Global Perspective

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For generations, U of T Engineering students have proudly displayed patches reading ‘E4TW’ on the arms of their Skule™ leather jackets. But what does it mean to be an “engineer for the world”?

The practice of engineering transcends borders. Successful engineering leaders are well versed in the social, economic and cultural contexts in which their innovations will be applied. It is equally important for engineering teams to include voices and perspectives from around the globe, both to strengthen creativity and to ensure that technological solutions truly address the needs of local populations.

For this reason, U of T Engineering and the broader University have created a wide range of ways for you to experience the world, both on and off campus. Concurrently, ISTEP works with partners across the Faculty to embed global context into your engineering courses and overall student experience.


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Undergraduate Programming | Graduate Programming | Additional Opportunities

"We can all benefit by sharing viewpoints and information among the world's many societies. Being open to understanding others' experiences helped me be a better engineering." — Christopher Alexiev

Two students standing on a boat in Thailand
Christopher Alexiev (right) conducted research at the National University of Singapore through the Engineering Science Research Opportunities Program.

Take the E4TW Challenge!

Our Dean Christopher Yip is challenging every U of T Engineering student to gain at least one global engineering experience before graduation — whether you go abroad or have an intercultural experience on campus. Below are some of the ways you can integrate global experience into your engineering education.

Students meet with Dean Chris Yip in the Myhal Centre Fabrication Facility
Dean Yip (centre) with four 2019 Pearson Scholars. From left: Santiago Gomez Montenegro, Urvi Verkhedkar, Jose Pablo Siliezar Carillo and Silvia Lopez Portillo.

Programming for Engineering Undergraduates

Students in Cambodia
As part of their MIE capstone course and working with World Vision, Rachel Mandel, Manjot Atwal, Michael Bento and Jeremy Miranda designed an inexpensive solar device to dehydrate crickets quickly, enabling Cambodian farmers to export the food source reliably.

Certificate in Global Engineering

Take three courses from a dedicated list to earn the undergraduate certificate in Global Engineering. Course options focus on a variety of concepts such as effects of emerging technologies in both developed and developing economies, global energy systems, innovative finance techniques, current theories in international development and foreign aid. All undergraduate engineering students are eligible to participate in this certificate.

U of T Engineering Courses

U of T Engineering is proud to offer a wide range of academic courses that have a strong global focus. While some courses involve travel as a part of the intercultural experience, others take place in our globally diverse classrooms.

  • APS 299Y – Summer Research Abroad: This research-based summer course is for undergraduates in the Core 8 engineering programs. Depending on the nature of the research project, this course may count toward your engineering program, an engineering minor or certificate.
  • APS 420H – Technology, Engineering and Global Development: This joint graduate-undergraduate course explores a broad range of topics centered around the role of technology and engineering in global development.
  • APS 530H – Appropriate Technology & Design for Global Development: Open to undergraduate and graduate engineering students, this course focuses on designing technology to aid in global development.
  • Global-themed capstone design courses: Capstone design projects are a highlight of the fourth-year engineering student experience. While many capstone projects focus on a particular industry challenge or local client need, some opportunities take student teams well beyond the walls of campus. Some of these include: 
    • The Centre for Global Engineering offers capstone design projects with a global development focus. Projects take place all over the world, from Nicaragua to Kenya. In all cases, students work in small teams and are paired with a company, NGO or aid organization to address a specific challenge.
    • Offered through the Institute for Multidisciplinary Design & Innovation, APS 490 is open to all engineering undergraduates in fourth year. Multidisciplinary teams tackle industry-sponsored challenges, including those faced by global brands.
    • Students in MIE 490/491 can participate in a range of capstone projects, including ones that are international in nature. These projects involve partners from Peking University and Shanghai Jiao Tong University.
    • Fourth-year CivMin students in CIV 498 choose from a range of projects, including a few that focus on global issues.

Professional Experience Year Co-op Program

Did you know that 10% of PEY Co-op work opportunities are located outside of Canada? This paid work experience program will give you a leg up professionally while working for a company for 12 to 16 months. Last year, 85 engineering students worked at companies abroad while earning competitive salaries and building impressive global networks.

Engineering Exchange Pathways

Earn engineering credits while studying abroad for a term (fall, winter or summer) or a full year. Many departments have pre-approved transfer credit pathways established with partner universities to make the process seamless. Check with your department for details.

Engineering Science Research Opportunities Program – Global

This program offers EngSci students who are completing first or second year the opportunity to work on international research-based collaborations over the summer. Global partners include Chinese University in Hong Kong, Max Planck Institute at the University of Hamburg, National University of Singapore and Osaka University, to name a few.

CGEN/E4C Fellowships

Open to undergraduate, graduate students and recent alumni of U of T Engineering, fellows conduct targeted research in a sector of their choosing — from energy to health care to ICT. This fellowship is a collaboration between the Centre for Global Engineering (CGEN) and Engineering For Change (E4C).

Undergraduate Summer Research Exchange

Administered through the  Centre for International Experience this program is a fantastic way to gain engineering research experience abroad at world-class institutions like Lund University in Sweden and Chinese University of Hong Kong. Funding to cover basic costs are available for all successful applicants.

International Virtual Engineering Student Teams (InVEST) Project

InVEST is a new U of T Engineering initiative that brings together engineering students from U of T and partner universities around the world to work collaboratively on a research or design question of mutual interest. This opportunity is open to senior undergraduates and graduate students. Visit the InVEST website for details.

