top of page


At a Glance


Hi there! My name is Kara and I am in the Engineering faculty pursuing a degree in Civil Engineering. 


I chose to pursue a degree in Engineering because I enjoy problem solving and science and I knew that this program would offer me a challenge which I was never really presented with in high school. I also wanted a degree which I knew would be useful and would allow for me to be successful after I graduate. From my understanding, most engineering students also enter engineering for similar reasons. I like that people with engineering degrees have the opportunity to work in a variety of different jobs and have lots of opportunity to advance in whichever engineering specialty that they should choose.

The reason that I chose to attend Western’s Engineering program as opposed to the other schools that I applied and was accepted to is that Western offers a dual degree with an Engineering degree and an HBA from Ivey which I want to pursue. Even if you do not wish to pursue a business degree, one of the prerequisite courses first year engineering students must take is a full year business course which I believe is unparalleled to other universities and provides extra knowledge that will allow engineering students to succeed in the “real world”. Western also at the moment has the best civil engineering program in Canada and due to me wishing to pursue civil engineering, that attracted me to this program at this school.

Additionally, Western engineering is a community with the belief that engineering is a team sport. The supportive atmosphere and the common goal of wanting to succeed makes every student in this program feel welcome. There are a variety of clubs to join and conferences offered to engineering students of all years and specialties. This program is special because of the community atmosphere within and outside of the classroom. 


For first year engineering at Western, you unfortunately get no options and are overloaded with seven courses a semester. This is standardized and therefore every engineering student in first year will take the same courses.


Screen Shot 2020-04-30 at 12.54.53


I found this course to be one of my easier courses in first year engineering. It is a half year course (one semester/ 0.5 credit) and introduces engineering students to matrices and how to use them to solve a variety of engineering problems. MATLAB is also introduced in this course. If you do the practice problems for this course then you should pass it with flying colours. I also found that the tutorials and TAs were extremely helpful so if you have any issues with course content I’d recommend reaching out to them. 


I believe that this course was one of my most useful first year classes. It is full year and is in affiliation with the Ivey School of Business. Course content is basically the same as Business 1220 which is the business course that BMOS students have the option to take in first year. This course is mandatory for engineering students but is different than every other class they have. This course encourages participation and allows for students to grow their communication skills and back their arguments. It is also a case study course where students read a real life case prior to coming to class and then disputes how they think the individual in the case should proceed with business. This course allowed me to be exposed to business and develop my critical thinking skills. 

This course is also basically the prerequisite (although it isn’t actually mandatory for students who aren’t in engineering) for Business 2257 which every student applying to Ivey needs to take. If you want to do well in this course, come prepared by at least reading the cases. First year engineering is busy and therefore sometimes individuals will neglect to read the cases due to them not being prioritized. The lecturers in this course will cold call and it is recorded when you speak to make up your participation mark therefore reading the cases is much more valuable than you think. You will also learn much more when you know what your lecturer is talking about.


This course is a full year course but it is only worth 0.5 credits (I am unsure as to why). This is a civil engineering course and the professors in this course are some of the best I’ve ever had. It is very important to attend the lectures and the tutorials for this course because the lecture allows for you to do practice problems with the profs and the tutorials have both tests and mastering engineering assignments that can extremely help you grade. Lectures will also sometimes have learning catalytics that record your presence for that day so be sure to attend class. I also recommend doing all of the practice problems for this course because similar ones will arise on tests and exams and except for the final, all tests and exams are show your work long answer questions.

PHYSICS 1401/1402

Physics is most definitely one of the more difficult courses in first year. This is usually because students neglect to do all of the practice problems thinking that they understand the content and then they discover that they don’t know everything on the exam. Physics 1401 is in first semester and 1402 is in second semester. 1402 is most definitely the most difficult of the physics courses. Physics courses also have labs which are pass/ fail and therefore they should definitely be attended because they are easy marks if you do the work. Attending the tutorials is also important because there are quizzes in them and the TAs go over content prior to the quizzes which helps in understanding. 


