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Engineering Science at U of Toronto

  1. Apr 4, 2008 #1
    Hi. I will be heading to University in the near future, most likely for engineering or physics. The program I was looking at was http://www.prospective.engineering.utoronto.ca/skule/undergraduate/engsci.htm" [Broken]. For the first 2 years, the program is about general science and engineering, covering a wide range of topics. Then, in the last 2 years, you pick one of several options. Personally, I am interested in both the Aerospace and Physics options that are offered. My questions are: Would this program be a good choice if I was wanting to go to graduate school after I get my undergraduate degree, or should I look at programs that are dedicated to either Aero Eng or Physics, rather than this mixed program? My next question is, does anyone know what sort of grades are required for this course? Currently I have ~95% in Physics ~90% in Math, and 76% in my first chemistry course (I hope to better in my next one). I still have one more math course, chemistry course, and calculus course to take, so those grades aren't really final.

    Thanks in advance.
    Last edited by a moderator: May 3, 2017
  2. jcsd
  3. Apr 4, 2008 #2
    Given your interests, engineering science sounds like a good fit for you. You'd be prepared for both physics and aerospace engineering in grad school if that's the direction you want to take.
  4. Apr 4, 2008 #3
    The UT Engsci program is very very very difficult, time consuming and competitive, please be prepared~ I would not discourage you from getting into that program, however, be really prepared~

    And if money or grades are your top concerns, please stay away. You would not get rich in that program, nor would you get good grades~
  5. Apr 4, 2008 #4
    Engineering Science is a very demanding course in university of toronto. The class average for that program tends to be much lower than other engineering programs at UfT.

    I personally think its worth it if you really enjoy math, physics and engineering courses. I think this engineering program is a lot more broader than other engineering (like EE etc). I seen some students graduating from this program going to med or law school.
  6. Apr 4, 2008 #5
    If you can stand 30+ hours of class a week (where some days of the week you don't even have a break for lunch) plus homework and term projects, then engineering science might be the program for you.
    Last edited: Apr 4, 2008
  7. Apr 4, 2008 #6
    .. and all this time I thought Canada had 24 hr days too... hmmm, so that's how you guys have free health care... lol

    Yes, it was a joke..
  8. Apr 4, 2008 #7
    Yes it is a very difficult program but like everywhere else like; McMaster U , Ryerson U, Waterloo U, etc. Class averages in engineering programs everywhere are lower than in other programs and 30 + hrs a week is common at Ryerson or McMaster and/or Waterloo or any other university. I am at University of Toronto and friend of mine is at Ryerson University, we study together and there is no difference in the program, we use the same books, questions are the same and we do read MIT's questions and solutions since there is no difference among them. Eng Programs are very hard no matter where you study all of them are the same.

    Since I am Serbian and here are many profs from Serbia they are telling me U of T engineering programs are much easier then programs in Serbia (former Yugoslavia) and other European countries.

    ***** maybe we are a bit spoiled in Canada and America comparing to Europe and/or Asia?
  9. Apr 4, 2008 #8
    Serbian, I agree with some of your points but actually sometimes the difficulty of a program depends on how competitive your peers are as well as your own expectation. When people say Toronto Engsci program is difficult they don't necessarily mean the curriculum. Most engineering schools share the same cirriculum. But being in Engsci, you are with the brightest people in the university and U of T assigns grades based on how you do compared to other students in the class. About 10% or less gets A's for every class. The same grading system may be used everywhere else, but the student population may not be as strong as in U of T.

    In most parts of Asia, the entrance into university is very competitive. However once you are in university, the pressure becomes significanly less. I am not sure about Europe.

    Although I am not in U of T myself, I am in a similiar program in another Canadian university. I can empathize with the frustration of spending hours and hours on a design project and maybe not having it work upon deadline.

    PS: a lot of students in U of T Engsci are Asian/international students, as in most Canadian universities.

    PPS: Engsci is actually a Honours combination of Physics, Math and Engineering
    Last edited: Apr 4, 2008
  10. Apr 4, 2008 #9
    Canada is on a 48-hour day, but each hour is only 30 minutes so it all cancels out :)
  11. Apr 4, 2008 #10
    Thanks for all the replies. I had heard that it was a very extensive program, but I didn't realize that it had a reputation of being THAT difficult. I'm not really afraid of a challenge and I have no problem working hard, but that still won't make it much easier. In your opinions, do you think it would be better to take a more intense program, but come out with a lower GPA or to take an "easier" program on and come out with a (potentially) higher GPA? Like, going into Grad school or directly into a career, do they look for a higher GPA, or a better program that covers more areas? For example, if Student A takes a normal engineering or physics program and gets a high GPA, and then Student B takes a more difficult course that covers more bases and gets a lower GPA, will they both be considered as equal? Sorry if these questions seem pointless, but it's a tough choice and a major investment, and I want to make sure I do the right thing, so I want all the information I can get :)
  12. Apr 5, 2008 #11
    GPA is how they measure you if you cannot show them anything else like research experience, or papers published which is typically the case for undergrads going into graduate studies. But if you're competent, you can find professors who may overlook a low GPA and still take you since graduate students are often seen as a cheap source of labor.
    More importantly, if you're intent is graduate studies, you will want to apply for a NSERC scholarship and then it becomes necessary to have a high GPA to compete. Ideally, you will want one of these scholarships to give you the freedom to find your own supervisor and explore you're own area of interest in research.
    If you are going into industry, then work experience you accumulate is far more beneficial than any GPA score.

