Engineering Specific Questions

What does an engineer do?

Engineers design, evaluate, develop, test, modify, create, install, inspect, and maintain a wide variety of products and systems.  They also recommend and specify materials and processes, supervise manufacturing and construction, conduct failure analysis, provide consulting services and teach engineering courses in colleges and universities.

Can I have a minor while working on my major program?

Yes!  If you would like to pursue a minor please speak with an academic advisor.  Additionally, please fill out a “Minor Declaration Form” and hand it in at the General Office.  It’s good to start planning your minor before 3rd or 4th year.  If you declare a minor you will not graduate until both your major and minor classes have been completed.

What average do I need to maintain good academic standing?

60% is required by all students to maintain good standing.

What exactly is “Systems Engineering?”

Our Systems Engineering Program combines classes from several different areas such as business, economic, social, environmental and professional awareness.  It focuses on the breadth of skills necessary for professional engineering practice in the modern world.  Combining human elements of engineering with the technical side prepares the student to work in the broader context of multi-disciplinary, team design approach.   In systems engineering, students learn to design in ways that account for the social and environmental impacts, end-of-life decommissioning, and resource management associated with a given project. Thus, designing a step ladder, for example, takes into account not just the ladder itself, but how its manufacture will impact the environment, whether or not it is recyclable, and the application of software to develop the most financially, environmentally, and ergonomically effective design, and so on.

What kinds of engineers are there?

There are literally hundreds of different kinds of engineers; aerospace and agricultural engineering to petroleum, nanotechnology and water resources.  Whatever your passion is there is an engineering job for you!  engineerscanada has a great comprehensive list of all accredited engineering programs in Canada.

Can I study abroad while finishing my engineering program?

Yes!  However, you must work very closely with your academic advisor regarding the classes that you will take abroad.  Studying abroad in your 3 or 4th semester is ideal.  Plan early if you are thinking about studying abroad.

What is the academic workload like in engineering?

A full load is 5 classes.  In Engineering many classes have labs so you have to keep that in mind, too.  Five classes can quickly turn into nine if you include labs!  Engineering has a demanding workload and it is important that you organize your time efficiently.  Homework and class attendance are crucial to academic success.  On average, a diligent student will study at least 2 hours per 1 hour of classroom/lab time.  5 classes = 15 hrs/wk + 4 labs = 12 hrs/wk; 54 study hours/week.  That’s more than a fulltime job!

What if I only want to take 3-4 classes in my first semester and/or throughout my whole degree?

Taking less than 5 classes per semester is possible, however it is very important to meet

 with an academic advisor to plan your schedule.


What is the difference between Software Systems Engineering and Computer Science?

Computer Science focuses on understanding, designing and developing programs and computers.  It concentrates on data, data transformation and algorithms.  Specialized programming techniques and specific application domains are studied.  CS is less structured than Engineering giving the student the flexibility to build their Program as they like.  Software Systems Engineering deals with building and maintaining software systems.  It is more software oriented and has a greater emphasis on large software applications.  It places greater emphasis on the entire software development process, from idea to final product.  It is more disciplined than CS, applying more systematic practices to help ensure that products are reliable and safe.  A Software Systems Engineering degree is an accredited engineering degree that enables a student to become a Professional Engineer; whereas a CS degree is not a professional designation.