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Vol 39  No 1
Aug. 10, 2006


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Changes in store

Memorial’s engineering program gets overhaul

By Michelle Osmond

The Bachelor of Engineering program at Memorial is getting a redesign ­ the first changes to take place in the program in 30 years. The program has been revamped to emphasize areas that have particular relevance to Newfoundland and Labrador such as oil and gas, offshore, process industries, energy sector, advanced technology sector, with more team project work, and increased flexibility to take courses across engineering disciplines and from outside the Faculty of Engineering.

Scheduled for students entering in 2008, the most obvious change is that the program will now run five years instead of six (or eight academic semesters from the current 10). Other significant changes include students being admitted directly from high school and, although the program will still have a mandatory co-op component, students will only have to complete four work terms as opposed to the six they now have to complete. The new program will also include Engineering One, a common first year with more project-based, interdisciplinary courses after which there will be competitive entry into each of the five engineering disciplines: civil, electrical, computer, mechanical, and ocean and naval.

Members of the Engineering Student Society feel the new program is definitely more efficient ­ allowing those students who are sure of their career choice to get started earlier after high school.

Dan Hatcher, vice-president academic of the society, said he thinks the time has come for changes. He also thinks fewer work terms will give many students the opportunity to pursue complimentary studies. “I personally know of people who have attended other schools because there is more flexibility in the engineering program, which has allowed them to pursue dual degrees,” he said. “Now people of this mindset might consider Memorial.”

Mr. Hatcher’s only concern is that, although students may appreciate not having to complete six work terms, they may not realize they’re missing out on great experiences and opportunities to make important contacts in industry that may lead to jobs later on.

The undergraduate engineering program has seen an increase in demand with enrolment up over 10 per cent since 2000-01. Until now, that growth has largely come from students recruited within the province. Those behind the changes are hoping that these amendments, coupled with a significant recruitment effort, will lead to more success in recruitment outside the province, including international markets, and from parts of the province where recruitment has not been a priority.

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