University of Waterloo Faculty of Engineering

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to navigation Jump to search
Faculty of Engineering
Carl Pollock Hall, one of the engineering buildings at the University of Waterloo
Established 1957 (1957)
Type Faculty
Academic affiliation University of Waterloo
Location Waterloo, Ontario, Canada
43°28′16″N 80°32′21″W / 43.470992°N 80.539267°W / 43.470992; -80.539267Coordinates: 43°28′16″N 80°32′21″W / 43.470992°N 80.539267°W / 43.470992; -80.539267
Dean Pearl Sullivan
Academic staff 309
Undergraduates 7,630
Postgraduates 1,872
Alumni 42,924
Symbol Wrench (The TOOL)
Cooperative education program is compulsory.

The Faculty of Engineering is one of six faculties at the University of Waterloo in Waterloo, Ontario, Canada. As of 2016, it has 7,630 undergraduate students, 1,872 graduate students, and 309 faculty.[1] It had 42,924 alumni in 2016,[2] making it one of Canada's largest engineering faculties. The Faculty of Engineering houses 8 academic units and offers different degrees in a wide variety of engineering disciplines.

The Faculty of Engineering is unique in the way that all undergraduate students are automatically enrolled in the co-operative education program, in which they alternate between academic and work terms throughout their five years of undergraduate career.


The faculty was originally conceived in 1957 as an extension of the then Waterloo College (now known as Wilfrid Laurier University). It was originally named the Faculty of Science and Engineering of the Waterloo College Associate Faculties, and was created to satisfy local businesses who claimed the university needed a technical school.

The "associate faculties" grew rapidly and were eventually separated from the college in 1959, becoming the University of Waterloo, and the faculty became the Faculty of Engineering.

The first year of students to attend the school was a group of 75 men who wanted to learn engineering. It was with this class of engineers that the co-operative education program that the University of Waterloo is so famous for was developed. These students would alternate being in school and working in industry every three months. Since then, the program has changed to a four-month term system, and has been adopted by all other faculties in their co-op programs. The first engineering graduates were awarded the Master of Applied Science in Electrical Engineering on Saturday, May 27, 1961. The first four graduates, William Cousins Miller, John Shewchun, Ferenc Takacs, and William Jacob Vetter were presented by Professor R. G. Stanton, Chairman, Faculty of Graduate Studies.

The faculty itself has expanded dramatically since that first graduating class into one of the largest and most reputable engineering faculties in North America. The Dean of the Faculty is Dr. Pearl Sullivan; a professor with the Department of Mechanical and Mechatronics Engineering.


Currently, there are a total of 14 undergraduate programs available through the faculty. These include Biomedical, Chemical, Civil, Computer, Electrical, Environmental, Geological, Management, Mechanical, Mechatronics, Nanotechnology, Software and Systems Design Engineering as well as Architecture. Each of Waterloo Engineering's eight academic units (schools and departments) also offers graduate degrees.

Within these 14 programs of engineering, there are many options that can be taken in the later years of the undergraduate studies. These options allow the faculty of engineering to branch out even more and present more opportunities to the prospective engineering students. Some options include mechanical, computer, electrical, or control systems for the Mechatronics Engineering program.

The Nanotechnology Engineering program was added in Fall 2005 as a more research-oriented program and to support the university's nanotechnology research. The newest undergraduate program is Biomedical Engineering, introduced in Fall 2014. According to the Vision 2010 Plan, there are talks of new disciplines such as Architectural Engineering.[3]

Computer and Electrical Engineering Programs[edit]

The Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering currently consists of Computer Engineering and Electrical Engineering programs. The two classes are blended until the second semester of second year. The two programs are then divided through program specific courses, with the Computer Engineering class required to take Embedded Microprocessor Systems and Systems Programming while Electrical Engineering students are required to take Advanced Calculus II, and Electrical Properties of Materials.[4] As of June 2011, Computer Engineering and Electrical Engineering had 173 and 208 students registered respectively for the fall 2011 semester.[5] The Department also offers specialized classes for Nanotechnology, Mechatronics, Software, and Biomedical engineering students. As of 2016, the department is chaired by Dr. Vincent Gaudet.[6]

