Transmission & Distribution Courses

All courses are developed and taught by industry experts, appropriate for graduate engineers and senior engineering undergraduates. The courses incorporate aspects of civil, electrical, and mechanical engineering disciplines typically used in modern electrical grid design. These courses all apply towards both the Certificate and Master's of Engineering, Transmission & Distribution.

TADP Courses & Sessions

Listed by session. Each course earns three (3) credits and is generally taught once per year. Spring and Fall courses tend to stay the same, Summer courses rotate. Students should only plan on taking one course per session.

Summer 2021

June 1 - August 6

This course introduces students to typical project development and construction processes. Modules include:

  • Typical Transmission Design Project Planning (conductors, land owner rights, foundations and structures)
  • New Line Projects (design criteria and structure types)
  • Line Upgrades
  • Project Alternatives (case studies and permits)
  • Pre-Project Planning (scheduling, costing, procurement, scope)
  • Technical Specification Development (clearing and access, foundations, structure, frame, stringing, and sag)
Updated January 13, 2021

Full Fall Semester 2021

August 31 - December 17

This capstone course for the T&D master's degree may be taken at any time in the student's coursework. Students are actually encouraged to take the course early in their program of study. 

The topics include:

  • Introduction and Definition of Leadership
  • Communication
  • Systems Thinking
  • The Ethical Leader
  • Management Skills
  • Strategic Planning

The 2020 offering of this course will not include an on-campus residency. All of the coursework will be completed online. 

Updated January 13, 2021

Fall I, 2021

August 31 - October 22

An introductory course to overhead distribution concepts and design. Modules include:

  • Mechanical and electrical properties of bare overhead conductors and the calculations that must be understood for properly sagging overhead conductors.
  • Critical mathematical calculations such as transverse loading, conductor clearances, pole buckling and guying.
  • The power triangle, leading/lagging power factor calculations and common single and three phase power calculations.
  • Transformers and transformer connections for both single phase and three phase banks.
  • Customer grounding system design and considerations: Includes some special conditions associated with neutral and grounding practices.
  • Distribution System Operations: design, equipment, and concepts required to efficiency operate distribution systems.
  • Distribution Automation: technologies required to achieve automation and new concepts stemming from an intelligent system.
Updated January 13, 2021

The course covers several electrical design aspects of transmission line to ensure acceptable reliability, safety and code compliance for transmission facilities.

Topics include:

  • Introduction to electrical aspects, rules and requirements, design criteria & voltage levels, conductor selection & ratings.
  • Line clearances with reference to National Electrical Safety Code (NESC)
  • Insulation design, lightning and insulators contamination, and electrical aspects of insulators.
  • EMF fields, corona, and radio/TV effects.
  • Grounding in transmission line design and grounding measurements.
  • Induction coordination, grounding measurement methods and upgrading of transmission lines.

The course covers in-depth design of steel poles, concrete poles, and associated foundations. Modules include:

  • Loading Tree Development, Design of steel pole section, Pole section optimization
  • Manufacturing of Steel poles, Steel Material, Design of Welds, Design of Bolts, Arm connection design
  • Design of slip and flange connection, Base plate design, Anchor bolt design, Pull-off and other details design
  • Review of steel pole specifications, Finish requirements, Corrosion Aspects, Inspection & Maintenance, Review of steel pole manufacturer drawings, Testing of transmission structures
  • Concrete Poles (Regular and Prestressed), Concrete pole specifications, Steel vs. concrete, Design and manufacturing, Types of Concrete Poles, Hybrid Poles, Musle Pole, Inspection & Maintenance
  • Foundation optimization for steel poles, Anchors for Guyed Structures, Helical Anchors, Helical anchors-different suppliers, Theories and specifications, Field test data, Design of anchors, Testing of anchors, Grillage Anchors, Rock Anchors
  • Foundation for Latticed Structures, Design of Stubs, Base Plate Design, AB cage Design, Finish (Galvanizing & Dulling), Corrosion Aspects, Inspection & Maintenance
Updated January 13, 2021

Fall II, 2021

October 25 - December 17

NERC/WECC reliability standards, control area operation, outage coordination planning, switch theory and devices, reactive load balancing, generation load balancing, economic dispatch, transmission marketing (OASIS), seasonal ratings. The student will acquire the expertise needed for the inner-workings of a large, interconnected utility system. In addition, the students will develop a skill set that includes knowledge of how electricity is generated, transmitted, and consumed, as well as the ability to analyze complex transmission operational situations and make qualified judgments and recommendations to mitigate transmission related problems.

