examination committee.  The candidacy examination committee will consist of two (2) members of the supervisory committee and one (1) UPEI faculty member external to FSDE who has graduate faculty status. This external member of the candidacy examination committee must have no conflict of interest with the student’s supervisor(s). A designate from the FSDE GSC will act as Chair of the examination.  The student must submit a thesis proposal to the candidacy examination committee at least two weeks before the examination date. The thesis proposal should address not only the research plan, but also a knowledge and implementation plan that demonstrates the student’s reflection and understanding of the research topic within the context of sustainable design. After the student’s presentation and question period, the examination committee will make a judgment of satisfactory or unsatisfactory. A judgment of satisfactory will result in the student being declared a PhD Candidate. If the judgment is unsatisfactory, the student will be required to retake the exam within 4 months. A second unsatisfactory judgment will result in the student being required to withdraw from the PhD program. If the student has not previously completed an MSc degree, they are then free to enter the MSc program and transfer research and academic coursework.

Thesis Dissertation: Each candidate for the PhD-SDE is required to submit a written thesis dissertation based upon the research conducted under supervision described above. The thesis dissertation must demonstrate the candidate’s capacity for original and independent work, and should include a critical evaluation of work which has previously been done in the field of their research, as well as a clear understanding of sustainable design. The thesis dissertation must highlight new conclusions which are drawn from the candidate’s own research work.

Defence: The examination committee will be chaired by a representative from the FSDE GSC and will consist of the following: supervisor(s), two (2) members of the supervisory committee, one (1) UPEI faculty member external to FSDE who has graduate faculty status, and one (1) external examiner from outside the University of Prince Edward Island. These examiners must have no conflict of interest with the supervisor(s). In order to proceed to defence, the candidate must submit a copy of their dissertation to the supervisory committee for review and approval. Once approved by all members, the supervisor(s) will then submit the PhD dissertation and a list of potential external examiners to FSDE Graduate Studies Coordinator. The FSDE Graduate Studies Coordinator will then confirm the external examiners as well as the defence Chair, and notify the Deans of FSDE and Faculty of Graduate Studies. A copy of the dissertation will be shared with the examination committee and the defence date will be finalized.

Prior to the exam, the external examiners will submit written evaluations of the dissertation to the defence Chair. This brief report will summarize their evaluation of the thesis and normally include a discussion of the scientific significance of the thesis with comments regarding its theoretical framework, methodology, findings, and interpretations. The report will consider its academic standard and quality, reflecting that the candidate meets the minimum requirements to qualify as a researcher, considering the candidate’s formulation of research questions, logical and original approaches to testing stated hypotheses, and understanding of current methods and their limitations.

The final oral examination of the PhD thesis will consist of a public research seminar, followed by questions from the doctoral examination committee. The examination will be public, but members of the audience may only question the candidate upon invitation of the Chair of the committee. After the defence seminar and question period, the committee will make a judgment of satisfactory or unsatisfactory. The members of the examination committee report individually on both the defence and the dissertation. The candidate passes if at least four (4) of the five (5) examiners votes positively. An abstention is regarded as a negative vote. Concurrently, the members sign the Certificate of Approval, to be submitted with the approved dissertation in its final form (after implementation of revisions requested by the committee at the defense) to the Dean of FSDE. The report to the Dean will record the decision as “unsatisfactory”, or “satisfactory”. If “unsatisfactory,” the candidate will be given the opportunity of a second attempt. A second “unsatisfactory” will terminate candidacy at UPEI.

Graduation: The candidate will receive the degree certificate at UPEI convocation upon successful completion of four (4) approved graduate courses (with minimum of 60% in each course), receiving Pass in SDE 8901 (Seminar) course, and receiving Satisfactory in SDE 8010 (PhD Thesis).

