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New Engineering Options!

Note: This article is hosted here for archival purposes only. It does not necessarily represent the values of the Iron Warrior or Waterloo Engineering Society in the present day.

Hey there, engineer! Are you a biology, or earth and environment, loving geek? Have you secretly been hiding your passion for such disciplines among your physics-and-math loving brats peers? Well, fear no longer! The Faculty of Engineering has set out to introduce a variety of new options, especially in the biological, earth and environmental sciences.
What exactly is an option? An option is like a specialization that you can pursue within your engineering program. In addition to the core engineering courses, students who choose to pursue an option must take additional courses (either as Complementary Studies Electives or as an ‘extra’ course) from a select list to fulfill the option requirements. Options generally provide a depth and breadth of knowledge that might not be available from the regular engineering program. Unlike minors, which are generally coordinated between the student and an external faculty, options are offered through the Faculty of Engineering. Options also don’t have as many courses as minors. In Waterloo, a minimum of 10 courses is required for each minor, whereas options require only 6-8.
At present, the majority of options offered by the engineering department are all math, physics, or design based. Some of the current specializations that exist include options in Physics, Statistics, Water Resources, Management Sciences, etc. Although there is one Biomechanics option, the list of courses that must be completed to receive credit for the courses are mostly design and anatomy-based courses.
However, that is about to change with the list of new options that will soon be available to engineering students. Last year, Prof. Marios Ioannidis, director of the Nanotechnology Engineering program, visited the 2014 class to detail a list of options that will soon be available for the entire engineering faculty. Prof. Ioannidis confirmed that although the options haven’t been officially released yet, they are in the process of being approved (and they will definitely be available before the 2014 class graduates).
These options will be especially helpful to the Nanotechnology Engineering and Chemical Engineering students, since some of the mandatory courses required to fulfill the option requirements are part of the core Nanotechnology Engineering, or Chemical Engineering, curriculum. Similarly, some of the courses required for the present options (such as Water Resources, and Biomechanics) are part of the core curriculum of the Mechanical, Civil, and Systems Design engineering programs.
Many motivated students are already hard at work towards their desired option. Farzana Yusufali, a 2A Nanotechnology Engineering student, has already taken an extra course to fulfill the requirements for a Biochemistry option. “Options let you take advantage of your degree to a fuller extent,” says Yusufali. “It lets me focus my engineering training towards my specific area of interest.”
If you want to find out more about taking an option, including a list of courses that you should take, talk to your program director. However, be warned that six courses are a lot: you might have to shuffle around your schedule a bit to make these work, and you might even have to take some courses during one of your co-op terms. If you’re ambitious enough to strip away your academic fears, and pursue an option, it’s best to start early.
List of New Options that are coming up: Molecular & Cell biology, Biophysics, Biochemistry, Environmental/Ecological Science, Physics (modified), Chemistry, Earth and Environmental Science.
Current List of Options: Biomechanics, Computer Engineering, Environmental Engineering, International Studies in Engineering, Management Sciences, Mathematics, Mechatronics, Physics*, Software Engineering, Statistics, Water Resources.
* Might be modified with the new set of courses coming up.

1 Comment

  1. Karen Letts

    For information's sake, it is also possible to take an extra semester to complete work on an option. I am from the 2010 class, but finished my course work in the summer of 2010. Yes, it means I didn't convocate with my friends, but I still got to: get my iron ring, go to IRS, go to Gradball, and be a yearbook editor. I also got to take courses that I loved because I chose to do them. It was a bit of a paperwork hassle to get all the overrides approved, but with a little pre-planning adding an option is easy!

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