Civil Engineering's universal testing machine circa 1950

Historical Timeline

1915-1924 | 1925-1949 | 1950-1974 | 1975-1999 | 2000-present



- University of British Columbia opens with three Faculties: Applied Science, Arts and Science, and Agriculture. Engineering programs included Chemical, Civil, Mechanical and Mining and Metallurgy Engineering.


- UBC student enrolment is 379 and full- and part-time faculty members number 34. Military training is included in the curriculum for the duration of World War I. By the end of the war in 1918, 697 students would see active military service; 78 would be killed in action.


- Reginald Brock serves as Dean, Faculty of Applied Science.


- The Faculty of Applied Science serves as British Columbia’s only engineering school for more than 55 years.


- Charles Alfred Holstead "Chas" Wright (Chemical Engineering) is UBC's first graduate of Applied Science


- The British Columbia Registered Nurses' Act is passed by the provincial legislature.


- At a time when Canadian nurses were trained in hospitals, Ethel Johns, became convinced that nurses needed the theoretical and scientific background of a formal university education, and advocated for that goal. From 1919 to 1925, Johns was the founding Head of the Department of Nursing at UBC and established the first university degree program in nursing in Canada.


- The Applied Science class of 1920 is the first graduating class to take all their classes at UBC. Previous ApSci graduates either began their studies at McGill University College of BC (UBC's predecessor), or transferred from other universities.

- The Cheeze Factory is completed and used for various purposes including a classroom/laboratory for cheese making, a poultry isolation unit, and library storage.


- Post-WWI students become tired of over-crowded conditions with full-time enrolment reaching 1200 for 1921–22. UBC students organize province-wide publicity campaign to persuade the government to complete the Point Grey campus. The “Build the University” campaign climaxes in a parade—The Great Trek—from downtown Vancouver to Point Grey, and the presentation of a petition with 56,000 signatures to the Speaker of the Legislature in Victoria. The government authorizes a $1.5 million loan to resume construction. The campaign marks the beginning of active student involvement in the university's development.

- Electrical engineering is added to mechanical engineering to establish the Department of Mechanical and Electrical Engineering.


- Government establishes contracts for completion of Point Grey buildings: the Science building (today part of the Chemistry building), the Library (today the centre block of Main Library), a power plant, and “semi-permanent” buildings (Arts, Agriculture, Applied Science, Administration, the Auditorium, and four laboratory/workshop buildings).


- The Departments of Nursing and Public Health merge to form the Department of Nursing and Health within Applied Science.

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- Registration in Applied Science is 192 undergraduates and four graduate students pursuing M.A.Sc. degrees. In addition to the 1915 offerings, students pursue engineering degrees focused in forestry, geology and geography, and mechanical and electrical. Most engineering departments have one to two professors, one associate professor and a lecturer or an assistant to round out the faculty.


- John N. Finlayson serves as second Dean, Faculty of Applied Science.


- Department of Agricultural Engineering is established within Applied Science.


- The Department of Architecture instituted within the Faculty of Applied Science; it becomes the first architecture degree program west of the University of Manitoba.


- UBC Enrolment swells to 9374, with war veterans making up some 50 percent. Postwar construction would add more than 20 new buildings by 1951, including facilities for physics, engineering and biological sciences, as well as the library's north wing. The Faculty of Graduate Studies is established to administer masters and doctoral programs.


- Completion of the New Applied Sciences Building, later renamed the Engineering Building in 1951 and Civil Engineering in the 1960’s. The building (Klink) is now used by the Faculty of Science.


- The Department of Architecture is reorganized as the School of Architecture within Applied Science; its first Director is Dr. Frederick Lasserre.

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- The Department of Nursing and Health is reorganized with the establishment of the School of Nursing; the first Director of the School is Miss H. E. Mallory.

Dean H.J. MacLeod1951–1954

- H.J. MacLeod serves as the third Dean, Faculty of Applied Science.


- A UBC student initiative leads to construction of the War Memorial Gymnasium, as a memorial to British Columbia's war dead. Mounted in the gymnasium are plaques of the university's “honour rolls”—lists of students who lost their lives in the two world wars.


- The Department of Electrical Engineering is established independently from Mechanical Engineering; the Department of Forestry becomes independent from Applied Science, forming its own Faculty.


- The Department of Chemical Engineering is established within the Faculty of Applied Science.


- Henry C. Gunning serves as the fourth Dean, Faculty of Applied Science.


- University celebrates its “Golden Jubilee” and launches the “UBC Development Fund,” the first public appeal for capital funds by any Canadian university. The fund drive and government contributions together raise $35 million.


- David M. Myers serves as fifth Dean, Faculty of Applied Science.


- The Lasserre building, housing the School of Architecture and named after its first Director, is completed.

- The UBC Calendar lists the Department of Metallurgical Engineering and Mining, and the Department of Geological Engineering.


- The MacLeod Building, named for the Faculty's third Dean, is completed on a 15-acre site at the south end of UBC.


