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Schools University of British Columbia

  1. Feb 11, 2005 #1
    I went to an education fair recently, trying to find a good university to go to, and the University of British Columbia in Vancouver seemed very appealing to me. They seem to have a nice-looking campus, as well as a mountain lodge, and Vancouver seems like a really pleasant place. I'm in the International Baccalaureate programme right now, I'll be applying spring next year. I checked that I do have the prerequisite subjects.

    My great interests are physics and aviation (actual flying would be recreational only), so I'm looking into Physics and Engineering, possibly aerospace. In the end I want to end up with a Doctor's degree of some kind. Having the major/minor system explained would be appreciated.

    I currently reside in Norway, as a Norwegian citizen. I'm looking for feedback and guidance from students in Vancouver, as well as anybody else who feel they may contribute. Thanks. :smile:
  2. jcsd
  3. Feb 12, 2005 #2
    I am currently a student at UBC, what do you need to know?
  4. Feb 12, 2005 #3


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    I'm also at UBC. I'm taking Engineering Physics. If you want to know how UBC Engineering rates as compared to other Engineering programs, I'm afraid I can't really help you there, as I don't know. One good thing about our engineering programs is that they offer the chance for co-op (co-operative education). In a co-op program...you go for work experience within industry at some company or instituition, usually during the summer term. This is excellent expereience for you and prepares you for the real world. Many other engineering programs at other Canadian universities offer co-op as well. University of Waterloo is supposed to be the premiere school for engineering.

    Our engineering programs at UBC are civil, mechanical, electrical, computer, mining, environmental, chemical/biological, geological, engineering physics (my program), and finally integrated engineering (a little bit of everything). There is no specific program for aerospace (though I think many with that inclination go into mechanical for undergrad?) A friend of mine told me that a prof had mentioned that we Fizzers (people in engineering physics) could also later specialize in aerospace easily (meaning that our background would be well suited to it). Personally, although astronomy and astrophysics were always my first passion, I chose engineering physics in favour of pure physics for undergrad because it seemed a good compromise between what I wanted to do, and a degree that would be practical/employable etc. It's sort of a hybrid program, engineering + honours physics. It's the hardest to get into, one of the best engineering programs at the university (no, I'm not biased at all :biggrin: ).

    I know the physics program is pretty good. UBC is one of the partners in TRIUMF, and the TRIUMF facility is right here on campus. (check it out...URL is www.triumf.ca). As a result, I've encountered some great profs in particle physics (one of whom taught us E & M, and despite being a researcher/experimentalist, was still a great teacher and actually gave a damn about undergrads!). I think the dept also has a strength in astrophysics (the prof who worked on the MOST project is here, as is one of the control centres for the MOST satellite). I've seen grad students in condensed matter physics, string theory ( :surprised ), general relativity/cosmology...I think the dept is doing research in pretty diverse fields.


    Pros: You're right, it's a spectacular campus! It's set against mountains and the ocean. I still occasionally look up from time to time and think "WOW!". Vancouver is a nice city too, very culturally diverse, cosmopolitan, etc. Much better weather than many other places in Canada, though if you're from Norway, you'd definitely be used to it anyways! I'm from Edmonton, Alberta. It's cold there.

    Other pros...^Stuff I said above...plus generally good profs, a bus pass as part of your tuition that allows you to go anywhere, anytime, any day. etc. There are other pros as well.

    I've never seen any mountain lodge! I'm not sure what you're talking about! :biggrin:

    HUGE sprawling campus...takes forever to get from one building to another, in general.

    Huge campus with 40 000+ students! You will feel a bit overwhelmed at first, but that's true of most universities. Crowding is a problem. Housing is a problem...there is a shortage. But first year students get priority. To live anywhere off campus but close by is expensive (~ $600 Cdn / month for a decent basement room...a bachelor or studio, or whatever it's called). Accomodation farther away is cheaper. UBC is in a fairly expensive area of town.

    Things are pretty laid back in Vancouver, and that extends to the UBC administration as well. Dealing with them can be frustrating. You are sort of on your own in the sense that you have to assert yourself to get what you want, even if it seems to you that it is something that ought to be provided/taken care of for you automatically, just from a logical standpoint. They don't care particularly about your specific situation...you're just a student number to them. I think that they leave something to be desired as far as efficiency goes.

    That having been said, I'm not trying to scare you away. I just wanted to give you sense of what the university experience can be like. In Canada, and N. America as a whole, the same problems exist, as the universities are trying to deal with more students than ever before.

