Selecting an Engineering Program
For some students, selecting the “right” engineering program is a relatively easy task. Some students know exactly what they want to do at a very early age. Perhaps they were exposed to the engineering discipline by their parents or relatives. They might have friends who are already in university and have first-hand experience in a particular program. They might even have gained some practical work experience in a related field prior to entering university. Regardless, some students know exactly what they want to study at university.
Don’t feel bad if you are not one of these “lucky” students. For the vast majority of students, selecting an engineering program is a difficult task. I recall when I was applying to university, I really didn’t know what university program would be best for me. Like many high school students, I visited my high school guidance counselors for advice. When I asked about certain programs offered by universities, the guidance counselors were often unsure about the programs. Coming from a small high school, I didn’t have the luxury of knowing any students who had graduated from any of the programs I was considering at the time. Like most students entering engineering, many interesting options were available to me given my high school grades, my work experience, and my extra-curricular involvement.
Online resources provide helpful information. However, it can be very difficult to trust online resources unless you know the source. Information provided directly from the programs can be very useful but there are so many resources and very little time to review them all. However, if you are serious about pursuing engineering as a career path, you owe it to yourself to do your homework. Once you select an offer of admission to a program, it is difficult, if not impossible, to change your program. While you may read stories about students who were successful in transferring to another program or another university, this (in reality) is a very rare occurrence.
The Faculty of Engineering at the University of Waterloo currently offers 14 different undergraduate engineering programs:
- Architectural Engineering
- Biomedical Engineering
- Chemical Engineering
- Civil Engineering
- Computer Engineering
- Electrical Engineering
- Environmental Engineering
- Geological Engineering
- Management Engineering
- Mechanical Engineering
- Mechatronics Engineering
- Nanotechnology Engineering
- Software Engineering
- Systems Design Engineering
In addition, the Faculty of Engineering offers a highly respected program in Architecture that uses an entirely different process for selecting its students.
Note that we do not offer programs in all engineering disciplines. For example, we do not have programs in Aerospace Engineering, Industrial Engineering, Materials Engineering, Nuclear Engineering, or Telecommunications Engineering, to name a few. There are other universities in the Province of Ontario that offer these engineering programs, if you are interested. Alternatively, our engineering programs do overlap significantly with some of these disciplines and it is not uncommon for our students to work in these fields after graduation, despite not having a degree specific to the discipline.