List of Courses

  1. Thesis and Seminar

SDE 8010 PHD THESIS
This is a research-oriented course in which students will conduct an extensive original research project, culminating in the submission and defence of a thesis. Students must register in this course each semester to maintain enrolment in the program. It embodies the research component of the PhD program.
PREREQUISITE: Admission to the graduate program in Faculty of Sustainable Design Engineering
HOURS OF CREDIT: 3

SDE 8900 SEMINAR
In this course students attend seminars on current topics in their research area of Sustainable Design Engineering and are expected to be seminar presenters. Techniques in preparing scientific communication (oral presentations and poster displays) are also covered.
PREREQUISITE: Admission to the graduate program in Faculty of Sustainable Design Engineering
HOURS OF CREDIT: 3

  1. Graduate-level Courses

SDE 8020 QUALITY CONTROL AND PROJECT MANAGEMENT
This course is an introduction to the most widely accepted project management practices in the workforce today. The student will learn the industrially accepted techniques associated with the management of time, cost, risk, and scope in order to achieve total project stakeholder satisfaction. The goal in this course is to prepare students with the most efficient and effective project management practices by applying these techniques to their graduate research work, and in so doing greatly increase their likelihood of managing successful projects during their careers.
PREREQUISITES: Admission to the graduate program in Faculty of Sustainable Design Engineering
HOURS OF CREDIT: 3

SDE 8030: CONTEMPORARY TOPICS IN SUSTAINABLE DESIGN ENGINEERING
In this course students will be exposed to and examine the concepts underlying sustainable design engineering as they pertain to engineering practice and in particular engineering research and the development of new technologies. Sustainable design engineering can be defined as an engineering design process which considers not only the key performance indicators and functional characteristics of the system being developed but also the environmental, social and economic context and impacts of the system. Recent advances in sustainability research have focused on the complex interactions between these areas, evolving from “green engineering” to a full consideration of sustainability. In order to develop sustainable solutions, engineers and researchers must be able to critically evaluate their work in this context. To this end, students will examine case studies and relevant readings on such topics as sustainability indicators, techno-economic and life cycle assessment, stakeholder engagement, real time technology assessment, engineering justice, and design for sustainability. While approaches for addressing the specific areas of environmental, social and economic sustainability will be covered, the focus of the course will be on the interactions between these areas. A key outcome of this course will be a paper critically examining the student’s research topic from the perspective of sustainable design engineering.
PREREQUISITES: Admission to the graduate program in School of Sustainable Design Engineering
HOURS OF CREDIT: 3

SDE 8040 DESIGN OF EXPERIMENTS
This course focuses on the design, implementation, and analysis of engineering, scientific, and computer-based experiments. The course will examine the proper and scientific approach to experimentation, modeling, simulation, and analysis of data. Various designs are discussed and their respective advantages and disadvantages are noted. Factorial designs and sensitivity analysis will be studied in detail because of its relevance to various industries. Use of software for designing and analyzing experiments will also be used. For experiments that involved mainly physical quantities and natural phenomena, techniques of dimensional analysis will also be introduced.
PREREQUISITE: Admission to the graduate program in Faculty of Sustainable Design Engineering
HOURS OF CREDIT: 3

SDE 8050: ENGINEERING RESEARCH METHODS & EXPERIMENT DESIGN
This course will introduce students to the elements of a research project and will focus on quantitative research methodologies. Students will practice the planning, implementation, analysis, and documentation for a research project of their own design. Topics will include: performing a literature review, developing a hypothesis, creating a research plan, collecting data, analyzing the results, and compiling a research report. Students will use tools for quantitative data analysis and will explore reliability, validation, and verification concepts. Students will report findings in a technical presentation. The course encourages students to develop their research question and perform a sample experiment to apply lessons learned to their main research topic. Intellectual property rights and engineering ethics topics will be explored.
PREREQUISITES: Admission to the graduate program in Faculty of Sustainable Design Engineering
HOURS OF CREDIT: 3

SDE 8060 MODELING, CONTROL, AND DESIGN OF ENERGY SYSTEMS
This course focuses on the understanding of the physical processes underlying the energy conversion process from wind and solar energy. Students will have an advanced knowledge of aerodynamics and structural dynamics, and they will understand the main strategies used for controlling these machines over their complete operating range. A specific goal of the course is to provide students with a multidisciplinary vision on the physics of energy systems, and an understanding of the methods used for their modeling and simulation. A particular emphasis will be placed on design, and on the effects of design choices on the cost of energy.
PREREQUISITE: Admission to the graduate program in Faculty of Sustainable Design Engineering
HOURS OF CREDIT: 3