    Try looking at the Mechanical Engineering program that UofT has. You can mix in a few Aerospace courses in 4th year. Its an alternative to going through the EngSci path. Ultimately if you want to pursue aerospace studies, you will have to go do graduate school to gain more depth in knowledge. EngSci is not a prerequisite for that.
  13. Apr 5, 2008 #12
    Whatever you do, don't go into U of T's Physics or Math and Physics Specialist programs. EngSci Physics, though it involves more work, is 100x better for a career in both academia and industry.
  14. Apr 5, 2008 #13
    I am in u of t regular engineering, I've got a few friends in eng sci,
    The truth I find is, GPA among eng sci's and regular engineering are similar,, untill you put the two in the same class room (same course). Then, it happens every time every year, the eng sci's will have 80 averages, while the rest of the engineering students will hover around 60 and 70 averages. Their courses are harder, but the students are smarter,,,so it all cancels out....

    I repeat, I am not in engsci but I have friends in engsci. I will lay out what I hear about the program: The program, although it is difficult, it is manageable by majority who are in it. (by majority I mean about 2/3 of the class manage and move on to second year, whilie 1/3 switch off to a different engineering) The tests are inhumanely difficult, or so I've heard. But that will depend on individual courses. I personally know of someone who solved 2 out of 5 questions correctly in a final (to his claim, but who knows) but still walked out with a 100 because, well obviously the rest of the class couldnt even solve those two so the professor had to bell the marks up (its a university policy to pass more than 0 student in a course)

    As far as difficulty of the program goes, It will mostly be concentrated on 1st and 2rd year. 3rd and 4th year may be just as difficult, but it wont feel as difficult as 1st or 2nd because you are used to it (As is true elsewhere) But there is another reason why its easier, its because from 3rd year on, you share courses with other majors! (examples: If you take nano option, you share some courses with material engineering, if you take infrastructure option, you share some courss with civil, if you take manufacturing option, you share some courses with Mech and Indies, etc) Most of the difficulty will stem from the intense 5-6 courseload per semester. The difficulty of each individual course, you may find, is actually not that bad (I use this phrase very losely)

    Take for example, the Engineering Physics option, which only crazy people apt to choose (by crazy I mean top 10% of engsci class). You can imagin it being super hard!
    But, guess what, the courses that they take are shared with regular physics majors! your standard quantum mechanics, classical mechanics, general relativity and what not (pardon me if i miss-quoted a few courses as being standard, i dont know half the stuff that you physics majors usually take)

    So its not all that bad you see, you just do the same thing that rest of us do, except jam packed into a shorter amount of time, upping the intensity.
  15. Apr 5, 2008 #14
    forgot to add: about your question on grad school, the statistic is that 50% of the students go to grad school (so obviously either many make the marks, or the reputation of the program ensures some bonus points)

    and I dont know whats the case for engineering physics program but for the Aerospace option, (which only small number of people choose) simply graduating gives them a ticket to the aerospace grad school at u of t,
  16. Apr 6, 2008 #15
    Thank you Tyro. It's nice to get some first hand (well close enough) information :) Just curious, is there any reason in particular that that Aerospace option is not very popular, or is it just of lesser interest to the majority of people than the other options? On another note, what is U of T like, the campus itself, not the courses?
  17. Apr 6, 2008 #16
    I really can't say why its not very popular.
    I can throw a few guesses tho. There are less jobs out there for aerospace. Especially if your major is so specialized. And plus, designing an aircraft takes many types of specific engineers that design specific parts, not just an aerospace engineer. So you may as well choose electrical/comp/mechanical/material engineering instead who have prospects to find jobs everywhere else. (to be fair, the curriculem is more like an intensified version of mechanical engineering so you are hardly at a loss if you choose it).

    But I think that is the general concensus, and people believe there is no point in taking it if you are not going to plan on going to grad school right away, or you absolutely must get a job in the aerospace engineering.

    Above is just my guess about people's thoughts, it may or may not be true. To take a view from a different angle. The option may be overshadowed by the massive popularity of a few options, namely, Electrical, computer, and biomedical option. I dont have numbers handy but something like half of the people take electrical or computer option who look foward to getting a job (100% employment rate right out of school with strong starting salaries), and half of the rest take biomedical option('biology is the future' influence is pretty strong around here) who will look towards research/med school. There are 9 options, 75% of the people take 3 of them, out of 250 people in a year, there is not that many left and they scatter to the other options. Infrastructure 10~ physics 10~ aerospace 10~ nano 10~. You get my point.

