What can you do with a degree in Knowledge Integration (KI) from the University of Waterloo, you ask? A better question is: what can’t you do?
The first program of its kind in North America, KI is designed to give students the flexibility to pursue their own unique interests and career goals, while also providing foundational knowledge across the arts and sciences and skills in problem-solving and design thinking — skills that will serve them well in any field or career path.
Meet three KI graduates and learn how they’ve taken advantage of this multi-disciplinary program. While they’re each on different paths now, all share a curiosity about the world and a true passion for knowledge and learning.
Get to know our grads
Interested in pursuing a career in medicine and public health, Alex focused her thesis topic on exploring how knowledge-sharing between doctors and patients affects trust for Canadians living with multiple sclerosis.
Extra-curricular activities: volunteering at St Mary’s Hospital in the day surgery department and at Pride Stables, a therapeutic riding program for kids with disabilities.
Interesting project: For her Real World Problem-Solving course, Alex helped develop a conversation toolbox, website and community resources to facilitate intergenerational conversations among immigrant families.
Post-grad path: Alex recently completed a medical degree from the Michael G. DeGroote School of Medicine at McMaster University, and is in-training to become a rural family doctor in Collingwood, Ontario.
KI provides an incredible base for whatever realm you want to problem-solve in. The curriculum will challenge you, broaden your perspectives and let you explore all of your interests, not force you to choose. The true beauty of KI is the well-rounded, articulate, numerate and empathetic students it produces. I think the secret is that everyone is a KI student... they just don't know it yet!
Andrew chose to explore several intersecting subjects including management, communication, policy, and law, and also added minors in English and Philosophy to his degree.
Extra-curricular activities: active in student government and other governance-related activities across campus
Interesting project: For his third-year Museum Course project, Andrew was part of a group that designed an exhibit called “Trust me, I’m a …” exploring the idea of why we trust and how trust relationships shape interactions with everyday objects. It encouraged viewers to think critically about how and by whom trust is manufactured and broken. After the KI student exhibition on campus, Andrew’s exhibit was selected to be displayed at THEMUSEUM in Kitchener for three months.
Post-grad path: Andrew is pursuing a law degree at McGill University.
Interested in user experience design and interdisciplinary collaboration, Akanksha added a Collaborative Design specialization and Cognitive Science minor to her Knowledge Integration degree.
Extra-curricular activities: working as a Design Research Intern at Overlap Associates, a qualitative research and strategy consultancy studio that uses design thinking to bring empathy into organizations
Interesting project: Part of a two-year collaboration with two other KI students and one professor, Akanksha helped design a workshop series called UW Collaborates, teaching theories and practice of teamwork skills. The workshop has been offered to students and instructors across Waterloo campus.
Post-grad path: Akanksha is building her portfolio to prepare for a Master of Design program.
Chart your course with KI
When Andrew, Alex and Akanksha were asked to describe their program, they turned to one of their signature KI tools for expressing ideas: the mind map. Their mind map shows just how much flexibility Knowledge Integration offers, with students studying a wide range of topics including arts, sciences, philosophy, environmental sciences, user experience design, computer science and much more. By studying a variety of disciplines and developing a core set of skills like problem solving, collaboration and critical thinking, Andrew, Alex and Akanksha are prepared to enter a fast-changing workforce after graduation.