Best of both worlds

Jonathan Stokes, Professor Mandy Meriano, Chinmaya Bhatt

From left, Jonathan Stokes, Prof. Mandy Meriano and Chinmaya Bhatt.

It’s a first: two U of T Scarborough students are about to graduate with both an Environmental Science Bachelor’s degree and a Master in Engineering.

Chinmaya Bhatt and Jonathan Stokes are the first two students in the Combined BSc/MEng Program, in which environmental science students can work concurrently towards completing an Honours Bachelor of Science and a master’s in either Chemical or Civil Engineering, all within five years.

“When applying I thought, ‘what a unique opportunity to take engineering, when you’re not an engineer,’” says Stokes. “It’s allowed me to be a part of a community I would not traditionally be exposed to as a student in the sciences.”

The program is designed to get students to think differently, through its exposure to widely different academic perspectives.

“What makes us different from the science students or engineering students is that we have knowledge of both,” says Bhatt. “In science you identify problems, and in engineering you find ways to solve them. So with this program we are able to do both.”

The program gives students an edge when they enter the workforce. “It allows our students to become more specialized so that they can confidently tackle today’s environ- mental challenges,” says Mandy Meriano, associate professor, teaching stream, in Environmental Science.

The first of its kind at U of T, the program creates a new opportunity and shortens the time to graduation. UTSC now offers a similar combined program in Psychology and Social Work, and more paths are being explored.