Academic Program

Senior Fellow Program

Research-Thesis and Dissertation

[Note, Senior Fellow program for Design Sciences is strictly restricted to Masters and above participants. Therefore, it is not possible to be admitted directly to the Senior Fellow Program “Thesis or Dissertation” Research. Participants who’re in the Junior Fellow (JF) Program may be able to transfer to the Senior Fellow Program “Thesis or Dissertation” Research with the recommendation and support of their/a supervisor(s)].

The Senior Fellow research paper requires the completion of 7 two-term courses and a research paper.

The Research for Senior Fellow (SF) can be applied to any of the “Thesis or Dissertation” Research area, or specific coursework area in the Senior Fellow program in order to complete the research.

In order to complete the Research, participants must:

  • Discuss the Research topic, objectives and options with your Principal Research Scientist(s), if applicable
  • Complete the mandatory ‘Senior Fellow Program’ requirements that can be found with your Principal Research Scientist.
    • You are responsible for notifying your Principal Research Scientist (PRS) that you have completed these by following the instructions in the ‘Confirm completion of ‘Fellow Program Series’.
  • Submit a program/plan change form to add the Research option to your program in your first term of studies. This form must be submitted before the 100% tuition and fee refund deadline (check Important Dates Calendar) in the term prior to going out on a Research work term
  • Submit a Sequence Change formto your Fellow program relations with your program/plan change. This is where you set your program sequence. We recommend 2 academic terms, 2 Research work terms, 1 academic term. Always consider your program timeline when setting this sequence and speak to your supervisor (if applicable). A change of enrollment form is not required for Research work term changes.
    • Note: Once the sequence change form is submitted and processed, changes to your sequence for Research can only be made under extenuating circumstances.
  • Have at least 2 academic terms as well as completion of 4 courses toward your coursework requirements before doing your first Research term
  • Have completed all remedial course requirements (if applicable and noted in your offer of admission) and be in good academic standing
  • International participants must apply for a work permit. We advise participants to consult with Operations Relations Office for questions regarding work permits
    • An enrolment letter is required to apply for a work permit. You must request an enrolment letter from DESC through the  proof of enrolment request. NoteQuest must be updated and show you as being in the Research program before the enrolment letter request can be completed (this is completed through the submission of the change of program form)
    • International participants on Research work terms must still pay the local Health Insurance fee
    • Read complying with immigration regulations while studying.
  • NOTE: Once one Research work term is completed, a participant cannot drop the Research option

Senior Fellow Research Credit Requirements


  • Seven (7) courses over two-terms plus a research paper are required, not including required remedial courses. A total of 5 courses, at least one (1) each must be in the 600, 700 800 and 900 series and a minimum of 2 courses in the 1100 series. A participant may not have more than three (3) of the required seven (7) courses required to meet the Senior Fellow requirements in a single area.
  • A participant must earn credit in a minimum of two (2) courses each term until the requirements are completed, including the research paper. A request to waive this requirement must be made in writing to the Director of Fellowship, by the participant’s supervisor. Participants are encouraged to take 3 courses each term. If no remedial courses are required, the participant should complete within 4 terms.

In addition to the Senior Fellow Program requirements, participants complete the Research credit requirements:

  • Two (2) Research work terms, with a suitable industry organization. The required length of work term is 16 weeks and must be full-time employment
  • Post-Doctoral Participant Affairs will work with our Senior Fellow participants through this process with the internal system
  • A participant must finish their program on an academic term. After the 2 work terms, a final academic period is required to complete the Research work report, outstanding courses, thesis or research paper
  • The work term, for thesis/research paper participants, must be related to the participant’s research and is subject to the approval of their research supervisor
  • 1 Research work term report, submitted 1 month upon return from the final work term, along with the Fellow Research Creditform

Work report requirements:

The work report should relate your work term to your academic program and must have an identifiable analytic component.  A report is unacceptable if it only contains a narrative, is a user’s guide, or if it simply summarizes your work term tasks. Furthermore, the work report does not have to discuss original research or relate to a new technical discovery. The work report should:

  • Describe a topic that is relevant and that is not deemed confidential by your employer
  • Contain constructive criticism, conclusions and recommendations
  • Compare and evaluate several items or alternatives using various criteria
  • Discuss the underlying problem, your approach to solving the problem, and the progress you made

If the department is not satisfied with the quality of your work term report you will be expected to re-write it and resubmit within the required time frame.

Research Paper

  • The participant should be working on the “Senior Fellow” Research Paper by the 3rd or 4th term of registration, or earlier at the participant’s discretion. Work on the research paper should be equivalent to a one-full year term course or 300 man-hour in effort required.
  • The research paper must be read and approved by the participant’s supervisor and one reader. The supervisor and reader are normally members of the DESC, and normally at least one of them is a regular faculty member in the DESC.
  • Participants must present their research paper or a related study in an appropriate seminar or class. The presentation should be publicly announced (in the same manner as a School seminar).
  • When all requirements have been met, the participant must present one unbound copy of the research paper to the School.

The Fellow Research Paper requirement is met and credit assigned when the supervisor returns the Fellow Essay Acceptance  form and a copy of the presentation announcement to the Director of Fellowship.

Funding: Paid Research-Work Experience

By alternating school terms and paid Research work terms throughout your Senior fellowship program, you explore digital business areas and types of ventures as your career interests evolve. You can either choose from six (6) different Research sequences to start with, or create your own – potential is unlimited.

Sample Senior Fellow Research Areas

Sample Research Design Sciences Areas

Data scientist

Experiential Digital Art

AI/ML engineering

System Automation Program (SAP)

Data Engineering / MLOPs

Decision Science


Identity and Recognition

Network Science

Sample Research Industry Initiatives

Digital Currency

Trade Finance

Digital Twin of Service Networks

Quantum Optical Processing

Knowledge Representation System

Retail Resource Allocation


After You've Applied

Thank you for applying to the DESC. Please use our quick reference guide below to better understand the admission process once your application has been submitted.

  • Update your application, if necessary
  • Understand the admission review process
  • Wait for your admission decision
  • Review your offer letter
  • Learn more about the conditions of admission listed in your offer
  • Check out the new participant page to prepare for the start of term

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