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University of Calgary Launches Combined Engineering and Business Degree Program

Left to right: Haskayne School of Business dean Jim Dewald; University of Calgary president and vice-chancellor Elizabeth Cannon; student from the first B.Comm/B.Sc.(Eng) cohort Varun Bhatt; donors Linda, Clayton, Carson and Josh Woitas; second cohort student Dani Currie; and Schulich School of Engineering dean Bill Rosehart. Photo by Kelly Hofer.

University of Calgary students interested in both engineering and business degrees can now have their cake, and eat it too. With the launch in May of a new engineering and business combined degree program, students can obtain both a B.Sc.(Eng) and B.Comm in as little as five years. The first of its kind in Western Canada, the program is the combined effort of the Schulich School of Engineering and the Haskayne School of Business, and was launched with the support of a $5-million gift from Clayton and Linda Woitas and family.

“This city, province and country needs exactly this kind of program and the graduates it will produce,” says Clayton Woitas. “We are thrilled our family can support this program and its students.”

“An excellent education in engineering or business can go a long way, but a program that combines both will provide the best of both worlds,” adds Linda Woitas. “It is an exciting opportunity to be part of this initiative and we wish all students well as they take on this significant challenge.”

Their gift is part of the university’s Energize: the Campaign for Eyes High, uCalgary’s $1.3-billion fundraising drive that formally launched in April 2016. The campaign is more than halfway to its goal. The Woitas family’s gift will specifically support delivery of the combined program in and out of the classroom, program marketing, student recruitment and scholarships.

The first cohort of nine students is enrolled in the program, which has a demanding schedule. “I would highly recommend it, but each student needs to decide if they are ready for the challenge,” says Aster Lau, one of the nine students. “For me it’s been ideal, because I needed to decide between engineering and business, and now I can do both.”

The new program is designed to prepare graduates for a wide range of careers in engineering, business, management and all areas in between. Students will be able to take a mixture of engineering, science, arts and business courses, access student and career services from both the Schulich and Haskayne schools, and apply for an optional 12 to 16 month paid internship with the Engineering Career Centre.

University president and vice-chancellor Elizabeth Cannon says the program responds to the needs of Alberta’s changing economy. “Just as Alberta’s economy is diversifying and growing, so too is the demand for agile, creative problem-solvers who can work across different disciplines. Graduates of this new hybrid program will be equipped with a broad skill set to support their success in a wide range of careers.”

Jim Dewald, dean of the Haskayne School of Business and an engineer with business degrees, says the new program will help future engineers better understand the business side of their projects, while better equipping entrepreneurial-minded innovators to start businesses. “This kind of program is long overdue in a city like Calgary and I am confident these students will make a significant impact in our community,” he says.