Updated January 13, 2021

This course is an introduction to underground power system design. Modules include:

  • Cable systems: types of systems, manufacturing practices and manufacturing standards. Students learn the uses and design parameters of the equipment needed for an underground system design.
  • Installation practices for both transmission and distribution projects.
  • Application considerations: hydraulic pressures, commissioning and industry standards.
Updated January 13, 2021

Students learn economic benefits, reliability, safety, equipment costs, communication, transmission automation, distribution automation, under frequency load shedding, radial overhead, radial loop underground, demand-side management, remote connect/disconnect, SmartGrid, consumer automation, and network design aspects.

Modules include:

  • Automation: Why Automate (Economic Benefits, Reliability, Safety); Why now (where have we come from); Technology, History; What are our Options (Schemes)
  • Reliability (SAIDI, SAIFI, CAIDI, MAIFI, etc); Detailed Explanation of: Industry Standards/Benchmarks, Trend Analysis, System versus Feeder, Commission Report Examples; Varies Depending Tools used to track outages; Outage by Type; Calculation Examples; Case Studies-Transmission & Distribution
  • Transmission Automation: Overview Requirements, Design Schemes (SCADA, Communication/Protocol, Fiber, PLC), Real-time flow, Automatic vs Manual Remote control, RAS (Remedial Action Scheme), Under Frequency Load shedding
  • Distribution Automation, Radial Overhead, Design Aspects, Equipment Needed; Radial Loop Underground, Design Aspects, Equipment Needed; Equipment Costs,
  • Communication: Radio line of sight, Mesh, PLC, BPL, Fiber
  • Computer Network considerations: DMS/OMS/GIS; Operator Training/Buy-in
  • Economic Justification with Case Studies
  • Customer Automation: Distribution Generation, Connection Requirements, <25kW, >25kw, <100kW, >100kW, <3MW, >3MW. Protection & Control Considerations
  • Demand Side Management (Demand Response, Control of customer appliances, Customer Load Information to affect usage/peak); Remote Connect/Disconnect; AMR/AMI
Updated January 13, 2021

Other Upcoming Courses

It is highly recommended that students without a power electrical engineering degree take TADP 641 Power System Analysis before attempting this course.

Modules include:

  • Voltage and Current Transformers for Protection
  • Classification and Functionality of Relays
  • Overcurrent Protection
  • Distribution Feeder Protection
  • Transmission Line Protection with Communications Independent Distance Relaying
  • Introduction to Differential Protection
  • Disturbance Analysis

The course begins with an overview of system protection requirements and definitions by Charles Henville, an engineer with more than 30 years experience in applying and setting system protection schemes. He uses his extensive experience of real world protective relay applications and modeling, to offer students a comprehensive introduction to the topic.

The next two weeks are taught by Tarlochan Sidhu, an Electrical Engineering Department Chair at a major North American University with extensive industry experience. His research experience and interests are specifically in the fields of power system protection and monitoring. His work involves the design, implementation and testing of relays and power system instrumentation that uses digital signal processing, artificial intelligence techniques and other novel methods. Students will learn how to calculate currents and voltages during balanced and unbalanced short circuits with this instructor.

Juan Gers, a design engineering consultant will lead weeks four and five. He has more than 25 years experience designing distribution and protection systems. He has shared his consulting activities with academic work in several universities in the American Continent and has coordinated research activities in different fields of protections and power systems. Students will study distribution feeder protection and overcurrent protection before moving onto the final two weeks. State of the art topics will be introduced in distribution automation and adaptive protection.

Charles Henville returns to provide an in-depth study of high voltage transmission line protection with directional, and distance relaying and plus an introduction to differential protection and disturbance analysis.


Spring I (TBD)

Dates TBA

This course is the first of two line design courses, and is intended to teach students the basic process for designing an overhead transmission (or distribution) line. Modules include:

  • Terrain and Alignment
  • Loading
  • Conductors
  • Structures
  • Foundations
  • Structure Spotting
  • Line Design & Analysis
  • Construction Package

Course assignments begin with fundamental exercises to establish a line route. After the line route is established, an actual line design will be developed and loads based on design criteria, standards, wire tensions, and weather inputs will be applied. Structure and foundation evaluations will then be performed from the load data. Once the structures and the foundations are evaluated, students will then spot (or locate) structures along the alignment.

Finally, clearance analysis and other verifications of an acceptable line design will be performed and the resulting design artifacts will be produced to complete a simple construction package. Course assignments will involve the use of survey data, drawings, mathematical formulas, and manufacturers' data.


The course begins with a review of basic concepts of power systems, their components and how they are inter-related. Then an overview to the topology and players of the North American power grid will be covered. The main portion of the course will refer to modeling of power systems, short circuit calculations, and load flow algorithms and methods. Students will learn how to apply these fields with theory and case studies in topics such as voltage regulation, VAR control, and relay setting and coordination. The course wraps up with a brief segment on harmonic analysis and filter design.

