UBC Engineering is the best school in Canada in which to be a female student:
- Peer Population—UBC is the only university in Canada with a goal of 50 percent female enrolment in its engineering programs
- Sense of Community—UBC Engineering mandates a Foundation Year program where first-year students comprise a unified cohort and explore the 12 different programs together
- Time to Explore—Engineering students do not have to decide on an area of specialization until their second year, unlike students at other Canadian universities
- Equal Opportunity—Through the activities of the Goldcorp Professor in Women in Engineering and Westcoast Women in Engineering, Science & Technology, women's advancement in engineering is a visible priority
- Extracurricular Strength—There is an established tradition of extracurricular activity for female engineering students—3 out of last 4 Engineering Undergraduate Society presidents were women and women are major participants in voluntary organizations like Engineers Without Borders and design teams like the Biomedical Engineering Student Team
- Women Have Raised the Bar—In the current academic year 7 out of 10 major entrance award winners were women
- Core Strategic Commitment—UBC's Faculty of Applied Science is committed to an ethos of collegiality and scholarly generosity that fosters and supports equity and diversity of every kind
- UBC Engineering has partnered with Social Scientists to identify, develop and implement evidence-based research that supports, retains and advances the career paths of women in engineering:
- Stereotype Threat
- Daily Social Identity Threat Predicts Burnout Among Female Engineers
- Gender Diversity 101
We put research into action.
UBC Engineering's academic programming has been tailored to attract, engage, and encourage female students as much as male. The School's differentiating features include:
- A first-year program common to all students
- No requirement to specialize until second year
- Twelve engineering programs to choose from, with programs offered both in Vancouver and Kelowna. More programs are being developed.
- The largest engineering co-op program in Western Canada
- Strong female faculty role models
- Coordinated international group study opportunities
- Multiple scholarship opportunities, both internally and externally, for example through the Canadian Engineering Memorial Foundation
UBC Engineering students have the choice to study at two very different campuses — UBC Vancouver and UBC Okanagan. Both offer a focus on sustainability, healthy lifestyle opportunities and a highly engaged student body and leadership in which women are prominent at both the student and faculty levels.
An Unmatched Sense of Community
UBC's engineers are a cohesive and active community fostered in part by the fact that they share the same classes from day one of first year. The classroom bonds that form are strengthened by shared extracurricular traditions and activities:
Engineering's Iron Pin and Iron Ring ceremonies
The Women in Engineering student group
More than 25 team design clubs and challenges
New UBC Engineering survey data, tabulated below, suggests that females in Engineering are 20 percentage points more likely to say they feel a sense of community in Engineering than female non-engineering students in their faculty. They are even more likely to say they feel a sense of community in their faculty than male engineering students.
Female engineering students were also more likely to report feeling valued and respected for their socio-economic status, gender, race, ethnicity, religious and political beliefs, and sexual orientation than women in other faculties (and often more likely than men as well).
Based on their experiences, female engineering students, more than their non-female and non-engineering counterparts, felt that UBC valued diversity in all its forms.
Recent graduate Diane Currie (2015, civil engineering), for example, started a UBC team for the Concrete Canoe competition in Portland, Oregon. She credits that experience with teaching valuable lessons in peer collaboration and time management that she continues to apply in her professional career.
Opening the Clubhouse Doors
It is important not to mistake the camaraderie among the female students for isolation or exclusion from a “boys' club” of male engineers. On the contrary, there is a strong “he for she” movement among male students, and many extracurricular events are characterized by strong hetero-social relationships and collaboration. If there is a club, it is not defined by gender but by the tenets fostered within UBC Engineering: innovation, sustainability, entrepreneurship, social activism, and sobriety.