Apegga1c.gif (2007 bytes) The PEGG
July, 1999
Page 6 National Survey Finds More Students
Entering Engineering

Enrolment in Canadian undergraduate engineering programs is up for the second straight year, according to a national survey conducted by the Canadian Council of Engineers (CCPE) and released last month.

Reported in the CCPE publication Canadian Engineers for Tomorrow, Trends in Engineering Enrolment and Degrees awarded 1993 to 1997, the survey results show that enrolment in Canadian undergraduate engineering programs increased by two per cent from 1996 to 1997, following a similar increase from 1995 to 1996. A total of 42,920 students were enrolled in engineering programs in Canada in 1997.

"The survey results indicate that engineering is still a popular career choice for young Canadians," said CCPE President and CEO Dan Levert, P.Eng., LL.B . "They are also indicative of the changes taking place within the profession. We’re seeing significant decreases in the numbers of students entering some of the profession’s traditional disciplines, such as civil engineering, which are being offset by increased enrolment in newer disciplines, such as computer engineering."

Undergraduate enrolment in civil engineering declined approximately 26 per cent from 1993 to 1997, from 6,652 students in 1993 to 4,931 students in 1997. Meanwhile, enrolment in computer engineering increased by 106 per cent over the same period, from 2,157 students in 1993 to 4,436 students in 1997.

"Students are considering their future job prospects, and are entering the disciplines that appear to offer the most opportunities for employment," said Mr. Levert. "The numbers of students entering civil engineering could increase dramatically if, for example, the Canadian government launched a program to rebuild Canada’s infrastructure."

CCPE’s survey, which was conducted on its behalf by the Canadian Engineering Human Resources Board, also shows a 10-fold increase in the number of women entering the profession since 1975. In 1997, 8,252 (19.23 per cent) of Canada’s undergraduate engineering students were women, up from 849 students (3.6 per cent) in 1975.

The survey report provides data on recent trends in Canadian undergraduate and graduate engineering enrolment and the number of engineering degrees awarded by several categories.

Forty-one per cent of all students enrolled in undergraduate engineering programs in Canada in 1997 pursued their studies in Ontario, versus 26 per cent in Quebec. Newfoundland, with 627 undergraduate engineering students, had the smallest undergraduate engineering enrolment in Canada in 1997, while foreign students accounted for four per cent of the country’s total undergraduate engineering student population.

"The results are positive, but there is room for improvement," said Mr. Levert. "The number of students entering the profession has increased over the past five years, so the decline in the number of undergraduate engineering degrees awarded in 1997 relative to 1996 should be a short-lived trend."

What’s of more concern is the decline in the total number of undergraduate engineering degrees awarded in Canada relative to the total number of undergraduate degrees awarded in all areas of study over the past several years. Mr. Levert concluded: "As a profession, we may need to increase our efforts to promote engineering as a career choice."

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