Mechatronics Engineering Program[edit]

Mechatronics Engineering, commonly referred to as "Tron", is administrated by the Department of Mechanical and Mechatronics Engineering and was introduced to the University of Waterloo in 2003, with the first class graduating in 2008.[7] It is a multidisciplinary field of study, combining computers with electro-mechanical technology in order to create robotic and automated systems. Though the program begins with students required to take a spectrum of mandatory courses, it later allows an extremely broad range of electives. Technical electives in 4th year include Applied Artificial Intelligence, Computer Architecture, Machine Intelligence, etc.[8] Through these electives, students are able to strengthen skills within the mechanical, electrical, or computer aspect of Mechatronics. In the first year of undergraduate studies Mechatronics Engineering students are placed in either Stream 4 or 8 with the students in the former required to obtain their first co-op placement after one academic term as opposed to after two academic terms for stream 8 students. The program is currently chaired by Dr. William Melek and has 224 first year students and 916 students enrolled in total as of December 2017.

Environmental Engineering Program[edit]

Environmental Engineering is an accredited engineering program administrated by the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering. Comprehensive in nature, the Environmental Engineering program at Waterloo is particularly well known and draws upon the expertise of some of the top researchers in water management and treatment, solid waste management, remediation of surface water and groundwater systems, biotechnology and contaminant transport. Fundamental technical engineering skills are complemented with technical elective courses in Earth Sciences, Biology, Chemistry, Ecology and Planning. As PEO accreditation requirements have become increasingly stringent, the flexibility of acquiring a diverse, cross-disciplinary skill set necessary as Environmental Engineers has diminished.

Geological Engineering Program[edit]

The Geological Engineering Program is part of the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering. The Geological Engineering program at The University of Waterloo is unique since more than half of the courses that the students take don't come from the Faculty of Engineering but instead come from the Faculty of Science, particularly the Earth Science Department. The courses that are taken from the Faculty of Engineering by the geological engineering students are taken together with the environmental engineering students. The first year courses for the geological, environmental and civil engineering programs are exactly the same it is in second year when these three programs begin to differ.

Civil Engineering[edit]

The Civil Engineering program at University of Waterloo is administrated by the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering. The program itself is very diverse with many graduates in fields ranging from traffic engineering to structural design. There are also many fields that a civil engineer can specialize in such as building structures, bridges, sanitation (public health), structures, harbours, aerospace, highways (roads and streets), railroads, pipelines, foundations, tunnelling (rock mechanics), surveying and cartography, urban and regional planning and overall project planning.

Management Engineering[edit]

The Management Engineering program at University of Waterloo is administrated by the department of Management Sciences. This program at Waterloo provides a strong foundation in areas of engineering, mathematics, science and management. Graduates of this program are capable of working on many projects ranging from management of technological change to efficient operations. In the first year of undergraduate studies Management Engineering is offered in Stream 8.

Mechanical Engineering[edit]

The Mechanical Engineering program at University of Waterloo is administrated by the department of Mechanical & Mechatronics Engineering. The Mechanical Engineering program is one of the largest engineering programs at the University of Waterloo. The program is focused around the application of fundamental principles and laws of nature to enhance technological society and culture. Graduates of this program have a foundation in all aspects of mechanical design: mechanics, power, control, and manufacturing. In the first year of undergraduate studies Mechanical Engineering is offered in both Stream 4 and 8.

Nanotechnology Engineering[edit]

Nanotechnology Engineering at the University of Waterloo is administrated by the Department of Chemical Engineering as well as the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering. It is a unique program in North America being the only one of its type. Graduates of this program work in many different fields such as nano-engineered materials, nano-electronics, nano-biosystems, and nano-instruments. In the first year of undergraduate studies Nanotechnology is offered only in Stream 8.

