Home » Industry & Business » Engineering our Future » Seneca’s Unique New Engineering Degree Is Focused on AI Combining Technical and Ethical Elements
Ranjan Bhattacharya

Ranjan Bhattacharya

Dean, Faculty of Applied Science & Engineering Technology

As artificial intelligence becomes more prevalent in our daily lives, software engineers will need grounding in ethical decision making.

The lessening of pandemic restrictions has brought a sense of renewal to many of Ontario’s postsecondary institutions. Seneca, with campuses across the Greater Toronto Area, is no exception and continues to develop degree programs that combine rigorous academics with practical training across a range of professions.

Seneca’s new Bachelor of Engineering (Software Engineering) degree (BSA), with its focus on artificial intelligence (AI), is one of them. Offered through the School of Software Design & Data Science, this full-time program is delivered over eight semesters and includes two work terms.

“Our research showed that AI requirements for multiple industry sectors are increasing,” says Ranjan Bhattacharya, Dean, Faculty of Applied Science and Engineering Technology at Seneca. “There is an urgent need for AI-trained professionals.”


Ability to help solve complex industry and societal challenges

In addition to acquiring the academic foundations, hands-on skills, and experience needed to build and maintain complex software solutions, students in Seneca’s Software Engineering degree program will develop leadership, critical thinking, and project management skills grounded in the ethics of AI.

“This is something that is unique to the program,” says Bhattacharya. “Theories and tools are foundational, but what those tools are being used for is also important. We want to ensure Seneca is producing graduates with technical skills and the ability to apply an ethical lens to their decision making.”

One of the sectors where this is especially relevant is municipal infrastructure and public utilities. “Everything is connected via the Cloud with a lot of associated software,” says Bhattacharya. “Along with being able to design systems that use AI for monitoring, troubleshooting and maintenance, our graduates need to understand the potential implications of their decisions and how they could impact the public.”

Industry challenges where ethical decisions are at the forefront also include the development of technologies deployed in the operation of autonomous vehicles.

Another program differentiator is the hands-on focus.

“With many traditional university engineering classes, you’ll have 500 plus students in a large lecture theatre,” says Bhattacharya. “At Seneca, we pride ourselves on small class sizes led by faculty that are industry experts.

Flexible learning delivery mode offered

The courses in Seneca’s BSA program are offered through a number of delivery options. This includes in-person, remote, hybrid and also a new mode called flexible learning, in which students can choose to attend the class in person on campus, remotely online or a combination of the two.

“We know our students have busy lives and are balancing work and family obligations,” says Bhattacharya. “Over the past two years we’ve developed a lot of digital assets, and where it makes sense to keep things online or offer a flexible learning option to help students succeed, we will.”

Potential careers for Seneca’s BSA graduates range from software engineer, software developer and software programmer to AI specialist, AI engineer, AI developer and many more.

If you’re looking for a career in an in-demand and evolving industry, check out Seneca’s Honours Bachelor of Engineering (Software Engineering) degree.

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