New UNBC Masters Degrees to Increase Engineering Capacity for the North

July 26, 2013

Responding to calls from industry and communities, the University of Northern British Columbia announced today the BC Government has committed to funding two new masters-level engineering degrees, helping to provide the engineering expertise and capacity necessary to support regional economic expansion in the coming decades. The announcement was made in the Canfor Winter Garden at UNBC’s Prince George campus.

New UNBC Masters Degrees to Increase Engineering Capacity for the North

Media Download: Left to Right - BC Minister of Advanced Education Amrik Virk; UNBC President George Iwama; Minister of Jobs, Tourism and Skills Training and Responsible for Labour Shirley Bond; Prince George - Mackenzie MLA Mike Morris; and UNBC Environmental Engineering student Stephanie Doherty at the announcement in the Canfor Winter Garden at UNBC's Prince George campus.

The new programs are built on pillars such as wood mechanics, timber structures, sustainability, and  hands-on experience, and include a one-year, course-based Master of Engineering in Integrated Wood Design, and a thesis-based Master of Applied Science in Engineering.

“UNBC is responding to the need for increased engineering capacity in the North by initiating these new Masters programs. I commend the provincial government for this important investment, announced today,” said UNBC President George Iwama. “These new, UNBC-trained engineers will be experts in the use of wood as a versatile, sustainable, and cost-effective material. Our programming, housed in the Wood Innovation and Design Centre, will be both inspiring and innovative.”

The Master of Engineering in Integrated Wood Design is scheduled to begin in September 2015, while the Master of Applied Science in Engineering could begin as early as 2014. Both will be delivered in the Wood Innovation and Design Centre, currently under construction in downtown Prince George. The Wood Innovation and Design Centre will incorporate innovative wood products and design into its construction, serving as a demonstration of the ongoing capacity-building within its walls to strengthen BCs expertise and reputation as leaders in wood-based construction and design.

“The announcement represents the first expansion of engineering capacity at UNBC since the start of the University’s Environmental Engineering program, offered jointly with the University of British Columbia, more than a decade ago. We already have an award-winning Environmental Engineering Program, which gives us a strong base to expand upon,” says Dan Ryan, Dean of UNBC’s College of Science and Management. “In turn, these degrees will significantly add to our engineering presence in Northern BC.”

Last year, UNBC placed in the top 10 on a list of schools offering undergraduate-level engineering programs in Canada according to Corporate Knights, described as “the definitive annual ranking that analyzes how Canadian universities are faring at integrating sustainability into the school experience.”

In March, a team of UNBC Environmental Engineering students beat teams from universities across Canada to take home the top prize in the Junior Design category at the Canadian Engineering Competition at Carleton University in Ottawa. A member of the winning team, UNBC Environmental Engineering student Stephanie Doherty, later won one of only 10 3M National Student Fellowships. Doherty, who is from Prince George and who spoke at today’s announcement, was the only student from a British Columbia post-secondary institution to receive this distinction, which honours outstanding student leadership and vision.

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