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Frequently Asked Questions

What is the difference between the Mechatronics Engineering program and the Mechanical Engineering program?

The Mechatronics Engineering program is based on the Mechanical Engineering program, but with about half of the courses in 2nd and 3rd year being taught by the Electrical & Computer Engineering and Systems Design Engineering departments. This has been achieved by replacing some of the more specialized Mechanical courses and reshaping others to provide a Mechatronics focus. Mechatronics students will therefore have a strong background in Mechanical Engineering, with a good working knowledge of Electrical, Computer, and Systems Design Engineering.

What is the difference between the new Mechatronics Engineering program and the existing Mechatronics option?

The Mechatronics Engineering program is a complete 4-year program which has been specifically designed to provide a comprehensive and integrated curriculum. In contrast, the Mechatronics option is available to students in the Mechanical Engineering, Electrical & Computer Engineering, and Systems Design Engineering programs. It requires students to take a specified set of technical electives in their 4th year, and one or two extra courses in addition to their regular course load. It is intended to give students a Mechatronics "flavour" as opposed to the much more comprehensive and integrated program that the Mechatronics Engineering program provides.

What will I take in first year?

Some of the first-year Mechatronics Engineering courses are common with the Mechanical Engineering program, as well as courses that have been tailored specifically for the Mechatronics students. These specialised courses include the 'flagship' course in Mechatronics Engineering which introduces students to the multi-disciplinary design concepts of Mechatronics (including a hands-on mechatronics design project), as well as courses in engineering materials, statics, electric circuits, and a second course in computer programming. Courses that are common with the Mechanical Engineering program include Chemistry, Linear Algebra, Calculus and a first course in computer programming.

What kind of workload can I expect in first year?

In 1A, there will be 30 hours a week of lectures, labs, and tutorials. Some first year courses will review high school material, but this will be covered at a faster pace and in more depth than at high school. You should also expect to spend about 30 hours per week on homework.

What are the grade cut-offs to get into Mechatronics Engineering?

While there is no pre-definined cut-off to get into the Mechatronics Engineering program (as with all engineering programs), the program attracted high calibre students in its first two years and the average admission grade has been over 90%. However, we also consider other factors such as your hobbies and interests that you should tell us about on the Admission Information Form that we will send you when we receive your application. Admission grades are also affected by the number of applicants.

How does the co-op system work for Mechatronics students?

The first co-op work term starts in January, immediately following the 1A academic term. During the 1A term, Mechatronics Engineering students are enrolled in a seminar series, Co-op 101. The focus of this seminar series to provide first year students with an indepth understanding of how the Co-op system works at the University of Waterloo, as well as providing them with interview skills, including resume writing. In September / October, jobs available for the Winter workterm are posted. You select jobs that you are interested in, and send your resume to those employers. Employers pre-screen the applications they receive, and usually come on campus to interview the students they are most interested in. Salary is negotiated between the employer and the student. If all goes well, the student will receive an offer of employment. Students who are not successful in the first round of interviews get to apply again later in the term. Following the first workterm, you will come back on campus in May to start the 1B academic term. Workterms will then alternate with academic terms until you reach 4th year.

How long does it take to complete the program?

It will typically take 4 2/3 years (14 terms) to complete the Mechatronics Engineering program - the same as the other Engineering programs. Mechatronics Engineering is a co-op program, which means that you will be continually alternating between workterms and academic terms from first year to fourth year. This will entail 6 workterms and 8 academic terms between 1A and 4B. The minimum requirement is that you successfully complete 5 workterms, 8 academic terms, and 4 work-term reports.

Is Mechatronics Engineering an accredited program?

The Mechatronics Engineering program has been officially accredited in 2008. Graduates are eligible to apply for registration as Professional Engineers.

What are some potential career opportunities once I graduate?

Mechatronics Engineers design and develop automation solutions for manufacturing, automotive, aerospace, and automation companies. With their broad engineering knowledge base, they tend to hold technical design and decision-making positions, often overseeing or playing a central role in engineering design teams.

What kind of co-op jobs might I get?

Mechatronics program students can expect jobs in a range of industries. As indicated above under "How does the co-op system work...", students are free to apply to fairly well any of the posted jobs, and so there is no real category of jobs to which you are restricted, although jobs in an engineering field are encouraged.

Past jobs held by Mechatronics Engineering students:

XEROX Research Centre of Canada - Student Research Assistant

TOYOTA Motor Manufacturing Canada Inc - Ergonomics Specialist

HONEYWELL Consumer Products Group - Electrical Engineering