Student experience

ubc research student

Students, faculty and staff all contribute to and benefit from the strong community in the department.

Just the right size

“I truly enjoyed my undergraduate experience at UBC. The Materials Engineering Department is small enough that you really get to know your peers and professors. That provides an amazing environment.”

– Jana Haggins

We enjoy many benefits from being just the right size.  With 17 faculty, about 150 undergraduates, 100 graduate students and 40 staff everyone gets to know each other.  Class sizes are small and faculty have an open-door policy so you can get support when you need it and help in achieving your goals.

Social events throughout the year bring faculty and students together outside the classroom too, for special events or just for fun and there is an active student club.

“I truly appreciated my experience as a Materials Engineering student. Smaller, more intimate class sizes made it easier to interact with other students as well as professors…I had so much fun and I ended up with a job offer before starting my final year!”

– Darren Bromley

Community spirit

The department is active in the wider community with students and faculty involved in activities and teams across engineering, the university and beyond.

Activities our students have been involved in include:

  • Go Global (taking courses at another university for credit in MTRL)
  • Engineers without Borders
  • Formula SAE Team
  • EUS (Engineering Undergraduate Society)
  • Local ASM chapter
  • TMS meeting in San Francisco
  • Co-op (domestic and international)


Our faculty work with industry partners so they have strong connections that you can benefit from – in preparation for your career, in Co-op opportunities and in getting started once you graduate.

Many alumni stay in touch with the Department, socially and professionally and students have opportunity to network with them.  A recent networking event brought together alumni and students for a fun and informative evening.

“I gained enormously from my experiences at UBC. I made lifelong friends, industrial contacts, and ended up with an exciting and very well-paying job.”

– Evan Lu


We asked both students and graduates why they chose Materials Engineering at UBC, and what they particularly enjoy about the department. Here is what they told us:

“Materials opens the door to lots of engineering industries. You need materials engineering for everything. I think it gives the widest range of options and you can branch into other things.

I have particularly liked the small department. It is a close knit group. You get to know your professors. These things really make a difference in such a large university”

Grace, final-year student

“To me, Materials is the leading edge in what’s going on in engineering right now. Aerospace, biotechnology – the basis is really materials. ”

“I really enjoy the close interaction between faculty and students.  You really interact and get to know everyone and I find that very helpful for my education.”

Adam, 2nd-year student

“I was studying chemical engineering but wanted to know about materials and what to use them for. It overlaps chemical and mechanical engineering.

I have good friends in the department. I love group studying, the amazing facilities and helpful profs. And for me, it is great to have the opportunity to study biomaterials.”

Shima, 3rd-year student

“I was always interested in how things were made, and why certain materials were used.  Being involved in snowboarding, I would wonder why my equipment was made out of certain material or combination of materials.  Why could a single material not do it all?

I’ve particularly enjoyed the smaller department. I have been able to meet a lot of faculty, and got to know classmates much better than I ever expected. Participating in field trips and working in small groups led by professors has been a great experience for me and I would not trade for anything.”

Matthew, final-year student

“I took the case studies class in first year and thought Materials was the most interesting. It was a good introduction to how materials are made and why they fail. Everywhere you look, there are materials.

The class field trips were really fun. We went on tours of different companies, got to know our classmates more and what kind of work we could be doing when we finish our studies.”

Millie, final-year student

“I enrolled into UBC graduate school in Materials Engineering, after obtaining my bachelor’s in Mechanical Engineering in Europe. My interest in materials engineering was particularly inspired by a design project on high temperature and pressure electrochemical cell for corrosion studies I handled for the department under the supervision of Prof. Edouard Asselin. After the mechanical aspect of the project was completed, I was fascinated and challenged to study the electrochemical aspect, hence my enrolment in the program.

There are so many things I enjoy in the department, among which are: pace of learning, professor-student interaction, the students are free to air their views and ask questions. Social events add to this and you get to know both faculty and students.  The multicultural nature of the department makes the discussions and making new friends interesting.”

Chinedu, master’s student

“I was recruited at one of the open houses. I chose Materials because of the possibilities – I saw engine parts, ballistic vests, cars, energy related products and so on. You can basically do anything, it is very versatile.

I particularly like two things: Firstly, the department is very small, people are close together and you get to know everyone in the class as well as the professors.  There is a good student life and the field trips are great.  Secondly, the career possibilities.  You can do pretty much anything; go into lots of different industries.  The training is great in the department too, both technical and practical, with lots of opportunities to communicate and present.”

Victor, master’s student

“I truly enjoyed my undergraduate experience at UBC. The materials engineering department is small enough that you really get to know your peers and professors. That provides an amazing environment for learning because you can combine fun with your friends with productivity on group projects (e.g. Building a jet engine and designing a Geckobot!).”

Jana, graduated

“I truly appreciated my experience as a Materials Engineering student. Smaller, more intimate class sizes made it easier to interact with other students as well as professors. I had so much fun and I ended up with a job offer before starting my final year!”

Darren, graduated

“I  chose Materials Engineering because it is a really broad field with lots of options for my career.  It includes both mining and mechanical engineering aspects, which appeals to me.

I’ve really enjoyed the different kinds of labs we get to do and the hands-on experience –  I also did a summer job working for one of the profs which was good experience.  The whole environment in the Department is great – it’s a small Department and everyone is friendly and supportive.”

Sara, 3rd-year student

“The program provided me with the technical basis to be successful and the ability to work with people on a variety of different levels.  My friends from the program continue to be a great network and provide me with contacts in various industries”.

Tejash, graduated

“The program was great.  It introduced me to fundamental engineering principles and provided the background I needed to enter graduate studies in the field of biomaterials.”

Scott, graduated

“I had a great time in the program.  It was both socially fun and academically diverse.  The knowledge that I gained prepared me for the challenges I now face at Ballard Power Systems, where I develop fuel cells for a living.”

Sybel, graduated