SDE 8080 INDUSTRIAL MACHINE VISION
This course focuses on computer vision with an emphasis on techniques for automated inspection, object recognition, mechanical metrology, and robotics. Image processing courses typically focus for image enhancement, restoration, filtering, smoothing, etc. These topics will be covered to a certain degree but the main focus will be on image segmentation, feature extraction, morphological operators, recognition and photogrammetry. Issues related to the efficient software implementation of these techniques for real-time applications will also be addressed.
PREREQUISITE: Admission to the graduate program in Faculty of Sustainable Design Engineering
HOURS OF CREDIT: 3

SDE 8100 BIOFUEL AND BIOMASS TECHNOLOGY
This course focuses on advanced concepts in understanding biofuels and bioenergy systems, renewable feedstocks, their production, availability and attributes for biofuel/bioenergy production, types of biomass derived fuels and energy, thermochemical conversion of biomass to heat, power and fuel, biochemical conversion of biomass to fuel environmental aspects of biofuel production, economics and life-cycle analysis of biofuel, and value adding of biofuel residues. Students will analyze, as well as prepare, case studies on biofuel production.
PREREQUISITE: Admission to the graduate program in Faculty of Sustainable Design Engineering
HOURS OF CREDIT: 3

  • Cross-Level Listed Graduate Courses

SDE 8230 Technology Management & Entrepreneur
This course provides an overview on how to start and sustain a technology-oriented company. Topics discussed will include the role of technology in society, intellectual property, patents, business plans, financial planning, sources of capital, business structure, liability, tax implications, sales, marketing, operational and human resource management. This course will be taught using problem-based and experiential learning strategies with involvement from real life entrepreneurs as motivators and facilitators. Graduate-level project will be defined. Cross-level listed with ENGN 3430; credit cannot be received for both courses.
PREREQUISITE: Admission to the graduate program in Faculty of Sustainable Design Engineering
HOURS OF CREDIT: 3

SDE 8310 ADVANCED FABRICATION TECHNIQUES AND COMPUTER-INTEGRATED MANUFACTURING
This course concentrates on manufacturing knowledge with a focus on advanced fabrication techniques (AFT) and Computer Integrated Manufacturing (CIM). Students will expand their knowledge of  traditional processes including CAD/CAM, forming, welding, milling, etc. leading into innovative advanced fabrication techniques in additive and precision manufacturing, next generation electronics, robotics and smart automation (CIM), and sustainable and green manufacturing modeling and simulation in the manufacturing process developed through lectures and labs. Integration of CIM into supply chain design and management is emphasized based on synergistic application of mechatronics approach and philosophy.  Graduate-level project will be required as defined in consultation with the instructor.
Cross-level listed with ENGN 4310; credit cannot be received for both courses.
PREREQUISITE: Admission to the graduate program in Faculty of Sustainable Design Engineering
HOURS OF CREDIT: 3

SDE 8320 CONTROL SYSTEM DESIGN
This course will provide students with an overview of system modelling and control methodologies of single/multiple input/output systems, e.g., energy transport control, reactor control, heat exchanger control, power production, and mechatronic systems. Students will learn classical control methods e.g., feedforward, feedbacks, cascade, decoupling to modern control methods, LQR, predictive control, optimal and robust control. Students will be equipped with knowledge and skills for analyzing stability, controllability and observability of state-space representation modelled systems. Graduate-level project will be required as defined in consultation with the instructor.
Cross-level listed with ENGN 4320; credit cannot be received for both courses.
PREREQUISITE: Admission to the graduate program in Faculty of Sustainable Design Engineering
HOURS OF CREDIT: 3

SDE 8330 INNOVATIONS IN BIOMEDICAL ENGINEERING
This course provides an overview of the subdisciplines that are included in field of biomedical engineering. Through a hands-on approach, the course introduces topics including biotransport, bioelectrical phenomena, bioinstrumentation, biomechanics, diagnostic devices, medical imaging, rehabilitation, biomaterials, tissue engineering, biosensors, lab-on-a-chip and micro- and nano-technology. The course also introduces the basics of medical device regulations and ethics of medical instrumentation. Students will gain an appreciation for the collaborative, interdisciplinary nature of engineering in medicine and its potential impact on society.
Cross-level listed with ENGN 4330; credit cannot be received for both courses.
PREREQUISITE: Admission to the graduate program in Faculty of Sustainable Design Engineering
HOURS OF CREDIT: 3

