Dean of Engineering Office
Carl A. Pollock Hall (CPH) 4301
519-888-4567 ext. 32718
Thanks for visiting the WatPD-Engineering FAQ page. This page focuses on questions specific to WatPD-Engineering; if you're looking for information about WatPD in general or the program's operation, visit the larger FAQ page on the WatPD website.
You're also welcome to contact a representative of WatPD or WatPD-Engineering with your questions.
When was WatPD-Engineering created?
WatPD-Engineering was created in 2011 to replace PDEng, an earlier professional development program for Engineering students. Creating WatPD-Engineering allowed the faculty of Engineering to retain oversight over its students’ professional development while entrusting WatPD with the operation and improvement of PD courses.
Why do Engineering students need to develop their professional skills?
Professional skills are a crucial component of workplace success, even in fields and disciplines defined by a high degree of technical acumen. You may need coding and calculus skills to be considered for positions, but your ability to communicate, work in teams, and reflect on your performance is what will set you apart from your peers for the rest of your career.
It’s easy to find articles, studies, and surveys that assert the value of professional skills. A 2013 survey by the Business Council of Canada (formerly the Canadian Council of Chief Executives) found that relationship skills, communication, problem solving, and leadership are all top priorities when executives evaluate potential entry-level hires. When LinkedIn talked to Canadian hiring managers for their 2016 Soft Skills Report, 61% felt like the lack of soft skills among candidates limits their organizations’ productivity. New reports and research mirroring these results are published on a regular basis.
There’s also plenty of evidence that these conclusions hold true for Waterloo Engineering students. When graduating students were asked about the skills and attributes they wished they had when looking for a permanent job, nearly half of students responded that they wanted better professional skills. And when Engineering co-op employers were asked about the importance of soft skills, a large majority said that such skills are “more important” or “just as important” as technical skills.
If you’re interested in reviewing more data about the importance of professional skills or want to learn more about the sources mentioned above, please contact us.
How is WatPD-Engineering different from the WatPD program completed by other faculties?
Engineering students take different core PD courses than students in other faculties, but take the same elective courses. Instead of participating in the WatPD program, Engineering students complete the WatPD-Engineering program, a subset of the Faculty of Engineering with its own Academic Director and Curriculum Committee. WatPD runs the WatPD-Engineering program on behalf of the faculty.
While many aspects of the programs overlap, the core courses that make up WatPD-Engineering are specific to Engineering students.
How many PD courses do I need to take to complete my PD requirements?
Engineering students need to complete five PD courses, all of which are completed during their work terms. For more information about the specific courses you’ll need to take, visit the program information page.
Do I have to take PD courses in a certain order?
Engineering students take PD20: Engineering Workplace Skills I: Developing Reasoned Conclusions during their first work term and PD21: Engineering Workplace Skills II: Developing Effective Plans during their second work term. Once they’ve completed these courses, students can choose an elective course to take each work term until their PD requirements have been fulfilled.1
1 Students who enter Software Engineering (SE) in the Fall 2016 term or later are auto-enrolled in PD10: Professional Responsibility in Computing as one of their three elective courses. Visit the PD10 course page to learn more.
How do I register for PD courses?
If you’re following your program’s sequencing as outlined in its section of the undergraduate calendar, you should be automatically enrolled in your first two PD courses the first time you take said courses. Engineering students will be enrolled in PD20 and PD21 during their first and second work terms, respectively.
Once you complete your compulsory PD courses, you have to start enrolling yourself in elective courses. You can pick and sign up for elective PD courses using Quest, and the process is similar to the one used for enrolling in other academic courses. You’ll also need to enrol yourself using Quest if you need to repeat any of your core PD courses (PD20 and/or PD21).
If you have questions or issues regarding registration, you should contact your academic program advisor.
Why am I receiving an error when trying to enrol in a PD course?
There may be several reasons why you’re receiving an error when trying to enrol in a PD course. These are the two most common:
- You might be attempting to enrol in the incorrect section of a course. Each PD course section is associated with particular reserves, and you’ll receive an error if you try to enrol in a section that doesn’t apply to you or has closed. You can see the reserves and check the open/closed status of each section by searching the Schedule of Classes.
- You won’t be able to enrol in any classes if you have a fee hold and/or academic hold on your account. You can view your hold status by logging into your Quest account. If you’re inquiring about a fee hold, contact the Student Financial Services office; if you’re inquiring about an academic hold, contact your academic advisor.
If you’re receiving an error that isn’t related to the issues above and you’re enrolling during a valid enrolment period, please contact the WatPD office with your full name, ID number, and a detailed inquiry. We’ll do our best to investigate the issue.
Are failed PD courses added to my fail count?
Yes. If you fail a PD course, it'll be added to your fail count just like a failed academic course.
Is WatPD-Engineering related to my work reports?
WatPD-Engineering isn’t connected to the work reports you need to complete. The skills you’ll develop as you complete WatPD-Engineering may help you write more thorough and engaging reports, but your performance in PD courses has nothing to do with your work report submissions or the grades you receive (and vice-versa).