Shopify, York University partner to offer innovative computer science degree program


TORONTO, September 24, 2018 –This fall, York University’s Lassonde School of Engineering is partnering with the leading cloud-based, multi-channel commerce platform, Shopify, to bring a new model of experiential learning called Dev Degree, to the Greater Toronto Area (GTA) for the first time.

The unique program embeds students directly into development teams at Shopify through a paid internship opportunity that culminates with a unique Honours Bachelor of Computer Science (Honours BSc) degree. Shopify also pays the students’ tuition for the full four-year program.

“Shopify is one of Canada’s great success stories of innovative entrepreneurship combined with outstanding and visionary leadership, and we are honoured to be their first university partner in the GTA,” said Rhonda L. Lenton, President and  Vice-Chancellor, York University. “The new partnership between York and Shopify reflects the future of education, which will be characterized by greater collaboration across all sectors. Together with a generous financial contribution, our students will have access to skilled Shopify mentors, providing them with rich experiential education opportunities as part of their academic studies.”

Beginning this fall, the first cohort includes eight York Lassonde Computer Science students who will split their time equally between Shopify’s downtown offices and their coursework at Lassonde. The students will work alongside industry mentors and gain critical skills to solve real problems with modern technology.

“We’re excited to announce the expansion of our Dev Degree program to York University’s Lassonde School of Engineering,” said Jean-Michel Lemieux, SVP of Engineering at Shopify. “Dev Degree layers personal development and accelerated software skills, industry mentorship and real-world practice on top of an accredited degree. We can’t wait to see what unique problems our first York University class will solve."

The initiative is part of the Industry Partnership Stream within the Honours BSc program in computer science at the Lassonde School of Engineering which offers an innovative integration of program learning outcomes and experiential education. Students admitted to the stream will complete the practicum credits in addition to all existing degree requirements for the Computer Science program.

“The future of education, especially in the technology sector, will include increasingly fluid interactions between workplaces and universities, so it is essential for us to explore new learning opportunities and continually evolve,” says Richard Hornsey, Interim Dean and University Professor, Lassonde School of Engineering.

"Our partnership with Shopify is also an exceptional new opportunity for students to apply their newly acquired university skills in the workplace and at the same time bring their industrial experience into the classroom.”

Faculty at Lassonde will oversee each student’s rigorous degree coursework. Upon completion of their degree, the students will have 4,500+ hours of paid work experience when they graduate,  more than double the hours of a traditional co-op, and will have the benefit of industry-leading experts at Shopify.

Quick facts about the Dev Degree Program:

  • York University is Shopify’s first GTA university partner to offer Dev Degree, and only the second institution offering the program in Canada;
  • Dev Degree is a four-year accelerated program where students receive their Bachelor of Computer Science degree, which includes academic credits for the work they do on Shopify development teams
  • Each student is paired with two mentors, a technical mentor and a Life@Shopify mentor, who is a trusted guide to support the student’s well-being;
  • Women account for 51% of Shopify Dev Degree students, in comparison to the 39% of women university graduates with a STEM degree

York University champions new ways of thinking that drive teaching and research excellence. Our students receive the education they need to create big ideas that make an impact on the world. Meaningful and sometimes unexpected careers result from cross-disciplinary programming, innovative course design and diverse experiential learning opportunities. York students and graduates push limits, achieve goals and find solutions to the world’s most pressing social challenges, empowered by a strong community that opens minds. York U is an internationally recognized research university – our 11 faculties and 25 research centres have partnerships with 200+ leading universities worldwide. Located in Toronto, York is the third largest university in Canada, with a strong community of 53,000 students, 7,000 faculty and administrative staff, and more than 300,000 alumni.

York U's fully bilingual Glendon Campus is home to Southern Ontario's Centre of Excellence for French Language and Bilingual Postsecondary Education.

Media Contact:

Anjum Nayyar, York University Media Relations, 416-736-2100 ext. 44543,