Software Engineering[edit]

Software Engineering at the University of Waterloo is an independent, interdisciplinary program supported by both the Faculty of Mathematics and the Faculty of Engineering. Graduates of this program will earn a Bachelor of Software Engineering (BSE) degree. This program is focused around a systematic and disciplined approach to developing software. It applies both computer science and engineering principles and practices to the creation, operation, and maintenance of software systems. In the first year of undergraduate studies, Software Engineering is offered only in Stream 8.[9]

Systems Design Engineering[edit]

Systems Design Engineering at University of Waterloo is administered by the Department of Systems Design Engineering. Systems Design is focused on creation or modification of systems. Examples of some systems include human physiological and psychological systems, ecological systems, transportation systems, communication systems, energy systems and mechatronic systems. Systems Design Engineering is offered as a Stream 4 Program during the first undergraduate year.

Student life[edit]

Many students in the faculty actively participate in the University of Waterloo Engineering Society. Due to the co-op nature of the program, the society is split into two sub societies, named "Society A" and "Society B". Each term, one society is "on-stream", meaning they are in an academic term, and the other is "off-stream", meaning they are on co-op. The on-stream society for each term runs many different events both on and off campus as well as services in the society's office. The society also runs a number of charity events, including an annual "Bus Push" wherein student volunteers raise money for charity by pulling (despite the event's name as a "push") a Grand River Transit bus 7 kilometres from campus to Kitchener City Hall.

First-year students receive yellow hard hats during their orientation week which signify their recognition and adherence of the principles of engineering. During the week, they are also introduced to the society mascot, a 60" (1,524mm) pipe wrench known simply as the TOOL (formerly the RIDGID TOOL). The TOOL is the centre of school spirit for engineering students, and it frequently appears at events organized by the engineering society.[10][11]

Students in the faculty are grouped into classes based on their program. The class sizes tend to vary between disciplines, with class sizes of just over 100 for Nanotechnology, Computer, Electrical, Mechanical, Mechatronics, Software and Systems Design Engineering, and smaller class sizes for Chemical, Environmental, Management, Civil and Geological Engineering as well as in Architecture. Classes generally spend the vast majority of their time together, whether it is in lectures on academic terms or on their designated co-op terms. Due to this, classes generally develop a sense of camaraderie and tend to become a cohesive group, sometimes even building friendly inter-class rivalries.

The school prides itself in the high calibre of students that it attracts every year. Although the workload is very heavy and challenging, engineering students are among the most active and competitive in the student body. UW Engineering students used to finish top in competitions such as the Canadian Engineering Competition, the Formula SAE Competition (1st of Canadian teams, 4th in the world in 2005), the Challenge X (1st overall in 2005), the North American Solar Challenge (Guinness World Record holder), the Intercollegiate Rocket Engineering Competition (Technical Excellence Award and Category 1st Place in 2018)[12] and the International Aerial Robotics Competition (Maintains 2nd place in 2005).

Academic and research units[edit]

The faculty presently houses six departments, one school, and one centre. They are the School of Architecture, Department of Chemical Engineering, Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering, Department of Electrical & Computer Engineering, Department of Management Sciences, Department of Mechanical and Mechatronics Engineering, Department of Systems Design Engineering, and Centre for Business, Entrepreneurship and Technology (CBET). Architecture joined the Faculty of Engineering after leaving Environmental Studies in May 2005, while CBET joined the faculty in June 2006, not having been previously affiliated to a faculty.

The faculty also boasts a number of research groups. With over 1600 graduate students and 240 faculty members, it is the largest school for engineering research in Canada. These groups include the Waterloo Centre for Automotive Research, Biotechnology & Health Engineering Centre, Nanotechnology Engineering Research, Institute for Polymer Research, Institute for Sustainable Energy, Centre for Advancement of Trenchless Technology, and the Waterloo Cases in Design Engineering Group.