    Run down, old, and dirty. Dont come here with high expectations.
    Well, let me put things a bit nicely. The university is a very old university (175+ years old!) expect to see some cruddy buildings. But the good side of it is that there are also very new and very beautiful buildings as well as newely renovated old buildings due to recent construction projects.

    The engineering section is concentrated around the south west corner of the campus and things are very convenient because all your classes are there. More or less there is a building for each program but they are simply a spiritual home bases, and your major won't lock you down into one building(your classes are scattered around without regard to its type)

    I will refrain from rambling about physical characteristics of each building and their main uses, let me select only the good buildings to leave you a nice impression. In the engineering area, there is a building called Bahen Center for Information Technology. Its the biggest, nicest, and the newest building (this is the home base for Comp Sci, Math, eng sci, and Electrical and Computer, But with exception to eng sci, those other departments have multiple home bases) Engsci's have their own computer lab accessible only by them, and the computers are a bit nicer than the rest. Many many rooms and big and nice lecture halls, computer labs, etc. Floors 1 and 2 are for the students, 3 to 8 are research offices for grad students and professors.

    There is also the Terrace Donnely Center for Research in Molecular Biology (or something like that). Now I mention this building because its in the engineering section, and it has some affiliation with the biomed option in engsci, but rarely do students get to spend time here (you can go there for fun obviously) its a very nice building. And I do believe SOME classes that biomed people take will be held here. This building is built for research, not students. Again like the Bahen building, This building is a home base for so many departments and programs that I can't name them all here. Interdisciplinary Studies is the up and coming theme.

    Faculty of engineering is not the black hole of funding, and you will find a mix of old and new all around the rest of the campus, which you can (and probably will) choose to do your free time studying in (mainly because engineering section is full of guys or girls who dont take care of themselves, no offence intended to girls, while rest of the campus library and study area are full of, well, you know). I will recommend you do most of your important studying in the engineering section, because you are free from distraction from college girls in miniskirts, and you will better build strong bonds with your engineering friends.

    Last but not the least, the demographic for engineering department is as follows
    40% middle eastern, south asian
    30% east asian
    20% european
    10% etc.
    These numbers pulled from faint memories of actual statistic in engineering newspapaer.

    I am an east asian myself, but at times I felt like I was an international student in China. We all get along, its nothing new since Toronto is 40% minority anyways. If you are not from Toronto you may find the diversity striking (well I'm guessing because I was surprised too). But most people love the diversity around here.

    There is another last thing, If youre in for a party school with more mixing and mangling and social stuff, but with respectable programs, I recommend Western Ontario, Queens U, or McMaster. We are not a party school (and so isn't Waterloo)

    Wow Rambling and a half, hope you can find something useful in this post.
  18. Apr 6, 2008 #17
    Just as a side note, there are very few mini-skirts around, many of the girls like to wear jeans. Only do I see miniskirts in the summer time when engineering classes are all done and the summer artsies are out and about.
  19. Apr 21, 2008 #18
    I believe this is the right kind of program to go for if you want to pursue Graduate Studies. It will give you a very very firm foundation for pursuing grad studies. Also, with your marks, I dont see a major problem, except for your chemistry course. Usually, U of T always asks for some medical reason to repeat a course, or else they consider the first trial. However, your Math & Phyz courses should cover up your 1st chem course. Again, none of those courses must be in night, virtual, summer or private school as universities like Waterloo and U of T strictly prefer day school.
    And regarding Engineering Science, I saw U of T's Engineering Faculty's calendar and they define EngSci as an "enriched" program in their calendar, where each of the course is one level above general engineering courses. So, be prepared for rigorous course load in 1st two years.
    One last note : On EngSci website, they mentioned that mean admission average of students for EngSci was 91% for last year. I believe this would give you an idea regarding the marks.
    My sources: I have a friend in 2nd year EngSci and I myself am starting EngSci from this september.
  20. Apr 21, 2008 #19
    Hi and thanks for the reply. From what I have read, the EngSci program is definitely good for pursuing graduate studies. I like the idea of having my options open, and engineering science seems to do just that. I'm not 100% sure of what I want to study right now, which was why I was looking at the EngSci program to begin with; a broad program that opens many doors. While my Chemistry mark does bother me, that was my Grade 11 Chemistry course, so I still have a chance to bring the mark back up with my Grade 12 course. The marks in the class were all fairly low, with mine being slightly above average. I'm not sure whether this was due to the teacher, or if it was just something that was difficult for me (It was my lowest mark ever, which I wasn't happy about). The EngSci program seems to be very unique, and I don't want to plan my future education hoping that I get into the program (If I don't get in and I have no other plans, then there aren't many programs like it that I can fall back on) I believe I will explore other options, while keeping EngSci in mind. Engineering seems to be what I want to do, based on my interests, but I'm having trouble pinning down a specific field that I want to study, which is one of the reasons I researched EngSci to begin with. For now I will wait and hopefully the decision will become a little more clear in the future.
  21. Apr 21, 2008 #20
    I also wanted to add, congrats on starting the EngSci program Sonani, good luck!
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