More global experiences for U of T undergrads

Visit U of T’s Learning Abroad website for a comprehensive listing of opportunities. You can sort your search by length of opportunity, country of interest and your area of study.

Programming and Opportunities for Engineering Graduate Students

International Research Opportunities

Many MASc and PhD students leverage U of T Engineering’s academic agreements with partner universities worldwide to conduct research abroad. If you have an interest in an international research opportunity, please consult your supervisor.

MEng emphasis in Engineering & Globalization

Offered through the Centre for Global Engineering, this emphasis allows MEng students to complete four half-credits from two groupings of courses that address evolving technological challenges in an increasingly global society.

U of T Engineering courses

Across our departments, centres and institutes, U of T Engineering offers a rich assortment of globally focused courses for graduate students, including:

  • APS 1020H – International Business for Engineers: Learn the basics of growing businesses and entering foreign markets. This course provides an introduction to global entrepreneurship, global strategy management and corporate social responsibility within a global context. This course can be counted toward the MEng emphasis in Engineering & Globalization. 
  • APS 420H – Technology, Engineering and Global Development: This joint graduate-undergraduate course explores a broad range of topics centered around the role of technology and engineering in global development. This course can count toward the MEng ELITE certificate or the MEng emphasis in in Engineering & Globalization. 
  • APS 510H – Innovative Technologies and Organizations in Global Energy Systems: This course examines a broad range of global energy systems in the context of developed economies, rapidly developing economies, and the developing world. This course can count toward the MEng ELITE certificate or the MEng emphasis in Engineering & Globalization. 
  • APS 530H – Appropriate Technology & Design for Global Development: Open to undergraduate and graduate engineering students, this course focuses on designing technology to aid in global development. This course can count toward the MEng emphasis in Engineering & Globalization.

Centre for Global Engineering Scholarships

CGEN is pleased to offer scholarships for U of T Engineering graduate students whose work focuses on addressing a global engineering challenge. These include the Paul Cadario Doctoral Fellowship in Global Engineering and the Metcalfe Family Graduate Fellowship for Sustainable Energy Research.

CGEN/E4C Fellowships

Open to undergraduate, graduate students and recent alumni of U of T Engineering, CGEN/E4C fellows will conduct targeted research in a sector of their choosing — from energy to health care to ICT. This fellowship is a partnership between the Centre for Global Engineering (CGEN) and Engineering For Change (E4C).

International Virtual Engineering Student Teams (InVEST) Project

InVEST is a new U of T Engineering initiative that brings together engineering students from U of T and partner universities around the world to work collaboratively on a research or design question of mutual interest. This opportunity is open to senior undergraduates and graduate students. Visit the InVEST website for details.

School of Graduate Studies Travel & Conference Awards

U of T’s School of Graduate Studies offers several funding opportunities and awards for graduate students interested in traveling abroad within the context of their studies. Visit the SGS website for details.

More global experiences for U of T graduate students

Visit the “Graduate Experiences” section of U of T’s Learning Abroad website for details on additional opportunities open to graduate students, including an exchange at the Technical University of Munich in Germany, an internship at Tata in India or an summer placement at NASA in the USA.

Additional Opportunities to Gain Global Perspective

Students walking on a bridge in Bolivia
In summer 2018, the U of T Engineers in Action student organization constructed a 64-metre suspended footbridge over the Gonchu Mayu River in Bolivia.

Student Clubs and Teams

Many student-led clubs and teams at U of T Engineering have a global focus. Joining such groups can offer a wonderful way to meet like-minded students, participate in local and international development projects and learn from professionals applying their engineering expertise in a global context. Some of these clubs and teams include:

  • Engineers Without Borders
  • Engineers in Action
  • Engineering World Health – U of T

 

Several engineering design teams also compete abroad, including:

  • aUToronto
  • Blue Sky Solar Racing
  • Carbon Cutting Racers
  • Human Powered Vehicles Design Team

Involvement in student club opportunities often counts toward the Co-curricular Record (CCR). For more information on how to get involved, visit the Engineering Society website or ULife online.

Arts & Science Courses

One of the best things about studying at U of T is having unparalleled access to an incredible range of courses. Across the University, you’ll find a rich diversity of courses that examine varying aspects of global issues — from social inequality to politics to international relations. Below is a sampling of undergraduate courses that also count toward the undergraduate Global Engineering certificate:

  • GGR 112H – Geographies and Globalization, Development and Inequality
  • ANT 204H – Anthropology of the Contemporary World
  • ENV 333H – Ecological Worldviews
  • JGI 216H – Globalization and Urban Change
  • POL 201Y – Politics of Development: Issues and Controversies
  • POL 208Y – Introduction to International Relations
  • CDN 268H – Canada and Globalization

Hart House Global Commons

This unique initiative facilitates dialogue about the climate crisis between students through in-person and virtual meet ups. Students participate directly from Canada, Columbia, France, South Africa and the USA. Join for an opportunity to share stories and listen to how students around the world are experiencing and responding to climate change.

Centre for International Experience

This University-wide centre offers a wide range of intercultural learning programs and opportunities for undergraduate and graduate students across U of T. These include iConnect Mentorship Program, Intercultural Learning Program and Language Exchange.

Mitacs Globalink

Mitacs is a not-for-profit organization that delivers research and training programs in partnership with Canadian industry, academia and government. Mitacs Globalink initiatives offer two-way mobility between Canada and other partners wordwide. Visit the Mitacs site for programming and award application details.

© 2020 Faculty of Applied Science & Engineering