- 111,763 hits
Most Viewed Posts & Pages
Exciting news for those who have been asking about Biomedical Engineering at Waterloo! All the necessary internal and external approvals have been received and we are launching an undergraduate (B.A.Sc.) program in September 2014. So the OUAC application centre should now be able to take applications to this program.
I’ll provide some brief details about the program below, and then some more detailed thoughts and comparisons in future posts.
- Like all of our engineering programs, this one will have program-specific courses right from the first day, and will be a mandatory co-op program (alternating 4 month periods of academic and industry work experience).
- This will be a modified Stream 8 program (i.e. the first co-op job starts at the end of 1st year, after 8 months of academic study). One unique feature is an 8 month workterm between 3rd and 4th year, followed by eight months of academic work. This gives more time to focus on one work term job, and more time to focus on a major design project in 4th year.
- The Biomedical Engineering program is a joint undertaking with input and teaching by several departments including Systems Design Engineering, Electrical and Computer Engineering, Mechanical and Mechatronics Engineering, Chemical Engineering, Biology, and the School of Anatomy. It pulls together a lot of biomedical engineering expertise that already exists across those departments.
- The curriculum was designed with significant input from industry and graduate schools, so it should be very relevant for either path.
- Admission requirements: same course requirements as all of our other engineering programs. (in Ontario, ENG4U, SPH4U, SCH4U, MHF4U, MCV4U, + one other U/M course). High school biology is not required.
- Grade requirements? Hard to say, because that depends on the level of competition (i.e. number of applicants and their grades). There are only 45 spaces available in 2014, so we are guessing that mid to high 80′s might be necessary but it could go higher or lower. If you are interested, just apply and see what happens.
- Another unique feature: the program provides the opportunity to focus in a couple of interesting areas, namely Neuroscience and Sports Engineering.
- It is expected that there will be significant interactions with Waterloo’s Department of Kinesiology, as well as the Schools of Computer Science, Pharmacy, Optometry & Vision Science, and the Centre for Theoretical Neuroscience. A lot of biomedical research already takes place at Waterloo, as brought together in our Centre for Bioengineering and Biotechnology, so there should be opportunities for students to work on research projects (as there are with all of our programs).
There are other details I will cover later, but let me know in the comments if there are specific topics or questions I should try to address.
Here is some interesting news for those who might be interested in our Mechatronics Engineering program. For 2014, I believe that we may be expanding our intake by about 45 spaces. The expansion will be used to create a new second stream (stream 8 versus the current stream 4), with roughly 80 students in each stream. All of this needs to be officially confirmed and finalized, but this is my understanding at the moment.
What will this do for admissions? If everything remains similar to last year, it should slightly improve the chances for applicants with mid to high 80′s averages for getting an offer. The exact impact is impossible to know in advance, but this should be encouraging for those applicants who have been thinking about mechatronics as a possible choice.
During first year engineering, a number of students will come to realize that they are struggling in one or more courses. This will be shocking and confusing to them, because they have probably never experienced it before. They have probably never had to ask for help before either. It is never our intention to “weed out” a bunch of students (that would be a waste of our time and resources), so we try to provide a lot of avenues for student support, especially in that crucial first year. Students just need to take the initiative and seek out the help that is available (since we often can’t tell who is struggling until it’s too late). Here is a brief overview of various ways to access help. Continue reading
When faced with the task of submitting our Admission Information Form (AIF), there is sometimes some confusion over what to list in the “Extracurriculars” section. According to some dictionaries, “extracurricular” refers to activities at a school, but outside the regular classroom (or curriculum). While that is true, for university admissions the definition is usually much broader in practice. So, extracurriculars are not just school clubs and sports. We look for anything that takes place outside of a classroom, whether organized through the school or not. This would include activities with community groups, religious organizations, political and activist groups, recreational or competitive sports with community organizations (e.g. hockey and soccer leagues), cultural groups (theatre, choir, orchestra, art), cadets (army, navy and air) and scouts, and many other similar things.
It also includes things you might do on a more individual level, like music (perhaps Grade 8 or 10 RCM exams, or a band or performing group), art/photography, skiing, landscaping, automotive restoration, etc. It will also include hobby types of activities, like writing poetry or blogs, reading 19th century literature, music, model trains, writing software, raising show dogs or horses, gaming, stock market investing, …
So, for our purposes “extracurricular” means essentially anything outside the classroom. If it’s something you’re truly interested in and spend some time at, then certainly list it. This is your chance to show us more about who you are, aside from the grades we see on transcripts.
