Dalhousie University: Where computer science students thrive
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Dalhousie University: Where computer science students thrive

One look at Halifax, and Samara Burton, a Bachelor of Applied Computer Science at Dalhousie University student, already knew she would feel right at home.

“I was born on the Caribbean island of Dominica. Halifax appealed to me as a city, because being right on the water it always felt a little bit closer to home!” she enthuses.

Halifax – located in the province of Nova Scotia – has one of the world’s biggest and deepest ice-free natural harbours, making it an important port city, just like Dominica’s sea-havens. Little wonder that Burton feels comfortable there.

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Dalhousie University – ranked 12th among Canadian universities – has three campuses in Halifax situated in residential areas and within easy walking distance of downtown. Source: Dalhousie University

Genny Andrea Centeno Metri, a Master of Applied Computer Science graduate from Mexico concurs, having previously attended a Toronto language school.

“I completely fell in love with Canada and its people. I always had the goal of moving abroad, so this experience placed Canada as my top country to consider,” Metri shares.

With that singular aim, Metri set out to find a Canadian university that had a scholarship agreement with Mexico. This search led her to Dalhousie University, and the rest is history.

“I chose Dalhousie because for me it offered me the best of both worlds: a great university with a very interesting programme and a beautiful city to live in and explore. On the academic side, I was amazed by the programmes and research that was being conducted in the Computer Science department,” Metri explains.

Burton has a similar reason: “I chose Computer Science at Dalhousie because I knew that I was interested in programming, but I was also interested in the ways that technology can be used to improve people’s lives. The Bachelor of Applied Computer Science allowed me to sharpen my Computer Science skills with an emphasis on their real world applications.”

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Students at the Faculty of Computer Science can pursue innovative undergraduate and graduate programmes. Source: Dalhousie University

Both degrees – offered at the Faculty of Computer Science – are flexible and multidisciplinary, allowing the students to tailor their programmes according to their personal and career interests. In fact, such diverse research strengths across different disciplines – ranging from Artificial Intelligence to Ocean Data Analytics– make this particular department the top-notch academic research institution in Information Technology across Atlantic Canada.

At the same time, with many world-leading researchers working in labs, studios and in respective fields, it comes as no surprise that Dalhousie is Atlantic Canada’s primary research-intensive university. Dalhousie is a member of the renowned U15 Group of Canadian Research Universities as well; this entire group holds a whopping 81% of Canadian university patents.

Yet for all this prestige, Dalhousie still remains accessible to their students with their affable faculty and staff. Metri believes that if not for the support of the TAs, professors, graduate advisors and programme director, she would not have made it far.

“This was my first time living abroad and by myself so just that was quite a big challenge,” Metri says, gratefully adding that the Programme Director, the Faculty of Graduate Studies and the Students Account department were of great help when she experienced financial complications.

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Dalhousie University provides an excellent learning environment for their Computer Science students. Source: Dalhousie University

For this very reason, coupled with award-winning professors and an impressive 12th overall ranking among Canadian universities (QS World University Rankings), over 20,000 students are proud to call Dalhousie home. Close to a quarter are international, coming from 115 countries – a strong indication of how well-esteemed Dalhousie is all over the world.

Keeping classes interesting and innovative is another thing Dalhousie excels at. For both Metri and Burton, what stands out the most is the practical application of concepts learnt in their classes.

“I really liked the Communication Skills class. The professor was amazing and had a great way of giving his lectures. The top takeaway, which is a skill I use to this day, is written communication. The course really helped me improve my written communication skills to work on my cover letters, resumes, presentations, as well as technical and workplace documents, among others,” Metri recalls.

As for Burton, she took a fourth-year course on Web-Centric Computing.

“I build web applications as part of my current job and several of the individual concepts have been useful, such as security testing websites, but it also helped to show how the different aspects work together to create a great web application,” she notes.

Experiential learning opportunities – internships and co-ops – add more value to Dalhousie degrees. Burton has undertaken three co-op terms. Metri calls her internship with Jazz Aviation one of her favourite memories.

“I had a great time working there. I learned a lot and had a lot of fun. I’m actually still friends with some of my co-workers to this date. I will be always grateful with how the team welcomed me into the group and company,” she says.

When all these – supportive staff, innovative education, and immersive experiences – are combined, they produce well-rounded graduates, ready to take on the world’s challenges.

Metri sums up her experience best: “Today, I’m back in Halifax, a city I hold very close to my heart, have great friends here, and a job I enjoy doing.”

If you are interested in pursuing an undergraduate or graduate degree in computer science, consider Dalhousie University.

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