- The Faculty celebrates its 50th year and most of the present day engineering departments and programs are in place. The total faculty count is 91 and annual tuition is $551 per year.


- William Armstrong serves as the sixth Dean, Faculty of Applied Science.


- The Frank Forward building is completed, housing what is to become the Keevil Institute of Mining Engineering and the Department of Materials Engineering.


- W.D.L. Finn serves as Dean, Faculty of Applied Science.


- The Civil and Mechanical Engineering Structures Laboratory is completed and immediately nicknamed the "Rusty Hut" for its pre-rusted corrugated steel sheet exterior.

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- The Civil and Mechanical Engineering (CEME, "see-me") building is completed. It is connected to the Rusty Hut by a bridge on the second floor.


- UBC awards its 100,000th degree.


- L.M. Wedepohl serves as the eighth Dean, Faculty of Applied Science.


- Koerner Pavilion (UBC Hospital) is completed, housing the School of Nursing.

-The Cheeze Factory, fondly known as The Cheeze, becomes home to the Engineering Undergraduate Society and meeting place for engineering students.


- Axel Meisen serves as the ninth Dean, Faculty of Applied Science.


- The School of Nursing forms a collaborative degree program with the Vancouver General Hospital's School of Nursing.


- The School of Nursing offers the first undergraduate courses in Canada to deal specifically with nursing care for HIV/AIDS patients.


- The AMPEL building is completed—home of the Advanced Materials and Process Engineering Laboratories. Two years later it was renamed the Keith J. Brimacombe building in honour of acclaimed metallurgical professor who died in 1997. This building provides space for collaboration between interdisciplinary Applied Sciences departments and fosters industrial research.


- Michael Isaacson serves as tenth Dean, Faculty of Applied Science. 

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- The Integrated Engineering Program commences.


- Offered jointly by the University of Northern BC (UNBC) and UBC, the Environmental Engineering Program begins. The first Environmental Engineering class is offered at UNBC this year, and the first Environmental Engineering students come to UBC's Vancouver campus for their third year of the program in 2004. 


- The School of Nursing accepts its first cohort of students into B.C.'s inaugural, master's level Family Nurse Practitioner Program.


- The university announces the merger of UBC and Okanagan University College. UBC Okanagan opens on the site of the North Kelowna campus of OUC in September 2005.


- The Earthquake Engineering Research Facility officially opens and includes a 10 ft x 10 ft shake table with four degrees of digitally controlled motion to study the dynamic response of test models and components to simulated earthquake motion.

- The new wing of the ICICS/CS (Institute for Computing, Information and Cognitive Systems/Computer Science) building opens. It includes new interdisciplinary research facilities utilized by Applied Science.

- The School of Landscape Architecture (formerly with the Faculty of Agricultural Science) joins the School of Architecture to form the School of Architecture and Landscape Architecture within the Faculty of Applied Science.

- The UBC Okanagan School of Engineering is established with specializations in civil, mechanical and electrical engineering.

The Fred Kaiser Building officially opens and is named in honour of the internationally renowned power engineer and businessman who inspired a $4 million donation for the building. The new facility allows for the expansion of the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering necessitated by the province's Doubling the Opportunity Initiative.


- The new Chemical and Biological Engineering Building opens at 2360 East Mall, centralizing the activities of the department.

- A generous donation of $7.5 million led by Teck Cominco establishes the Norman B. Keevil Institute of Mining Engineering, named in honour of the company's former President and CEO. The Institute's mission is to address critical issues faced by the modern mining sector such as human resource development, community involvement, and safe and sustainable mining practices.

- The $9-million Clean Energy Research Centre opens at 2360 East Mall—Canada's only interdisciplinary facility dedicated to improving existing energy technologies and developing new sustainable sources of energy.


- After an extreme makeover, the Chemistry Building reopens with new state-of-the-art research and learning facilities and its historic charms intact. The oldest building on campus, Chemical Engineering was founded in its basement by Dr. W.F. Seyer—a major figure in Chemical Engineering's first 30 years.


- Tyseer Aboulnasr serves as eleventh Dean, Faculty of Applied Science.


- UBC Okanagan School of Engineering receives full accreditation; graduates first cohort


- UBC Okanagan School of Engineering moves into its new building, The Engineering, Management and Education Building.

-The Wayne and William White Engineering Design Centre officially opens. Its primary role is to provide a new space for interaction, integration and innovation in engineering education.

2011– 2013

- Eric R. Hall serves as Dean pro tem of Applied Science.


- UBC’s School of Community and Regional Planning (SCARP) joins the Faculty of Applied Science as the College for Interdisciplinary Studies (CFIS) disbands.

2013 – 2017

- Marc Parlange serves as twelfth Dean, Faculty of Applied Science.


On January 4, Applied Science launches the Master of Engineering Leadership (MEL) and Master of Health Leadership (MHLP) degree programs, offered in collaboration with the Sauder School of Business and School of Nursing (MHLP).

2018 – present

- James Olson serves as thirteenth Dean, Faculty of Applied Science.

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