On the other hand, don’t make a long list of little things that you tried for a few hours now and then. It is not impressive. Stick with the significant things you’ve done over a long period, or that required a lot of hours over a short period.
Don’t worry if you only have a few extracurriculars. That is actually fairly normal and completely understandable. Also don’t worry if your extracurriculars are not “engineering” related. We don’t really expect them to be. Again, this is about you telling us about yourself. We don’t have any preconceived notions about what people should do in their spare time, so don’t try to second guess what it is we are looking for.
Here is a stereotypical, nerdy engineering reflection on calculators. Actually, the purpose is to illustrate how much technology changes in a single generation, and maybe somebody will find it interesting. So, here is a brief description of calculators that I have used in university and beyond.
Yes, I actually used this in high school and for the first couple of weeks of university in my chemical engineering program (for reasons you’ll see below). Once you were proficient, it could be faster than a calculator for some calculations. The downside is that you can’t add or subtract with it, only multiply, divide, do logarithms and trig functions. Addition and subtraction you have to do in your head, or on paper. It’s interesting to think that most engineering design done prior to the early 1970s was based on slide rule calculations. Continue reading
At our recent Fall Open House I met several prospective applicants who are enrolled in the CEGEP system. That’s a long trip for a few hours at an open house, but it was nice to meet them.
The Province of Québec has a somewhat unique junior college system that starts after Grade 11, called CEGEP. We don’t get a whole lot of applicants from CEGEPs, but we certainly admit a few each year and they tend to do quite well in our engineering programs.
The posted admission requirements for CEGEP are:
Linear Algebra; 2 English 603 or 604 series; Calculus I (Calculus II recommended); Chemistry I and II; and Mechanics plus either Electricity & Magnetism; or Waves, Optics & Modern Physics, with a total of 12 academic courses.
It’s sometimes difficult for CEGEP students to complete all those courses in their first year (especially Linear Algebra), so many applicants come from the second year of CEGEP. Since our programs are designed with to work with the Ontario high school curriculum, CEGEP applicants tend to be over-prepared (which is probably why they do so well), but that’s better than being under-prepared.
The good news is that our generic posted admission averages don’t really directly apply to CEGEP applicants. Our adjustment factors for CEGEP will allow for applicants with average grades (for the required courses) in the low 80′s to have a decent chance at admission to most programs (but as usual, the higher the grades the better). So CEGEP applicants should pay no attention to stuff they see online about needing 90s or 95s to get into Waterloo.
Here is a story about one of our Chemical Engineering students, and some of his work term experiences in the petrochemical industry. It’s typical of the variety of things that our students do during their 6 workterms over the course of our program.
by Shannon Tigert. A version of this piece originally appeared in the Spring 2013, ed. 2 issue of the Inside sCo-op newsletter.
Brodie Germain (4A Chemical Engineering) spent two rewarding co-op work terms at Suncor Energy. With his first two co-op jobs completed elsewhere, he was hired for his third work term as an Environmental Health and Safety Intern at Suncor’s wastewater treatment plant at the Mississauga Lubricant Facility. In this position, Brodie sampled the water the plant was using to ensure it was within government regulations.
Brodie’s position in his subsequent term at Suncor was Technical Services Intern, a support role for different engineers in the department. Each engineer is responsible for a different section of the plant, and by assisting all of them Brodie gained a variety of experiences.
A major project of Brodie’s during this term was a management of change analysis involving a heat exchanger problem; fluids passed through tubes to be heated and cooled. One of the fluids was picking up too much heat, reaching dangerously high temperatures. Various concerns and issues needed to be addressed, but Brodie appreciated the challenge. That’s because he connected what he was learning with things he had already done in school, like hydraulic calculations, collecting drawings and data sheets, and using logical thinking. Doing this kind of work was “as relevant as it gets” to his engineering degree, says Brodie: “I was able to find my strengths and weaknesses while developing my communication skills and technical foundations. A solid technical skills foundation is the most important practical thing to have as an engineer.” Continue reading