Western University

The Western Experience, UC Hill

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Western University prides itself on delivering an academic experience second to none. We challenge the best and brightest faculty, staff and students to commit to the highest global standards. Our research excellence expands knowledge and drives discovery with real-world application. We attract individuals with a broad worldview, seeking to study, influence and lead in the international community.

The Western Experience combines academic excellence with life-long opportunities for intellectual, social and cultural growth in order to better serve our communities.

While these experiences number in the thousands, Western has taken the opportunity to share just a few of them - with commuters in select subway cars and stations in Toronto, across Canada and around the world through print and online advertisements in the Globe and Mail as well as Western’s Twitter and Facebook pages.

We want to tell the world about the amazing students, faculty, staff, and the more than 260,000 alumni living in 260 countries that make Western so special. We hope you will too.

Experience Dominican

For the past 10 years, the Alternative Spring Break (ASB) program at Western has witnessed 1,000 stories of transformation.

That’s because the experiential learning program has helped a thousand students become engaged citizens since the program was established in 2002.

Each reading week, ASB provides students with a weeklong, hands-on, community service learning experience in partnership with community organizations at home and across the globe. Some teams teach English in the Dominican Republic, others provide medical clinics to under-serviced communities in Costa Rica; some partner with Habitat for Humanity to rebuild New Orleans, others support programs for at-risk populations in London, Ontario.

The main difference between the ASB program and other volunteer opportunities is the dual emphasis placed on service and learning that takes place during each experience.

ASB offers the opportunity to work and serve alongside individuals and organizations in the heart of a community. This hands-on interaction helps students understand what it feels like to be an engaged citizen.

The program aims to provide students with the opportunity to return with a greater understanding of challenges facing the community in which they were placed, and the community’s capacity to enact sustainable change. It also hopes students will return to Western with an increased sense of civic engagement, and an idea of how the experience connects to their current academic studies and future career.

Will you be part of the next one thousand stories, and be the change?

Experience Domincan Republic  Download this experience poster (78k, PDF)

Experience Research

Western's unique modular degree structure means that in most faculties, students don't have to pick a major until second year. First year students in Arts and Humanities, Health Sciences, Science, Social Science, Kinesiology or Media, Information and Technoculture are able to explore a wide variety of disciplines while meeting new friends with a range of interests. This approach gives students a year to figure out what direction they want to take and the freedom to choose.

Flexibility is key. In many cases, students will be able to broaden their areas of study by combining programs from different faculties, schools or departments, or they can focus on a specific subject in greater depth.

The modular degree structure is made up of modules, which includes a collection of courses in a defined area of study. The number of courses included in the module is defined by the amount of specialization in the topic.

Modules can be combined in the three different types of degrees offered. For instance, if you are planning to complete a four-year Honors Bachelor Degree, you can do an Honors Specialization in Health Sciences and a major in Film Studies or a major in Biochemistry and a major in Mathematics.

In fact, there are thousands of possible combinations at Western.

Please Note: Not all departments offer all of these modules. Engineering, Nursing, Media, Theory and Production and Human Ecology programs are not included in the modular structure.

Building Better Bridges  Download this experience poster (94k, PDF)

Experience Research

Study for a semester in Singapore. Uncover traces of the Roman Empire during an archeological field dig in northern England. Intern at a multinational company in China. Participate in a summer opera program in Italy. Volunteer with a service learning program in Costa Rica.

Western gives students a chance to spread their wings and discover the world – all while earning their degree. Whether students want to study, volunteer, or work abroad, Western offers a range of opportunities to integrate international experiences into a student’s university career.

Students can study abroad for one term, a full year, or for a summer term.

Scholarships are available to qualified applicants and the courses are taught in English at most host universities.

The benefits are many:

  • gain global perspective
  • develop leadership skills
  • expand your knowledge
  • immerse yourself in a different culture
  • build cross-cultural awareness
  • meet friends from around the world

Most exchange students describe the experience as life-changing. It’s not just about travelling, studying and discovering new places and new people. It’s about discovering yourself and growing as a person.

But don’t take it from us – here’s what Samantha Clarke had to see about her time in Melbourne Australia:

"The atmosphere around the city and around campus is so welcoming and joyful and provides me with countless opportunities for self-exploration…I have seen so many amazing things that I will remember for the rest of my life. Aside from choosing Western, the exchange program has been the best decision of my life!"

