In 1956, McMaster
named its first Director of Engineering Studies – Dr.
John W. Hodgins, a young chemical engineering professor from
the engineering faculty of the Royal Military College at Kingston.
Hired with a mandate to develop a full engineering program
for McMaster, a new building to house it and the academic staff
to run it, Hodgins moved rapidly. He saw the program approved by the McMaster
University Senate in February 1958, the building officially
opened in October 1958, and the first class of 25 students graduated in
With five departments established in the first two years – chemical
engineering, civil engineering, electrical engineering, mechanical
metallurgical engineering – and engineering physics added later in
the 1960s, the goal of the Faculty of Engineering was to establish
engineering school with both undergraduate and higher degree
The emphasis on research and post-graduate degrees was immediately evident.
The first engineering degrees from McMaster were M.Eng degrees, with the
first ones awarded in 1959, and that number increasing to almost 50 per
year in 1969. The first doctoral degrees were awarded in 1965.
The undergraduate programs grew in step, and by 1972, over 100 engineers
received their B.Eng. degrees, with the annual total passing 200 by 1980.
In the 1960s, the Faculty of Engineering began joint faculty appointments,
research associates and collaborative research activities with McMaster's
new Faculty of Health Sciences, and by the mid-70s, courses in bio-engineering
were offered as electives in all engineering programs.
1971 marked the start of the Engineering and Management program and later
that decade, the Engineering and Society program began.
In the early 1980s, the Electrical Engineering started its unique Computer
Engineering program, and Mechanical Engineering began its program in Manufacturing
Over the years, the Faculty of Engineering has greatly expanded its facilities,
to meet the growing needs of both the undergraduate students, and its graduate
and research communities.
Compiled from "Engineering at McMaster An Historical Summary, L.W. Shemilt, Ph.D."; an appendix to the book "By Design: The Role of the Engineer in the History of the Hamilton Burlington Area, J.W. Disher, P.Eng, E.A.W. Smith, Ph.D."
A new state-of-the-art engineering building is now under construction to accommodate the Faculty's expansion into emerging areas of research and study (conceptual rendering).
The Communications Research Laboratory building was added in 1984
to focus on electrical engineering. An annex was added to the
John Hodgins Engineering building in 1991 and the building
was expanded again in 2001 to accommodate the McMaster Manufacturing
Research Institute. The Information Technology Building was opened to 2001
and an annex in 2003.
The new, five-storey, 125,000 square-foot Engineering Technology Building
opened in September 2009
and is home to the School of Biomedical Engineering, Walter G. Booth School
of Engineering Practice, the McMaster-Mohawk Bachelor of Technology Partnership,
and the Engineering 1 first-year engineering program. Space is also designated
for a new Biointerfaces Institute and research initiatives in nanotechnology
and micro-systems. The building is designed to LEED environmental standards
and as a teaching tool. It is located near the campus’ Main Street