Females in Engineering

After blogging, doing Engineering tours, and attending Fall Open House, I have noticed that many people are curious to know the female enrollment stats in the Faculty of Engineering for many reasons. Whatever the reason may be, here are some of the stats I have found and some thoughts on being a female in Engineering.

The Faculty Statistics page on the uWaterloo Engineering webpage currently show some of the stats from 2012. Keep in mind that these statistics do not include Architecture. The stats show that 18.5% of all Engineering undergrad students were female and 22.3% of all Engineering graduate students were female. There were 36 professors who were female, which means 13.4% of all Engineering professors were femaleThat includes our lovely Dean of Engineering, Pearl Sullivan who also once served as chair of the Mechanical and Mechatronics Engineering Department. She is the first female Dean of Engineering at the University of Waterloo.

As a student who may be interested in entering the Faculty of Engineering at the University of Waterloo, you’re probably curious to know the stats specific to first-year students. Well in 2012, it looked like this:



You can see in the table that it really depends on what engineering program you’re in and of course, it varies each year. Perhaps this is a surprise, but I’ve heard that uWaterloo has the largest percentage of females in engineering in Canada. I think that’s great! Being in the work force now, I can tell you that there are very few female engineers but we definitely exist! I personally work with just male engineers, but I know some bigger teams have a couple of female engineers.

I don’t personally think too much about the female to male ratio in engineering. In my opinion, it’s all about doing what you love. At the end of the day, it really doesn’t matter as long as you are happy with what you are doing and you are getting along with your team.

What are your thoughts on women in engineering? Did you expect more or less of us? Do you think we need more female engineers?

1A Electrical Engineering
University of Waterloo


Introducing Biomedical Engineering at uWaterloo

Starting Fall 2014, Biomedical Engineering will be the 14th engineering program available at the University of Waterloo! Currently, the program will be accepting an initial class of 45 students.

Just like any other Engineering program at uWaterloo, Biomedical Engineering will be a co-op only program but unlike the others, it will be an 8-stream co-op program with a unique 8-month co-op term between the 3rd and 4th year. Admission requirements are the same as the other Engineering programs and it is anticipated that individual selection will be from the high 80s. Biology is not an admission requirement, although it is probably recommended.

Personally, I think it’s an incredibly interesting program and there is definitely a demand for Biomedical Engineers these days. My best friend is currently studying Engineering Sciences at U of T, focusing on Biomedical Engineering. She says it’s a tough program but there is so much to learn and it’s all very interesting to her. I’m sure if you’re interested in Biomedical Engineering, you will love the challenge the program will be here at uWaterloo.

If you’re looking for a bit more information on Biomedical Engineering, check out Prof. Anderson’s post here and keep up with his blog for details coming up soon. Of course, the link to the main page on Biomedical Engineering is here and here is some additional information on entrance requirements.

Good luck on your applications and don’t forget to keep the questions coming!

1A Electrical Engineering
University of Waterloo

UW Engineering Shadow Program

For those of you who are considering UW Engineering, have you heard about the UW Engineering Shadow Program? It is handled by the Engineering Student Ambassadors Team and we would love to spend a day with you for you to experience a day at the University of Waterloo as an Engineering student.

The days available are typically from 8:30AM to 4:30PM from Mondays to Fridays. There are students available from all engineering programs and you may request a specific ambassador although it will depend on the ambassador’s availability. You can find the profiles of our ambassadors here.

Shadow days for the Fall term (September-December) are reserved for grade 12 students only. Starting in the Winter term through Spring/Summer (January-July), shadow days will be available to grade 11 and 12 students.

If you are interested, definitely register now. It will be a great experience!

Celina Chan
1A Electrical Engineering
University of Waterloo

Fall 2013 Midterms Schedule

The midterms schedule for fall 2013 has been posted on the uWaterloo ECE website.

Tuesday, October 15: ECE 140 (Linear Circuits), 8:30 – 10:15AM
Wednesday, October 16: MATH 117 (Calculus I), 8:30 – 10:15AM
Thursday, October 17: ECE 150 (Fundamentals of Programming), 8:30 – 10:15AM
Friday, October 18: CHE 103 (Chemistry), 6:30 – 8:00PM
Saturday, October 19: ECE 105 (Physics), 2:45-4:30PM

Don’t forget to add these dates to your calendar!

1A Electrical Engineering
University of Waterloo

Computer Engineering, Software Engineering, or Computer Science?