Units include:

  • Power system general review and current situation: Components of an electric power system, how they are inter-related, and how the North American power grid is structured.
  • Power System modeling: Modeling the elements that make up a power system in order to carry out the different type of studies like load flow, short circuit, transient stability, harmonics and other relevant studies.
  • Fault types and short circuit calculations: Nature of faults, how they are classified, and concepts of symmetrical components. Calculate short circuit voltages and currents when symmetrical and asymmetrical faults occur.
  • Load flow concepts: Basic load flow concepts of Power Systems and the different algorithms to solve them. Use software program to analyze load flow scenarios and find out measures to improve the operation condition of power systems.
  • Voltage regulation and VAR control: Use components to improve power factor and voltage profile of any power system. Solutions increasing VAR generation, location of capacitors, operation of load tap changers and voltage regulators will be examined.
  • Electrical relays and protection coordination: Protecting generators, transformers, motors, busbars and lines. Get criteria and perform calculations to achieve proper relay coordination throughout an entire system and in particular related to overcurrent and distance protection.
  • Harmonic analysis and filter design: Ways to measure and calculate harmonics, performing basic calculations to design filter to eliminate undesirable harmonics present in the system.

Spring II tbd

Dates TBA

Students will learn the basics of substation design. Units include:

  • Intro to Substation Design: Overview of the distribution system and how substations fit into the overall grid. Students will learn where to obtain information regarding what type of substation is needed, what it will be used for and what components it will need.
  • Design Principles: defining a project, what information an engineer needs to create a project plan. Examples of real world substation design plans and how site, time and equipment issues can impact a design project.
  • Major Equipment: Voltage involved in a design and transformer specifics. Overview of safety enclosures, metering, and protection.
  • Transmission/Generation Substations: Design aspects of each substation, how its purpose differs, and how that purpose impacts design. Students will also study the issues of reliability and security for these substations and view drawings of each type.
  • Distribution Substations: Equipment, layout, bus layout, fencing, and related reliability issues. Students will be introduced to drawings for distribution substations.
  • Control Houses: Permitting process, elements of AC & DC power systems, and how different systems impact substation design. Students will also learn about SCADA and safety and communication issues for control house design.
  • Physical Design: Civil engineering aspects of substation design, tools and information needed, basic structural design elements. Students will also cover grounding issues in the design plan
This course further develops the strategies that were learned in the Introduction course (TADP 540) and introduces advanced concepts for designing transmission lines.

Modules include:

  • Sag & Tension & LiDAR Survey Technology
    • Derivation of the Catenary Hyperbolic equation
    • Calculation of conductor tension with survey points.
    • Adding / changing a structure.
    • Adding / removing conductor.
    • Moving structures.
    • Thermal Ampacity Ratings of Transmission Lines
    • Upgrading of Transmission Lines
  • Lattice Towers
    • Lattice tower families, anatomy of tower geometry
    • Analysis of truss members, two dimensional and three dimensional, Matrix methods of analysis, Tower analysis details
    • Buckling capacity of compression members, Euler's Theory, Buckling modes
    • Compression capacity of angle members, Global and local buckling, K factors, ASCE 10-97 code
    • Tension capacity of angle members
    • Connection capacity under shear and bearing
    • Tower weight calculations, testing and analysis
  • Poles
    • Analysis and Design of wood poles, NESC code requirements, Illustrated examples 
    • Design of steel poles, polygonal tubular members and round members, ASCE 48-05
    • Design consideration of anchor bolts, Wood equivalent steel poles: Wood vs. steel poles: economic considerations, life-cycle costs
  • Guyed Structures
    • Configurations of guyed structures: Single poles (Steel poles, Wood poles), Stub poles, Multi-pole structures
    • Analysis and deign of guyed structures, Compression capacity       
  • Foundations
    • Geotechnical properties
    • Bearing capacity theories
    • Footings and Grillages
    • Lateral capacity theories: Broms and Brinch-Hansen theories, Elastic analysis
    • Concrete Pier foundations
    • Direct Embedment foundations
    • Uplift capacity theories
  • Conductor stress, galloping, and vibration

As exercises, students will be given data on a line segment and will be required to compute the conductor temperature, do a clearance assessment, and be given a task of upgrading the line to a greater MVA rating using the several techniques presented. 


This course is an introductory course to alternative energy sources and systems. It covers briefly the traditional power generation systems, then it moves to cover the basics of alternative energy generation sources. Modules include:

  • Introduction to electricity generation
  • Advantages, challenges and supporting factors of renewable energy generation
  • PV & concentrated PV systems
  • Wind energy conversion systems
  • Energy storage systems
  • Other emerging renewable energy sources such as geothermal, biomass, solar thermal, ocean thermal, etc. 
Updated January 13, 2021