Two faculties, one degree

The Software Engineering program at UNB is the only one of its kind in Atlantic Canada

It was tough for Kieran Lea to choose between faculties at UNB.

Should he study with the faculty of computer science, or with the faculty of engineering?

In the end, he didn’t have to pick just one.

UNB’s software engineering degree program is the only one of its kind in Atlantic Canada. Not only is the program itself unique, but it’s governed by two different faculties.

The program offers students a chance to learn and benefit from both the Faculty of Computer Science and the Faculty of Engineering.

Small class sizes tailored for individual learning

Lea, a third-year student, said its small classes are tailored for individual learning.

“You really get to know everyone else in the program, professors included, and make lots of friends from both faculties. You also learn many different areas since you need to take core courses from both engineering, computer science, and SWE specific courses.”

The nature of the jointly run program also means students are exposed to – and benefit from – two faculties.

“They can use either the Engineering co-op or the Computer Science co-op, they get the use of the resources from both faculties, and they get exposure to perspectives from both computer scientists in respect to software engineering and engineers in respect to software engineering,” said the program’s co-coordinator Dr. Dawn MacIsaac.

Students learn how to program, along with designing and building sound software.

Students program their first system in second year

In their first year, students take three different programming courses and by their second year, they’re programming their first system. Then in fourth year, students work with a client on a “capstone project” to build a product.

“They learn a lot of the hardware so we really tailor our program so that our students could build more than just standalone computer systems, they can build embedded systems as well. They learn a lot of the digital hardware side of things so they know how to integrate software with hardware.”

MacIsaac said they also focus on project management, quality control, and system maintenance – all important tasks when developing and building software.

“You're also left with lots of opportunities after graduation, since you can still get software engineering specific jobs, or computer science programming jobs.”

MacIsaac said that’s part of the beauty of such a comprehensive program.

“You name it, they’re there, in Fredericton for sure. Fredericton is a great hotbed for IT companies.”