Queen’s engineering announces bridge program with colleges

Last Updated on March 13, 2023 by Owen Fullerton, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter

Queen’s is launching a pathway that will make it easier for college engineering technology students to integrate into the university’s engineering program.

The university announced that pathway agreements were being finalized with Algonquin, Cambrian, Mohawk, Seneca and St. Lawrence College on Thursday.

Students in engineering technology programs at these schools will be able to begin additional studies in their final year and the summer following, allowing them to bridge into full-time upper year studies at Queen’s in either civil engineering or mining.

Someone thinking about a career in engineering can now start that journey at SLC and finish at Queen’s in as little as a five year period, depending on course selection and timetabling.

Brian Frank, the Dupont Chair in Engineering Education Research and Development at Queen’s, says college students normally leave their program with enough applicable credits to knock off about a year’s worth of courses.

The problem is, however, those courses can be from years one, two, or three at Queen’s, whose engineering program is built in a very linear way.

Frank says the college course lacks the theoretical and mathematical knowledge required for upper years of engineering, and this pathway addresses that gap more efficiently.

“We’ve designed this bridging program such that the students have the best chance of getting into the third year of our programs generally with most of the prerequisites they need,” Frank said.

“Instead of taking 6 or 7 semesters they can do it in fewer semesters. So it saves them time and it saves them money.”

This pathway also doesn’t weigh high school transcripts, so any student in the college programs who may not have had enough university level credits coming out of high school will still be able to access the bridging course.

“So we’ve done some mapping back to the high school curriculum and to the technology program curriculum,” Frank said.

“We’ve actually designed it as such so we don’t need to worry about the high school credits.”

Frank says the students coming in from college will complement those coming directly from school, and says that there is work being done on pathways specifically for Indigenous students as well as a push to draw more women to the course.

He says the pathway will help diversify their student population overall.

“For us it’s an opportunity to take in a broader set of students that better reflects general society,” Frank said.

SLC CEO and President Glenn Vollebregt said the school is excited for the expanded opportunity available to Civil Engineering Technology students.

He says students will benefit from this pathway by overall paying less in tuition and experience the practical side of engineering first.

The process will involve a college student starting the bridge program after year 2 of 3 in college, during that summer they will complete calculus and linear algebra bridging courses at Queen’s, and then complete the third year of their program and be admitted into Queen’s the following fall.

Vollebregt says he hopes more similar bridges can follow in this one’s footsteps.

“I hope more pathways like this will be created to allow all students to pursue any credential they want, including a Master’s degree and PhD’s, while starting that journey at any institution, college or university,” Vollebregt said.

More information about the Queen’s Engineering Bridge program can be found at https://qeng.one/bridge.