A world-class academic reputation, award-winning teaching staff, and a supportive community — these are just some of the qualities that make an education at Queen’s University stand out. Established in 1841, Queen’s has a history of excellence as a leading Canadian research institution. Its commitment to the leading edge of scientific research is matched by its dedication to establishing an accepting and encouraging environment where students are encouraged to thrive academically and grow as individuals.
Its Department of Chemical Engineering is no different. Recognised as one of the top three research departments in Canada, Queen’s Chemical Engineering brings together the sharpest minds across the globe to carve out a brighter, bolder future.
Its selection of specialised undergraduate programs are among North America’s first Chemical Engineering and Engineering Chemistry degrees.
Today, its graduate degree offerings include a Masters of Applied Science (MASc), Masters of Engineering (MEng) and a Doctoral programme. Students at Queen’s Chemical Engineering are taught by leading researchers and experts in their fields. “Our department offers a supportive, friendly and collegial environment for conducting world-class calibre research,” shares Professor Michael Cunningham, himself a Queen’s graduate with substantial industry experience. “We have a broad range of research topics available through our faculty, with strong funding from both government and industrial sources. Several professors are national and international leaders in their respective fields, creating the opportunity for graduate students to have a rich, stimulating experience in their studies.”
At the heart of Queen’s Chemical Engineering is the exploration of topics that are relevant and critical to the realms of science and technology. Cunningham teaches two graduate modules: the first surrounding the preparation of polymer nanomaterials, and the second examining the principles and practices of Green Engineering. “The two modules are quite different, but both are rooted in the importance of developing new, sustainable routes for making materials,” he says.
Experiential opportunities to enhance the learning experience are plenty. “Many students travel within Canada and abroad as part of their professional development,” says Cunningham. “These experiences can take the form of travel to national and international conferences, exchange programmes at international universities of durations varying from several weeks to several months (e.g. France, Switzerland, Japan), and internships with companies sponsoring research within the department.”
Life on campus is also fulfilling. There are many chances to connect with a thriving student community, from joining groups and societies to pursuing activities to improve health and wellness: Queen’s ranks third overall for student satisfaction, and first in extracurricular activities in Canada.
The Chemical Engineering Graduate Student Association (CEGSA) is one of many societies at Queen’s that is fostering connections and camaraderie within the graduate community. From community events to platforms for students to share their research to others at Queen’s, CEGSA holds a variety of social events for graduate students.
“Prior to the pandemic, CEGSA organised a trip to attend Fort Fright — Kingston’s famous haunted house at Fort Henry,” shares Brianna Bradley, a PhD student at Queen’s. “Walking through the fort and experiencing the spooky decorations was a great way to bond with other students in the department.” To maintain community spirit during the pandemic, CEGSA organised virtual bingo and trivia nights, complete with prizes for the winners.
Queen’s has a large student population of almost 28,000 students, but thanks to its tight-knit community, everyone feels connected. “It’s always helpful to be able to connect and chat with others who are sharing a similar experience to you,” says Bradley. “CEGSA events such as the CEGSA Fridays at the Grad Club and the Tea/Coffee Breaks in the Grad Student Lounge are fantastic ways to take a break, enjoy some snacks, and chat with other graduate students in the department.”
To support Queen’s Chemical Engineering’s community of international students, CEGSA has set up an international affairs position. “This rep serves as a point of contact to support international students with matters related to work/study plans, visa issues, livelihood, and entertainment,” shares Bradley. “They also ensure that the international student perspective is represented in CEGSA proceedings.”
All in all, it’s certainly one of the best institutions for any aspiring engineering graduate — and one that will serve as an experience that they’ll cherish for a lifetime.