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Computer Science 1

Are you ready to hit the ground running with FIVE computer science courses in your first year of university?! This early and fast start into the curriculum will make you more employable and allow you to flexibility specialize in upper years. 

About Computer Science 1

Beginning in fall 2020, Computer Science 1 students can expect a revamped experience tailored to a changing industry and world. This new curriculum will give you a competitive edge for co-op employability immediately following your first year.

In level two and beyond, you can expect more technical electives at your fingertips, including machine learning, AI, medical imaging, security and data analytics.


Did you know?

Approximately 25% (30 units) of your CS degree is open electives, with means completing a minor in another field is very possible with proper planning. 

View all avialable minors

Program Curriculum Changes

McMaster University has completed a major revision to the Computer Science program to increase the experiential learning opportunities and improve student internship opportunities in the first two years of the program. In addition, we are growing our program from 50 new students in fall 2019 to 200 by fall 2024. 

In order to deliver this more innovative and relevant curriculum, we are investing in new facilities and hiring more faculty members to deliver pioneering content and cutting-edge research.

  • Introduction to Computational Thinking
  • Introduction to Programming
  • Practice and Experience: Development Basics
  • Practice and Experience: Intro to Software Design Using Web Programming
  • Discrete Math for Comp Sci
  • 3 couses in calculus and linear algebra
  • 2 open electives 
  • 4 computer science courses
  • 2 logic and computability theory course
  • 2 practice and experience courses
  • 2 open electives
  • 6 core computer science courses
  • 6 technical electives
  • 1 capstone course (full year)
  • 6 open electives

Expand your net worth and your network.

Every student has access to the co-op program.

The best part? You decide when you would like to complete co-op and we’ll help you get there.


Co-op quick facts

77% of co-op work terms are 8-16 months long

More than 2/3 of students in the program graduate with co-op

98.5% of employers would recommend hiring a McMaster Engineering Co-op student

Examples of Companies

Engineering and Computer Science Co-op students undertake work terms with prestigious companies, including:

Aecon Group Inc., ArcelorMittal Dofasco, BlackBerry, Celestica, CIBC, Chrysler, Ford Canada, GE Canada, General Motors, Husky Injection Molding Systems, Hydro One, IBM Canada, John Deere, L-3 Wescam, Linamar Corporation, Maple Leaf Foods, Ontario Power Generation, Rockwell Automation, Stackpole International, Stem Cell Technologies, Suncor Energy, Toronto Hydro Corporation



How it works:

  • Your professional career starts in your first year with an introductory non-credit co-op course.

  • Throughout the year, a team of 15 staff from the Engineering Co-op and Career Services office connect with more than 1,000 employers, bringing them directly to you through over 200 workshops and events annually.

  • We also work with you to help navigate the career exploration, job search, application, interview and offer process.

  • Beginning as early as the summer after your first year, you can begin completing four-month co-op positions.

  • After your third year, you’ll have the option to complete longer, more immersive eight-, 12- or 16-month positions.

CS Student Life

Staying balanced. Keeping things in perspective. At MacEng, you’re always among friends - more than 6,000 of them! Our #FireballFamily is a supportive community where students build each other up in a spirit of collaboration, not competition.

Computer Science students form a tight knight community, but are also actively engaged within the broader Faculy of Engineering.  You'll be represented by your own Computer Science Society, but also members of the McMaster Engineering Society and broader McMaster Student Union

Most Popular Extracurriculars for CS students


Meet Ray 

Computer Science 2020 Grad

I was really into theatre in high school in Indonesia. When I came to McMaster and heard about the Engineering Musical, I was instantly excited. I was really nervous to audition, but once I started training with the group, it felt like I was part of the family. It's a lot of work, but there is so much reward.

I met most of my friends through the musical, and through the musical I met people who are part of other clubs. And through those people I met people from other clubs. So, it's like you get this chain, this kind of web of people meeting each other and that makes for a really strong community.

Meet Alyssia

Computer Science, 2019 Graduate

Some of my most memorable MacEng experiences are definitely starting and scaling DeltaHacks over five years, watching it grow and seeing incredible projects come out both as a director and a judge has been an amazing experience to be a part of. Teaching thousands of kids through McMaster Computer Science Outreach has been incredibly fulfilling. My first Welcome Week was definitely unforgettable — I met some of my best friends that week.

Meet Troy

Computer Science, 2019 Graduate

Co-op put what I learned into practice. There’s always a disconnect between what you learn in school and what you learn in the real world. I understood concepts from class but didn’t have the practical skills. Co-op put them together. Now, I feel more comfortable graduating and finding a job [because] I have real work experience.

Meet Biya

Computer Science, Year 5


Course Delivery

First term: Python in COMPSCI 1MD3 and Haskell in COMPSCI 1JC3; second term: C and shell in COMPSCI 1XC3, and web programming in COMPSCI 1XD3.

You may be wondering, how will the virtual fall term work exactly? Luckily, most courses and assessments were designed to be delivered effectively through online modules and teaching methods, so the shift to a virtual curriculum will be seamless. Your professors, TAs and instructors will guide you through each week.


More than 2/3 of students in the program graduate with co-op!

We have a flexible co-op option that allows for  a range of work term lengths.Beginning as early as the summer after your first year, you can begin completing four-month co-op positions. After your third year, you’ll have the option to complete longer, more immersive eight-, 12- or 16-month positions.

For CS, 77% of co-op work terms are 8-16 months long

Computer Science students have completed co-op positions in a variety of fields! Some of the most common include backend development, frontend development, full-stack, data analysis, data science, and AI related roles. However, some students also complete project management, product development, research, and consulting positions.

McMaster Computer Science students have completed co-op for many employers, such as Microsoft, Google, Facebook, Twitter, Slack, Shopify, Amazon, and IBM, to name just a few! A number of students work with employers in the financial technology sector, including at companies such as RBC, Scotia, LoyaltyOne, and Clearnbanc. Additionally, Computer Science students have also worked with employers across the start-up ecosystem in Hamilton, Kitchener-Waterloo, Toronto, and Silicon Valley. 

Student Life

  • Artificial Intelligence Society
  • Computer Science Society
  • Delta Hacks
  • McMaster Competitive Programming 
  • McMaster Start Coding 
  • RoboMaster
  • Sumobot 

This varies from institution to institution. By being in the Faculty of Engineering, there are more opportunities for collaboration on industry projects with engineering applications. 

In addition, there is a significant amount of cross-over in courses amongst CS, Software Engineering, and even Mechatronics Engineering within the Faculty. 

Summer Prep

The EMBER math and coding modules will help prepare you for your first year. In addition, the #FireballFamily Events that are integrated will help you to build your community within the Faculty of Engineering at McMaster. 

Find out more.

If you are interested in the topics of Physics and Chemistry, you can definitely sign up for it. It would be educational and not cost you anything other than time. However, Chemistry and Physics will probably not help you directly in first year as you won’t be taking these courses as a Computer Science student. 

Yes, we will be offering virtual sessions for students to preview some programming and portfolio building content during the week of August 24th. This optional online program will be available to CS students who want to get a head-start on their university level studies. It is ideal for students with no prior programming knowledge or experience. More information will be available soon. 

Programming experience is not necessary for admission to the Engineering, BTech, or iBioMed programs. First year students take a computing course that specifically teaches you how to code in Python and is taught from the ground up (i.e. assuming you have no experience in this area). If you would like to get some practice in advance or are curious about coding, check out Codecademy, a site that teaches you how to code (for free!) in a variety of languages.