Screen Shot 2020-04-30 at 12.55.04


This is a full year (1 credit) first year engineering calculus course. This course is considered to be one of the more difficult first year engineering courses and I would recommend attending every lecture to ensure that you stay on top of course content because it moves fast. This is also one of the courses where I highly recommend doing all of the recommended problems because similar ones usually will pop up on the quizzes as well as the exams. The grades for this course are heavily reliant on the midterm and final exams so it is important to do well on them.

CHEM 1302A

This course is a half year course that is introductory to chemistry. There is a lab component to this course where you must attend the labs to pass the course. If you have this course in first semester, you will only be with other engineering students but if you have it second semester, you may also be with med sci, health sci, or other students. This is because they have to take Chem 1301 which engineering students are not required to take. I found this course overall to be fair. Doing the practice problems in the workbook and going to class also helped me to be successful. 


Based on my experience in this course, it is one of the hardest first year courses because it's all new content that students will not have seen before. The course itself is actually very interesting. It is just very important to attend class and do the practice problems to ensure that you are ready for the tests and exams. This is also a half year course and I found as a result of studying for all the quizzes, I felt prepared for the midterms as well as the final exam. 


This is a half year course where students are exposed to programming and learning how to code using Java. There are labs and quizzes associated with this course so practicing coding using eclipse or jdoodle will definitely help you with those. Programming isn’t for everybody and therefore some need more practice than others but practice makes perfect!


This is a full year design course where the course is entirely project based and you are put in teams to do this. The course seems to change yearly but for me I had two smaller projects at the beginning of the year and then a final project where my team was paired with a client in the community. This project was worth about 50% of my grade and ends with a showcase of every team showcasing their prototypes. This is a demanding course with lots of assignments and work and although you may sometimes feel like they aren’t worth doing or the lectures aren’t worth attending, I promise they are worth it because they can add up and make a difference in your grade (but skipping one will not be the end-all-be-all). 


Campus Map



1151 Richmond St, London, ON N6A 5B7


1151 Richmond St, London, ON


1151 Richmond St, London, ON N6A 2K5


Ivey Building


Davinci’s cafe in SEB

Perth Hall Fireside Lounge



"Mustknows" for courses at UWO


Used Textbooks​​

UWO Class of 2024

Your Residence one


Useful to teach you topics that you didn’t understand in class in simple terms


​Although they may seem busy sometimes, your fac sophs are there to help you. In my year, the sophs took time out of their schedules to provide us with midterm  prep.



In all honesty, first year engineering is not a walk in the park but it is not due to the difficulty in the content, you are smart enough to learn that. Usually people struggle due to the lack of time and poor time management skills. We are told at the beginning of the year that for every hour in class, you should be doing an hour of work outside of class. Don’t let that intimidate you.  What is important is prioritizing, putting in work, and finding friends to work in teams to ensure that everyone understands in certain courses has friends to reach out to for help. I promise that first year will be much more difficult if you try to do it alone. 

In this program, it is also important to prioritize yourself and having a social life. Get sleep, eat healthy, and take time to join clubs around campus because I promise that you will be better for it. If you feel like you’re struggling, don’t be ashamed to ask for help. Your peers are there to help you not to compete with you. Engineering is a family and there are numerous resources that you can reach out to in the faculty and just on campus if you are in need of help. 

I have friends who excelled in first year engineering and they are varsity athletes and I was able to join multiple clubs and intramurals whilst still balancing my studies. It is all about dedication and putting in the effort to make what you want happen. Most importantly… have fun! First year is a blast so be sure to not miss out on all the activities that Western has to offer because you may regret it later.


I hope that by sharing my own experiences,  you’ve learned more about Engineering at Western and can better decide if it’s the right program for you. If you have any more questions, please don't hesitate to ask them on the forum or book a one-on-one. If you have any questions pertaining to my first year experience specifically, shoot me an email at

bottom of page