With 85 institutions available in 25 countries – the world really can be your classroom.

Before you pack your bags, learn more: www.international.uwo.ca/exchange 

Taj Mahal  Download this experience poster (98k, PDF)

Experience Research

Escalating populations, expanding urban environments, poverty, pollution and globalization adversely affect the world's ecosystems and bring new diseases and new health challenges.

The rapidly growing field of ecosystem health has emerged from these realities, expanding an area of study that emphasizes the interconnectedness between politics, social structure, the physical environment and the human condition. Hoping to reshape approaches to medicine and to incorporate community concerns into medical school curricula, Western established an Ecosystem Health Program in 1997, led by Beryl Ivey Chair in Ecosystem Health, Charlie Trick.

This initiative helps medical students recognize ecological decline is largely a result of human action, and that this decline affects our well-being, while teaching them to examine emerging environmental, economic and health problems, and to not just consider the health of the patient, but the health of the community, population and planet.

Ecosystem health education at Western embraces an integrated approach, bringing together the natural, social and health sciences, and incorporating medical, physical, socio-political, ecological and economic perspectives into medicine. Similarly, the innovative program's research projects examine how global welfare and sustainability relate to human health.

Labs Outside the Classroom  Download this experience poster (152k, PDF)

Experience Research

From the Earth to the moon and all meteoroids in between, Western has long been a global leader in research, training and technology development related to space exploration. Before NASA astronauts step outside their spacecraft, for example, they rely on detailed data from researchers at Western to determine if it is safe to do so. Using a series of 'smart cameras,' a one-of-a-kind radar system and computer modelling, Western scientists provide real-time data, tracking a representative sample of the nearly 100 tons of meteoroids that bombard the Earth's atmosphere during every space flight.

A new type of meteorite recovered by a Western professor in 2000 may be the most primitive solar system material ever examined, and his work has also shown that dust particles from meteoroids entering the atmosphere may also alter the planet's climate, affect global warming, impact cloud production and influence the ozone layer.

Consolidating these efforts, the University established the Centre for Planetary Science and Exploration (CPSX) to address questions related to the study of all matters associated with planets and space. 

Home to Canada's only graduate program in planetary science, the CPSX is also the first international affiliate for conducting science activities at NASA's Lunar Science Institute. The Canadian Astrobiology Network, also centred at Western, has been given affiliate status within the NASA Astrobiology Network.

From the development of new materials, robotic systems, energy storage devices and software, to understandings related to the origins of planets and climate change, this is research with an eye on distant worlds that has impact right here on Earth.

Led by NSERC/MDA/CSA Industrial Research Chair in Planetary Geology, Gordon Osinski and Canada Research Chair, Peter Brown, the CPSX establishes Western as a pioneer in space systems design and makes it a focus for planetary science research in Canada – advancing research and training that is, quite literally, out of this world.

Mars Thumbnail  Download this experience poster (98k, PDF)

Experience Research

For some students, hitting the books and doing experiments inside a lab is the best way to learn. But for other students, a chance to learn outside the classroom is a welcomed opportunity.

It’s a chance to apply theoretical knowledge in a real-world setting.

Many students consider it a chance to ‘test-drive’ a particular job, employment sector, or community organization to see if it is a good fit with your skills and interests. It can develop skills such as teamwork, leadership, initiative, and communication. Experiential learning can complement classroom work with relevant experiences that build a student’s resume and job search for the present and future.

In 2007, the Department of Earth Sciences launched the Resource Geoscience at Western (RGW) initiative to meet the demands of industry for a new generation of highly qualified economic geologists.

Field schools enable students to receive intensive practical training in the field. It’s a chance to apply classroom and laboratory training to solve real-world geological or geophysical problems ‘right on the rocks’.

For many students its the highlight of their education at Western and because of this enhanced training experience, our students stand out from graduates of many other programs across North America.

Take Rob Carpenter and Craig Finnigan for example.

The founders of Kaminak Gold credit their field courses for helping them strike gold in the Klondike.

"It was the early to mid-1990s, and we were just emerging into the Computer Age,” Carpenter explains. “Western still had fundamental courses that taught students what rocks looked like, whereas many universities were converting everything to computer graphics and how to manage data. Western was still emphasizing data collection, which gave us hands-on training."

You could call it, a golden opportunity.

Extending Office Hours  Download this experience poster (197k, PDF)