The ESD undergraduate curriculum is concerned with the design, analysis, and management of large scale complex engineering systems such as supply chains, financial services, health care delivery systems, transportation systems, security and defense systems, energy production and distribution systems. A distinguishing feature of engineering systems, in addition to their complexity and scale, is that they typically involve multiple stake holders (multiple firms, consumers, governments) and multiple infrastructures (utility, transportation, and telecommunication networks); they are technology-intensive, sensitive to their socio-economic context, and often have broad societal implications (e.g., affect health, mobility, affordability and equity, and environmental stewardship).

The ESD undergraduate curriculum is structured to provide students with the knowledge and skills necessary to be future system architects and leaders. Students learn to analyse, design and manage engineering systems with a global perspective, and benefit from extensive, guided experiences in a range of contexts. Their knowledge and skills are applicable across many types of engineering systems and industries, including manufacturing, service, and the public sector.

In addition to providing for a strong foundation in the fundamentals of mathematics, science, and engineering, the ESD curriculum provides students with significant exposure to the social sciences, including management, economics, and public policy, as well as an emphasis on soft skills, including communication, team work, entrepreneurship, and ethics. An important focus of the curriculum is analytics, the leveraging of big data, efficient algorithms, and cheap computing to support intelligent and data-driven decision making in a variety of domains. The ESD curriculum is modular and flexible, with a mix of half and full term courses and a wide range of electives.

Focus Tracks

Students can choose to pursue one of several focus tracks or customise their program by selecting elective courses from across the university. The following focus tracks are available for current ESD students:

In future years, we plan to expand the offering of focus tracks to include other applications areas, such as Healthcare and Telecommunications.

How is the ESD curriculum more relevant to the needs of industry today and in the future, compared to a more traditional engineering degree?

Instead of a traditional focus on products and devices, the focus of the ESD curriculum is on large scale systems, the integration of these systems, and their deployment. It is moving engineering up the value chain. It is a blend of the technical and the managerial, with additional focus on public policy and societal concerns.

The focus of ESD is aligned with the core competencies of Singapore. Singapore has distinguished itself by its ability to deploy and manage large scale complex systems (e.g., the port, the airport, mass transit systems, urban traffic, financial services, healthcare, retail, and hospitality). Students who earn a degree in ESD will have a variety of career options; nearly any company will have opportunities for a student with an ESD degree.

What kind of careers would be available to ESD graduates?

ESD graduates will be prepared for a wide range of engineering and management careers in a variety of industries. The skills learned by ESD graduates in analytics, management, and design would prepare them to be system analysts, operations managers, and project leaders in both the private and public sector, including healthcare, banking, manufacturing, supply chain, energy, transportation, and entertainment and hospitality. Examples of job titles ESD graduates will include:

  • Systems engineer
  • Data analyst
  • Operations manager
  • Industrial engineer
  • Financial engineer
  • Consultant
  • Supply chain analyst
  • Logistics specialist
  • Project leader
  • Entrepreneur

Because of their exposure to both engineering and management and because of their ability to take the systems view, ESD graduates will be well positioned to quickly move on to managerial and leadership positions within their organisations.

The rigorous technical training ESD graduates receive will also prepare them for various post-graduate academic programs, both in Singapore and abroad, including but not limited to industrial and systems engineering, operations research, business, economics, and public policy.


When students apply to SUTD, they do not directly apply to the ESD pillar. Although students may be asked to indicate their interest during the admission process, their final decision is made at the end of Term 3. During this time, students are encouraged to interact with faculty and attend ESD talks and events in order to make a more informed decision. There are no specific admission requirements to join ESD other than completing the freshmore term.

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