WatPD-Engineering (Formerly PDEng)[edit]

PDEng (Professional Development for Engineering Students) was a series of courses completed by students in the Engineering Faculty during their coop terms. It was started in January 2005 with the objective of ensuring that students have professional skills to complement the technical skills students normally learn in class.[13] The PDENG program has been widely criticized for its lack of effectiveness, failure to meet normal course standards for marking, and overworking students during their co-op work terms.[14] A final recommendation to overhaul the program was made May 12, 2010 by the Dean of Engineering,[15] which can be found here Dean of Engineering's Review of PDENG. The program was replaced by WatPD-Engineering in the Winter 2011 term, with the following rules for the transition:

  1. For Students that had a credit for PDEng 15 and PDEng 25 as of January 2011:
    • Students who passed both PDEng 15 and PDEng 25 were to select the other three courses in their professional development program from: PDEng 35, 45, 55 and PD 3 to 7, depending on their availability.
  2. Students who passed PDEng 15 but not PDEng 25 as of January 2011 were to select one of the following two paths:
    1. PDEng 25, followed by three courses from the courses listed in 1.
    2. PD 20, PD 21 and then two courses from the PD elective suite.
  3. Students who had not passed any PDEng courses as of January 2011 were to select one of two paths:
    1. PDEng 15, PDEng 25 followed by three courses as listed in 1.
    2. PD 20, PD 21 followed by three courses as listed in 1.[16]

The WatPD-Engineering program is run by WatPD and is directed by the WatPD-Engineering Curriculum Committee.[17] Currently 90% of students in the required engineering courses (PD20 and PD21) receive their credits.[18]


  1. ^ "Faculty Statistics Engineering". Faculty of Engineering, University of Waterloo. 1 November 2016. Retrieved 2017-09-11. 
  2. ^ "Faculty of Engineering Statistics". Faculty of Engineering, University of Waterloo. 2016-11-01. Retrieved 2017-09-11. 
  3. ^ "Vision 2010: A Blueprint for Excellence in Engineering Education and Research (2005-2010)" (PDF). Retrieved 2013-01-30. 
  4. ^ "Undergraduate Calendar". Academic Calendar. University of Waterloo. Retrieved 2013-01-30. 
  5. ^ "Fall 2011 Co-op Streams" (PDF). First Year Engineering. University of Waterloo. Retrieved 2013-01-30. 
  6. ^ "Chair Welcome". Electrical and Computer Engineering Faculty. University of Waterloo. Retrieved 2016-09-12. 
  7. ^ "UW Mechatronics Homepage". Mechatronics Engineering. University of Waterloo. Retrieved 2013-01-30. 
  8. ^ "Technical Electives List". Mechatronics Engineering. University of Waterloo. Retrieved 2013-01-30. 
  9. ^ "University of Waterloo: Software Engineering". Retrieved 2013-01-30. 
  10. ^ "The Tool: 40 Years Old and Still Ridgid". Iron Warrior. 27 June 2007. Retrieved 2013-01-30. 
  11. ^ "Wrenching 40". Imprint. 19 October 2007. Retrieved 2009-04-08. 
  12. ^ "2017 SA Cup". Experimental Sounding Rocket Association. 3 August 2017. Retrieved 2018-04-10. 
  13. ^ "About PDEng". Retrieved 2013-01-30. 
  14. ^ "PDEng Feedback II". Retrieved 2013-01-30. 
  15. ^ "'Entirely new' program to replace PDEng". May 12, 2010. Retrieved 2013-01-30. 
  16. ^ "The Iron Warrior » What's Been Happening with WatPD Engineering?". Retrieved 2014-05-25. 
  17. ^ "Frequently Asked Questions (General) | Professional Development Program". Retrieved 2014-05-25. 
  18. ^ "Learning Data | Professional Development Program". Retrieved 2014-05-25. 


External links[edit]