    The major/minor system is easy to explain. A minor just gives you the opportunity to take additional courses in a second subect, usually just for personal interest. So your major is the main focus your degree. The minor is secondary, and to get a minor, I think you only have to take four or five extra courses. Sometimes the major/minor actually make sense, for instance an education degree, with a minor in _______, would be ideal for people who plan to become teachers teaching _________. In my experience, engineering students don't often minor in anything. Our programs are so busy, that we don't have time to focus on any subjects other than what is absolutely required for our degree (plus some additional elective courses). In engineering, it IS possible to minor in commerce, which entails taking a few extra economics/commerce courses. If I minored in commerce, my degree would be a BASc (Bachelor of Applied Science) in Engineering Physics, with a minor in commerce. I hope that makes the concept clear. I don't know what other minors, if any, are available to engineers.

    If you need more specific info, or a second opinion, or more clarification...meh...ask zefram. :tongue2: :rofl: I've said enough.
    Last edited: Feb 12, 2005
  5. Feb 12, 2005 #4


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    PS GOOD job on the IB program! It's great! I took IB. It prepares you for first year university...because you are already used to the workload. Plus any of your higher level IB courses are good for credit in first year, so you don't have to take them! :smile: eg. I got credit in history, english, biology, and I think even french! Looks I don't need any arts electives. Unfortunately, my high school didn't offer physics IB at the higher level, only at the standard level.
  6. Feb 12, 2005 #5
    Hehe I'll be the first to say, GO SFU!

    // I am a first year engineering physics student at SFU
  7. Feb 12, 2005 #6
    From the rather impressive and visually pleasing booklet handed out in Lillestrøm:
    Heh, you'd better bug the student gov't for it. :tongue:

    Anyway, thanks for you elaborate post, despite of some of those cons, I am even more tempted to apply for UBC!

    Anyway, for the questions:
    Is there a General Aviation airfield anywhere close? Links to local aeroclubs would be great, since flying is a big passion of mine.

    More to come as they come to my mind. I was also considering Kingston University, London, but it seems so crammed into the city, and the environment wasn't too appealing to me, so even though they have extensive aerospace facilities, I think UBC would have the most enjoyable environments. :cool:
  8. Feb 12, 2005 #7


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    Ok, I understand now. Whistler is the name of the most famous and popular ski resort near Vancouver, as far as I know. I know many students who are crazy about skiing and love going there. You can get some good deals via UBC. But Whistler is not in Vancouver, and so it is certainly not on UBC campus! What they meant was that there was a special lodge at Whistler set aside for students from UBC. Cool! :smile: I haven't been there myself yet, so I can't tell you how far away it is. I think you have to take a long bus ride to get there.

    Edit: The golf course is on campus, and it is open to the public.
  9. Feb 13, 2005 #8


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    The worst thing about UBC is that it is in Vancouver.

    Just my personal (and unpopular) opinion, but I think Vancouver is one of the most overrated cities in North America.

    The university is very good, but if I am not mistaken it is much better for graduate studies than undergraduate.
  10. Feb 13, 2005 #9


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    Well, I have no problems with anyone's opinion. I don't really have the background to understand it, having only lived in Vancouver a short time. I've been to Victoria a couple of times, and it's a very nice place too. I do think Vancouver is kinda poorly laid out as a city (Vancouver, not Greater Vancouver). I'm just talking about traffic/logistics. And although it's great that the economy in real estate seems to be doing so well, it's annoying that construction seems to be everpresent, and is carried out with typical Vancouver inefficiency. Things are built so slowly here. I'm not sure if that's what you were getting at, or if you had something else in mind. All in all, my impression of the city is positive.
  11. Mar 11, 2005 #10
    I was just discussing this topic with a good friend of mine, who's Canadian, planning to study psychology somewhere in Alberta, and she can warmly recommend studying in Vancouver. It seems like there's a huge probability I'll be living in Canada in a few years... :smile:
  12. Aug 3, 2005 #11
    Computer Science Prospects in Canada

    Hi guys! I would like to know what you people think the prospects in Canada are in the field of Computer Science. I mean are there reasonable job prospects in that field in Canada?

    I have just graduated in Physics from the University of Birmingham in the UK and I am now trying to decide whether to stick to Physics or move into Computer Science. But I would also like to eventually settle in Canada some day.

    And yeah, UBC campus rocks! :smile: I thought the campus at my university was huge until I visited UBC last summer! It's not just big but pleasant and very green too!
  13. Aug 3, 2005 #12
    By the way, does anyone know what International Baccalaureate grades are required to get into Engineering Physics at the moment?
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