SDE 8350 ADVANCED ROBOTIC DYNAMICS AND CONTROL
This course advances the fundamentals of robotics through exposure to in-depth knowledge and understanding of kinematics, dynamics, control and trajectory with applications to autonomous vehicles, automated manufacturing and processing and mobile robotics. Areas of interest include: position transformation and control, rigid body motion, kinematic control, compliance and force control. Graduate-level project will be required as defined in consultation with the instructor.
Cross-level listed with ENGN 4350; credit cannot be received for both courses.
PREREQUISITE: Admission to the graduate program in Faculty of Sustainable Design Engineering
HOURS OF CREDIT: 3

SDE 8370 FLUID POWER CONTROL
This course covers the analysis and design of basic hydraulic and pneumatic circuits and systems. Topics include a review of the fundamentals of fluid mechanics including flow through valves, fittings, and pipe; classification of hydrostatic pumps and motors; control valves; hydraulic accumulators; sizing of practical hydraulic circuits; thermal and energy considerations;  electrohydraulic control and modeling of hydraulic control systems. The latter part of the course focuses on pneumatic systems including pneumatic cylinders and motors, control valves, and compressor technology. The application of Programmable Logic Controls (PLCs) to industrial automation and the sequential control of pneumatic actuators is also addressed. Graduate-level project will be required as defined in consultation with the instructor.
Cross-level listed with ENGN 4370; credit cannot be received for both courses.
PREREQUISITE: Admission to the graduate program in Faculty of Sustainable Design Engineering
HOURS OF CREDIT: 3

SDE 8410 MACRO ENERGY SYSTEMS
This course covers methods for analyzing energy supply, conversion processes, and end-use at the system level. Aspects considered include the dynamics of energy supply and demand, efficiencies of energy conversion, characteristics of energy currencies, and energy needs across different sectors. Students will characterize methods of delivering energy services such as heat, light, industrial power and transportation. Energy analysis will be introduced and used to build a quantitative framework for integrating techno-economic analysis of energy system components, with emphasis on elements such as fossil fuels and nuclear power. Students will gain an enhanced, quantitative appreciation for the sustainability, emissions, cost and energy intensity aspects of energy services delivery.  Graduate-level project will be required as defined in consultation with the instructor.
Cross-level listed with ENGN 4410; credit cannot be received for both courses.
PREREQUISITE: Admission to the graduate program in Faculty of Sustainable Design Engineering
HOURS OF CREDIT: 3

SDE 8440 ADVANCED ENERGY STORAGE
This course considers advanced technical analysis of energy storage systems. A comprehensive overview of all industrially relevant energy storage systems is reviewed and emphasis is placed on promising energy storage technologies of the future. Chemical, thermal and kinetic storage technologies will be discussed in detail.  Graduate-level project will be required as defined in consultation with the instructor.
Cross-level listed with ENGN 4440; credit cannot be received for both courses.
PREREQUISITE: Admission to the graduate program in Faculty of Sustainable Design Engineering
HOURS OF CREDIT: 3

SDE 8450 FLUID LOADS ON ENERGY STRUCTURES
This course is an introduction to the loads applied on structures from wind, waves, and currents, and their heightened relevance to structures designed for energy conversion. Phenomena to be discussed include lift and drag, boundary layers, vortex-induced vibrations, wakes, hydrostatic loading, and water waves. A selection of engineering methods will be introduced and brought to bear on these topics, such as potential flow theory, blade-element theory, Airy wave theory and Morison’s equation. Dimensional analysis will be introduced to characterize flow problems. Design implications will be discussed for a selection of relevant energy conversion structures such as aircraft wings, wind turbines, breakwaters, marine vessels, and offshore energy platforms. Graduate-level project will be required as defined in consultation with the instructor.
Cross-level listed with ENGN 4450; credit cannot be received for both courses.
PREREQUISITE: Admission to the graduate program in Faculty of Sustainable Design Engineering
HOURS OF CREDIT: 3

