Western Engineering Competition


Senior Design

Teams of four or third fourth year students are given twelve hours to design and construct a working prototype from given materials that can solve an engineering challenge. This challenge tests the competitors’ technical skills, as well as time management and teamwork. Teams present their solutions to judges using real-world justifications, then test the prototype according to the given functional requirements.

Junior Design

Teams of four students are given four hours to solve an engineering problem using creativity and limited resources. These students are in their first or second year of engineering making this challenge a test of their intuition as engineers and ability to work under pressure. Following the building session, teams do a short presentation for the judges before testing their prototypes with the provided equipment.


This challenge tests the competitors’ creativity and understanding of real world engineering problems. In eight hours, teams of two students are presented with a practical objective which must be accomplished by redesigning an existing product or process such that its functionality is improved or re-purposed. They present their solutions to a panel of judges, and are evaluated based on functionality, practicality, cost, and marketability.

Consulting Engineering

During the given time, teams of four must develop an economically feasible solution to a current real world problem. This challenge is the largest in scope of all competitions, and tests the students’ abilities in balancing ambition with practicality, technical capabilities with economics, and social benefits with environmental costs. Successful solutions will have considered every stage of the engineering design process.

Engineering Communications

Competitors are asked to describe a technical subject in lay-man’s terms. They must consider the economic and environmental aspects of their subject, and provide a persuasive conclusion regarding the potential benefits, risks, or effect their subject has on the world.

Impromptu Debate

This category challenges teams to a prepared and impromptu debate tournament. Given a technical topic in advance of the competition, teams will argue both for and against the resolution. In the impromptu portion of the tournament, teams are given 10 minutes to construct convincing arguments for their stance on a non-technical subject. Students are challenged to use a broad range of knowledge to tackle topics ranging from very general to very specific. Intelligence, poise, and wit will win this category.

Innovative Design

This category can be one of the most technical categories at WEC. A team of 1-4 students must present a ground-breaking solution to a problem of their choosing, though it is encouraged to align with the theme. The solutions are expected to be fully researched, developed, and in most cases prototyped by the date of the competition. Many students have created their own businesses using their innovative designs. Students present their devices in a fair-like setting which is open to the public, and of course, judges.