Our need to develop innovative engineering programs

According to the engineering labour market projections to 2025 by Engineers Canada, the labour market tightness rank of most engineering disciplines will be about 2. (See, Engineers Canada, Engineering Labour Market in Canada: Projections to 2025, June 2015. Prepared by C4SE.)

This tightness rank implies that a normal market situation will prevail where there will be demand for engineering graduates. Organizations will be able to rely on their traditional methods for obtaining workers. Demand growth will be normal and, while organizations may have to rely on migrants to meet supply, this situation will not be different from what they would have faced in the past.

Table 11 presents the numbers of McMaster Engineering graduates who have been available to fill the National Occupational Classification (NOC) codes identified by Engineers Canada in its labour market projection study. Since not of all our degrees are classified by these codes, the McMaster degrees reported in the table are lower than our actual number of graduates each year.


The table shows that McMaster is a major provider of engineering undergraduates from Ontario. We graduate roughly a fifth of software engineers, half of the materials engineers, just over an eighth of chemical engineers, and about a tenth of electrical engineers in our province. Note, however, that by some estimates, only about a half of all engineers pursue careers within the discipline.

Table 12 shows that the largest demand across Canada over the coming decade will be for civil, mechanical and electrical engineers. More importantly, the data show that the job market for engineers will become more competitive, motivating us to enhance our program offerings to add value to students’ education.


We are already addressing this issue through our renewed focus on experiential and problem-based learning. Another way is by leveraging the unique five-year “and” programs of McMaster Engineering, such as engineering and management, and engineering and society.

A discussion with Health Sciences has resulted in the development of a five-year undergraduate engineering and biomedical program. This program, with an initial intake of fifty new students and about fifty others who are already part of the electrical and biomedical engineering,and chemical and bioengineering programs, will be submitted for consideration by our university this coming Fall term. Then, if appropriate, the proposal will be routed for provincial approval so that students can be recruited to McMaster Engineering for Fall 2017.

A special feature of this program will be a Level 1 emphasis on integrated learning where, rather than lecture-based instruction, students will be asked to solve engineering programs.

A second effort to develop a similar undergraduate engineering and (interdisciplinary) smart systems program that includes integrated learning is underway in the Faculty. If successful, the discussion could result in a proposal to establish the program for student entry in Fall 2018.

McMaster Engineering is proactive in thinking about our students’ futures.

What do you think about developing new innovative engineering programs? This poll will be open for a week.

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