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Nanotech Engineering for undergrads

Whether to have an undergrad major in nanotechnology is controversial, but many students are interested. To those wanting to get started now, we say, “Go north, young man or woman, to University of Waterloo”:

“The Nanotechnology Engineering honours undergraduate degree program at UW is designed to provide a practical education in key areas of nanotechnology, including the fundamental chemistry, physics, and engineering of nanostructures or nanosystems as well as the theories and techniques used to model, design, fabricate, or characterize these technologies.”

“A total of 62 courses are offered, of which 48 are dedicated nanotechnology courses. 29 of these 48 new courses have labs designed to specifically prepare students for a nanotechnology career in research or industry…All nanotechnology students will graduate with 2 years of work experience.”

The big concern with these programs is whether they will provide enough depth as well as breadth across disciplines. In most specialities, one learns more and more about less and less until one knows everything about nothing. The fear for nanotech undergrads is the opposite. Time will tell. Waterloo is a very good school and will probably do a good job on this. Students with a specific interest, such as productive nanosystems, should talk with the professors involved first to make sure they will get what they need from any given academic nanotech program. This one, for example, seems to be a mix of top-down and bottom-up nano. Perhaps they allow students to focus on one or the other. —Christine

2 Responses to “Nanotech Engineering for undergrads”

  1. Susan Says:


    Great article. Our son is currently enrolled in the first year of this new NanoTech Undergrad Degree program at University of Waterloo that started in September 2005.

    I’ve sent this link to the school.

  2. Fred Says:

    Beware of NanoTech undergraduate programs. How do you want to cover the breadth? Is it an engineering program? Then the science foundation will be weak. Is it a science program? Then get into physics and make sure you get exposed to chemistry and biology. So what’s the point of this? And Waterloo, for that matter, has virtually no nano researchers, so how do they want to accomplish the teaching tasks?

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