SDE 8470 MICRO GRIDS
This course focuses on the concept, operation and optimization of renewable-energy-based micro-grids. Concepts introduced and considered include renewable energy resources, integration technologies, grid-connected operation, islanded grid operation, energy storage integration and the optimal dimensioning and mixing of multiple energy sources where some are stochastic in nature and some are dispatchable. Existing and future energy storage technologies will also be discussed.  This course is based on energy flow analysis and makes extensive use of software simulation tools.  Students will develop a framework for performing techno-economic assessments of micro-grid architectures and designs. A strong background in electrical power systems is not necessarily required.  Graduate-level project will be required as defined in consultation with the instructor.
Cross-level listed with ENGN 4470; credit cannot be received for both courses.
PREREQUISITE: Admission to the graduate program in Faculty of Sustainable Design Engineering
HOURS OF CREDIT: 3

SDE 8510 GEOINFORMATICS IN BIORESOURCES
This course covers the theory and practice of geoinformatics and their applications to problems in bioresources using digital mapping and spatial analysis. Hands on laboratories will provide students with an experience to collect georeferenced data using differential global positioning system, followed by mapping and analysis in geographical information system.  Topics include datums, map projections and transformations, vector and raster data, geo-spatial analysis, geo-statistics and interpolation techniques. This course will also cover the fundamentals of remote sensing, data collection with sensors, and spatial and temporal aspects of the bio-resources attributes. Graduate-level project will be required as defined in consultation with the instructor.
Cross-level listed with ENGN 4510; credit cannot be received for both courses.
PREREQUISITE: Admission to the graduate program in Faculty of Sustainable Design Engineering
HOURS OF CREDIT: 3

SDE 8530 FUNDAMENTALS OF AGRICULTURE MACHINERY
This course highlights the fundamentals of mechanized agriculture machinery from soil preparation, planting, and crop management to mechanical harvesting. The machines and their unit operation are analyzed with respect functions, work rates, material flow and power usage. The machine performance relating to work quality and environmental effects will also be evaluated. The labs will emphasize on safety, basic maintenance, adjustment, calibrations of equipment and performance testing. This course also covers the variable rate applicators for site-specific application of inputs, auto guidance system, data acquisition and management for intelligent decision making for machines, and precision agriculture technologies.  Graduate-level project will be required as defined in consultation with the instructor.
Cross-level listed with ENGN 4530; credit cannot be received for both courses.
PREREQUISITE: Admission to the graduate program in Faculty of Sustainable Design Engineering
HOURS OF CREDIT: 3

SDE 8550 CHEMICAL AND BIOLOGICAL PROCESSES
Processes used in the chemical and biological industries, which emphasize underlying physical, chemical, and biological principles, will be introduced. By carrying out the mass and energy balances, students will conduct design and economic assessment of major chemical and biological engineering processes. Introduction to modelling of chemical processes will be covered in this course.  Graduate-level project will be required as defined in consultation with the instructor.
Cross-level listed with ENGN 4550; credit cannot be received for both courses.
PREREQUISITE: Admission to the graduate program in Faculty of Sustainable Design Engineering
HOURS OF CREDIT: 3

SDE 8810 DIRECTED STUDIES IN SUSTAINABLE DESIGN ENGINEERING
Under the supervision of a faculty member, a graduate student independently pursues an area of interest in depth. The course includes an extensive literature review of the specific discipline, directed research on the topic, or collection and analysis of data. The student may be required to present a written report and/or present a seminar in the area. Topics must not be a part of the student’s thesis research although they may be in a complementary area. Course outlines must be approved by the supervisory committee, the department Chair, and the Dean of Science.
PREREQUISITE: Admission to the graduate program in Faculty of Sustainable Design Engineering and permission of supervisor
HOURS OF CREDIT: 3

SDE 8830 BIOMEDICAL SIGNAL PROCESSING
This course is an introduction to the basics of viewing, processing, and analyzing of biosignals, or signals originating from living beings.  Biosignals may be characterized as bioelectrical signals which can be composed of both electrical and non-electrical parts. Topics include both linear and nonlinear systems, signal conditioning or filtering, improving signal quality (signal-to-noise ratio) through averaging techniques, and signal representations in both the time and frequency domains.  Graduate-level project will be required as defined in consultation with the instructor.
Cross-level listed with ENGN 4830; credit cannot be received for both courses.
PREREQUISITE: Admission to the graduate program in Faculty of Sustainable Design Engineering
HOURS OF CREDIT: 3

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