Choosing exactly the right program for yourself is hard work, we’ve all been there. At times this may even be a little overwhelming due to all the different choices. Not only do you have to choose a faculty, but you have to nitpick exactly which program you think you will enjoy the most out of a couple very similar looking ones. I have encountered this too when I was choosing my program because computer engineering, software engineering, and computer science all looked like great options for me. But which one was I supposed to choose? What was I supposed to base it off of? The best thing to consider when choosing between programs is the courses that you will be taking in the program.

You will see that each program offers a different set of courses that are prerequisites and also courses that you are able to take to specialize in a certain area. You will see the main differences between these three programs in the courses that you are able to take. Consider also which courses you have enjoyed in high school. Did you like math? Computer science? Robotics? Physics? All of these? None of these? Ask yourself which one was your most and least favourite, and why.

Check out the courses in the later years too to get a better understanding of what awaits you, because the first year only provides a good basis for your later years, and then moves into more specialized courses.

Computer Engineering

Computer Engineering teaches you about both the hardware and software aspects of computers, and so is a good program to take if you would like a more general understanding of computers. In contrast to the other two programs, Computer Engineering is focused more on the designing and developing of computer systems and how the software interacts with the hardware. So you will be learning about circuits, logic gates, physics, but also programming and Computer Engineering is a lot more hands on too. If you want to learn about how computers work and also learn about programming, then take Computer Engineering. Click here for more information on computer engineering.

1A:CHE 102 – Chemistry
ECE 100A – Electrical and Computer Eng Practice
ECE 105 – Physics ECE 140 – Linear Circuits
ECE 150 – Fundamentals of Programming
MATH 117 – Calculus
 1B: ECE 100B – Electrical and Computer Eng Practice
ECE 103 – Discrete Mathematics
ECE 106 – Physics
ECE 124 – Digital Circuits and Systems
ECE 155 – Engineering Design with Embedded Systems
MATH 119 – Calculus

Software Engineering

Software Engineering basically takes Computer Science and combines it with Engineering. It focuses more on the application than theory in comparison with Computer Science, but it still contains science courses due to being offered by the Engineering department. The main focus though is software development and building and maintaining software systems. Software Engineering is a lot less focused on the hardware than Computer Engineering, but in comparison to Computer Science it is more applied and provides a greater emphasis on the developmental process to ensure that programs work as they should and are safe. If you like programming and would like to take more of a hands on approach to it, take Software Engineering. Click here for more information on software engineering.

1A:CS 137 – Programming Principles
ECE 105 – Physics
ECE 140 – Linear Circuits
MATH 115 – Linear Algebra
MATH 117 – Calculus
SE 101 – Introduction to Methods
 1B: SE 102 – Seminar
CS 138 – Intro to Data Abstraction and Implementation
ECE 106 – Physics
ECE 124 – Digital Circuits and Systems
MATH 119 – Calculus
MATH 135 – Algebra for Honours Mathematics

Computer Science

Computer Science is offered by the Faculty of Mathematics as opposed to the other two, and so it involves more math courses and is more theoretical than the engineering programs. This means no courses on circuits or physics, but more on programming and the theory behind it. This means a lot more math. Be prepared. Computer Science does not have courses on circuitry or how the hardware systems work, and has less practical and hands on learning of programming than Software Engineering. So in general, if you like to know more about the algorithms and ideas behind programming, take Computer Science. Click here for more information on Computer Science.

1A:MATH 135 – Algebra for Honours Mathematics
MATH 137 – Calculus 1 for Honours Mathematics
CS 135 – Designing Functional Programs
+ Additional courses of your choice
 1B:MATH 136 – Linear Algebra 1 for Honours Mathematics
MATH 138 – Calculus 2 for Honours Mathematics
CS 136 – Elementary Algorithm Design and Data Abstraction
+ Additional courses of your choice

In general, these three programs are quite similar in that you will be learning about computers, but they have different specializations. In these programs you will also be able to choose even more specialized courses depending on what you want to learn about the most. To reiterate, Computer Engineering is based on the hardware and software, Computer Science is based more on the algorithms and theory behind programming, and Software Engineering is a mix of both, teaching the applications of programming while still having a basic science background.

One last thing to note is the access to coop. No matter which program you choose, coop is a great idea because it’ll give you a chance to get experience and meet employers before you even leave school. You will learn about your job opportunities and how to work in a professional environment. Not only do you get awesome experience, you also earn money to start funding your university before you even finish! How great would it be if you could graduate with little to no debt, right? All three of these programs offer coop for their students, so I advise you to go for it!

Good luck, and don’t stress out too much! :)

1A Computer Engineering
University of Waterloo

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