Why uWaterloo & Which Engineering Program?

Personally, I chose the University of Waterloo because of its renowned Faculty of Engineering and its excellent co-op program. Co-op is where study terms alternate with paid work terms to help students gain up to two years of work experience in their career field. Engineering programs are only offered with the co-op program while some other programs give the option to study in either the regular program or co-op program.

There are 13 engineering disciplines offered at the University of Waterloo.

ARCHITECTURE: From day one, you will start learning and designing in your own space at the School of Architecture located in Cambridge, ON. In addition, you will take history and environmental courses to further examine the close connections between architecture and society. Your first co-op term starts in your second year and in your fourth year, you will study at the studio in Rome.

CHEMICAL ENGINEERING: Learn to transform raw materials into useful products in a variety of industries from pharmaceuticals to environmental to mining to food processing, just to name a few. You will have the opportunity to specialize in areas such as biomedical or biotechnology.

CIVIL ENGINEERING: Learn to design, construct, and manage city infrastructure, buildings, and transportation systems. You will have the access to high-tech simulation labs to learn how engineers test risks before physically starting a project.

COMPUTER ENGINEERING: The program that draws Waterloo’s strengths in Electrical Engineering and Computer Science together for you to gain experience in all aspects of computers. You will study with Electrical Engineering students in most of your first two years under the ECE program.

ELECTRICAL ENGINEERING: Learn how to create and improve upon much of today’s technology from satellite communication to computers to energy distribution. You will study with Computer Engineers for most of your first two years under the ECE program.

ENVIRONMENTAL ENGINEERING: You will focus on environmental issues such as water management and biotechnology. You will take courses from the Engineering faculty as well as the Environment and Science faculty.

GEOLOGICAL ENGINEERING: This is the program for those who love going outside and getting their hand dirty. There are only 15 to 20 students in first year so you’ll get to work closely with your classmates and professors. The program is offered jointly by the Civil Engineering and Earth Sciences departments.

MANAGEMENT ENGINEERING: You learn to become a leader in business with the technical skills of engineers and ability to manage people and projects. You will specialize in information technologies, management of technology, and operations research/supply chain management.

MECHANICAL ENGINEERING: From robots to motors to pumps, you’ll be working with and designing machines that move. You will work in industries that do manufacturing, robotics, aerospace, or biotechnology.

MECHATRONICS ENGINEERING: Combine mechanical engineering, electronics, control engineering, and computer science to create various systems that are mechanical in nature but function with electrical and computer control systems.

NANOTECHNOLOGY ENGINEERING: The program is an application of ideas from chem, quantum physics, biology, and electronics. You’ll have access to the QNC which offers amazing lab space for hands-on experience.

SOFTWARE ENGINEERING: In addition to mathematics, engineering, and comp sci, you’ll learn about software development process, project management, and technical documentation. The program is offered jointly by the Faculty of Engineering and Faculty of Mathematics.

SYSTEM DESIGN ENGINEERING: This is an interesting program because it is a rather flexible engineering program, relatively speak. You will apply engineering principles to environmental systems, robotics, and computer and interface design to connect humans with technology.

These are just very brief summaries of the 13 engineering programs offered at the University of Waterloo. There are more details available on the UW website. Professor Bill Anderson, a UW Chemical Engineering prof also shares his thoughts on the programs here.

Regardless of whether you’ve decided on a program yet or not, I recommend that you take this quick quiz designed by a Management Engineering student to see if your choice matches up with the results. It’s not 100% accurate, of course and don’t let it affect your original choice too much because if you’re passionate about something, you’ll likely be able to succeed with a little bit of work and talent. I found that this quiz was helpful when it came down to selecting my alternatives in my AIF. My results were Electrical Engineering, Mechanical Engineering, and Mechatronics Engineering and I selected those three programs in my application; in the end, I went with Electrical Engineering and I feel like it was the right choice.

Feel free to ask questions about the programs and application process. I will try to answer the best I can but stay tuned for more details on some of the programs and what the application process is like. Good luck!

1A Electrical Engineering
University of Waterloo


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