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Mechatronics at UW or Engineering Science at UofT??

A photo of jenniiveeve jenniiveeve
Hi, I saw a few posts on mechatronics vs. mechanical at these two schools but my decision is on engsci @ u of t.
I got accepted to both and I'm having a difficult time choosing between both programs/schools.

Can anyone offer advice; what they would choose and why?

Also, is it true EngSci is really difficult? -- from what people have told me, its pretty intimidating.
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A photo of Anonymous Anonymous

@jenniiveeve wrote
Hi, I saw a few posts on mechatronics vs. mechanical at these two schools but my decision is on engsci @ u of t.
I got accepted to both and I'm having a difficult time choosing between both programs/schools.

Can anyone offer advice; what they would choose and why?

Also, is it true EngSci is really difficult? -- from what people have told me, its pretty intimidating.

I can't offer an opinion on UW mech, but I did a term of engsci, and some of it can be quite hard, but I wouldn't call it intimidating. I found some professors pretty inspiring actually (Michael P Collins!!!). The workload can ruin your weekends but it's not unmanageable. What really matters is the material and how it's taught (rather theoretical).

I find that the difficulty of engsci courses in first year tends to be artificially inflated (except in civ102). For example, the first term calculus course bans calculators and makes you do all your exams by hand. All questions are either proofs, or simple questions with ugly numbers. For example, try finding the second derivative of (45x^7 + lnx + sin7x)/(cos((sin4x)) - e^(x^2)). Is there anything conceptually difficult about this question? If you know all your differentiation laws, it's very straightforward. But unless your hand has superhuman speed, it's certainly going to take a while to finish computing, right? And when half the questions are like that, the likelihood of being able to finish the paper isn't very high, right? That's what I mean by how the difficulty is artificially inflated. I could go on and on about how much I hated that course, even though my final mark exceeded 80%.

Another example - the ESC103 physics course has a sadistic marking scheme. If you got the answer right but your method was different from what the professor taught (even if your method is perfectly valid), say goodbye to most of your marks. Hated this course too, even though it was pretty easy conceptually.

As for actually failing an engsci course, that's close to impossible unless you refuse to try and don't hand in your assignments. Anyone who puts in effort can easily score above 60 in all courses.

I left engsci after a semester even though my average was way more than what was required for me to proceed without probation.

I would say that if you aren't sure about what stream of engineering you really want to be in, go for EngSci, it is general everything in the first two years and by the end of Year 1 you should have an idea of what you like (personally, I liked programming, and now I'm in ECE!).

If you're dead set on mech, just go to UW mech. Or U of T mech. The advantage of engsci is that if halfway through you decide you aren't into mech after all, you don't have to do mech as your specialization.
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A photo of tuzzer tuzzer
I would say that the two programs were quite different. It really depends on what you expect your undergraduate education.

When I was in gr.12, I had the exact same decision to be made as well.
I don't know whether I made the better choice for choosing Tron at UW or not and I will never know that because I can't go back in time. But I can tell you that I am happy here in Waterloo.

There were several reasons why I chose Waterloo:

1. I really hated those arrogant ads and statements made by UT, even they were just trying to make those people who got accepted to feel good about themselves

2. I like the environment in University Waterloo. It's not a commuter school and I want to live away from home, but not too far yet (I am from Toronto)

3. I also heard about the people in engsci saying how intense their schooling it is. I prefer spending more time on student teams and on robotics projects. Of course, I know people in UT Engsci who are also very involved in extra-curricular. Just that I thought that I will get more time to do that in UW. And it's true, professors and school encourage us to participate in student teams. And they recently build a new building with two floors dedicated to student teams such as Solar car, alternative fuel cars, robotics, etc. I really learned a lot in both technical skills and management skills from them.

4. I always wanted to go on international exchange. And the exchange office staff in UW was really friendly and answered my questions really well. Also, the exchange programs in UW seemed to be more developed and perhaps fewer requirements before getting accepted into them (such as average requirements, ranking in class, etc.). And here I am, going to Kyoto University for exchange next week.

5. I like the courses in Waterloo better. They are more practical and less science based. Engineering science has the word science in it for a reason. It's great if you are planning to go into the field of engineering that is more based on fundamental science. But I am really more interested in control, automation, system integration, etc. So Mechatronics Engineering gave me a wide set of skills that are actually useful. And if I do decide to go into grad school and go into research, there is nothing stopping me from studying some more sciences.

6. I think you get what you do. Mechatronics Engineering in UW isn't easy. It's still a lot of work. I don't know whether the hours that you need to spend on more or less than Engsci, but I don't think anyone can tell for sure unless you studied both programs. Everyone is different. I know people who worked really hard and taking extra courses in UW, and you get what you studied for. That's because in the work place, it's what you know that matters.

7. Of course, I have to mention to co-op program. I like short 4-months co-op terms. It's true that in longer program like PEY which you work for one company for 16 month, you get more serious responsibility. However, I found being able to try out different fields and worked at different types and size of companies more important. It's really the only time in your life that you can easily do that. In the event that your first work term didn't work out that well, you can get another one next term rather than getting stuck at that job for 16 months. And if you really liked it, you are free to return to the same company.

8. Waterloo has a special program for Mechatronics. Mechatronics isn't just a jumble of electrical, mechanical, and software courses. We are specialized to integrate all these components and we take special mechatronics courses rather than courses from electrical, or mechanical engineering department. On the other hand, Mechatronics is also a very broad field and you will get to meet all kinds of people with different skill sets in the class (people seem to "upgrade" their special skill sets after every coop term as you usually get co-op jobs in the same field again and again). So when design projects time come, you get all kind of talents you needed to build good project such as robots.

Those are just what I thought about when made the decision to choose Mechatronics. Again it depends on what you want to get from the program. Again, Mechatronics Engineering in UW isn't the easiest program in the world either.... so don't think going to Tron is the easy way out.

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