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Broadening your experience through projects, practicums and capstones

January 18, 2022
UBC MEL MHLP Broadening Experiences

When you’re evaluating graduate degree programs to decide which one is right for you, take a close look at the curriculum and the projects you’ll be working on in your classes. While some programs emphasize independent research, others create opportunities to actually apply the knowledge you’re learning in real-world situations.

These assignments and projects enable students to directly apply knowledge from their classroom learning, expand their skill set and grow their network – and also give them transferable leadership skills and strengthen their resumés.

The Master of Engineering Leadership (MEL) and Master of Health Leadership and Policy (MHLP) deliver project-based curricula that offer ample opportunities for students to engage in hands-on learning opportunities. These range from practicums and capstone projects to research projects and assignments. The activities you engage in will depend on the program you choose.

“Where possible, the MEL and MHLP programs integrate experiential projects that create opportunities for students to work directly with industry partners,” says Justin Bull, Academic Director of the MEL and MHLP. “Capstones, research projects and practicums push students to cultivate their technical and research skills while communicating with diverse stakeholders in real-world contexts.”


While not all of the sector-specific specializations in the MEL and MHLP offer opportunities for capstone projects or practicums with industry partners, each specialization incorporates assignments and projects that are connected to industry challenges and based on real-world data. Here are just a few examples of the projects students worked on over the past year:

These experiential learning projects not only give students tangible skills, they also provide industry connections that can lead to career opportunities and leadership positions.

For example, the MEL in Naval Architecture and Marine Engineering program has a variety of hands-on opportunities in the summer. Connor Maloney, a student who entered the Naval Architecture and Marine Engineering program with work experience as a mechanical engineer, had the opportunity to combine the program’s technical courses with a three-month work co-op at Seaspan. This gave him the hands-on experience needed to land a position with Irving Shipyards, where he is now an assistant project manager working on the Arctic and Offshore Patrol Ship project.

Similarly, Arlene Singh came into the MHLP with significant experience in critical care and teaching but little experience of virtual health. After completing a practicum where she recommended strategies to improve the uptake of online health services across Vancouver Coastal Health, she had the experience and knowledge to shift her career in a new direction, and she is now senior clinical leader in the Office of Virtual Health.

There are many things to consider considerations when choosing a postgraduate program. If you’re looking for an education that incorporates experiential learning where you can immediately apply the knowledge you’re learning in the classroom, the MEL or MHLP could be the right choice.

Not only do these learning opportunities build new skills, they also enable you to expand your network and gain the practical and leadership experience employers are looking for when hiring.