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Experiential Learning

Engineering students learning engineering skills everywhere.

Students develop important leadership, technical and teamwork skills by taking part in on-campus clubs and teams, through volunteering in their local community or by participating in industry-sponsored activities.

Why experiential learning?

Experiential education provides students with hands-on learning opportunities beyond the traditional lecture-style format.

We are challenged to re-imagine engineering education as a holistic approach to educating the “whole” engineer. The “whole” engineer is:

  • A skilled analytical thinker
  • A creative and inventive designer
  • Adept at communicating technical and non-technical concepts and information to technical and non-technical audiences
  • Societally aware and emotionally intelligent; self-aware
  • Poised and professional, collaborative and presenting as an engineering leader
  • Thoughtful and reflective.

Out of classroom experiences, such as joining a club, team or society, volunteering in your community or participating in a student event can educate the whole engineer.


Do you want to increase your leadership skills? Do you care about your community? Want to improve your technical skills? Get involved.

Volunteer/Experiential Posting Board

Volunteer/Experiential Posting Board

The Engineering Experiential posting board on OSCARplus is the place where you can find activities such as volunteering in your community or industry-sponsored competitions. 
New opportunities posted weekly!

Join a Club or Team

Join a Club or Team

Provide skills, learn new ones and make friends that last a lifetime!

McMaster Engineering Society (MES)

McMaster Engineering Society (MES)

Play a part in shaping the student experience. The MES has many roles to fill and they need students with passion and commitment.
Are you ready for the challenge?

Short-term Opportunities

Have a morning, a day or a weekend? Why not try out these opportunities!



Attending a hackathon is a must-have for today's tech students. Lots of top employers, lots of coding, not much sleep and yes, lots of fun!

McMaster Engineering Competition (MEC)

McMaster Engineering Competition (MEC)

Grab a group of friends and spend the weekend in a true engineering challenge.
Held in late October over 2 days with lot's of great food, prizes and a chance to attend the Ontario Engineering Competition! 

Student-run Events

Student-run Events

There are loads of student-run events that you can attend. From industry nights, to code nights to game nights, there is always something going on for you to mix and mingle with your peers, industry and the community. 

Check out the Engineering Experiential Calendar to find out what's happening! 


Increase Your Campus Profile

Engineering students engage in several student-run clubs, teams and events. These activities need industry support to be successful and sustainable. By sponsoring student activity, your company can reach out to students in a meaningful way, enhancing your on-campus brand and recruitment needs. Events include hackathons, competitions and industry nights.

Find out more...

Gerald Hatch Centre



The Gerald Hatch Centre for Engineering Experiential Learning serves as the central hub for student-focused experiential learning initiatives. 

The Hatch Centre offers 28,000 sq. feet of space for transformative learning experiences where students can actively take charge of their education and career and professional development:  our students will be hands-on and minds-on, developing their skills and competencies as future leaders in engineering, entrepreneurship and innovation.

McMaster Engineering undergraduate students contributed $2-million and helped design the three-storey, 28,000-square-foot building, which will be a hub for several engineering teams, clubs, societies, student support services and collaborative workspace. Construction is expected to be complete by early 2017.

The building’s namesake, Gerald G. Hatch, the late founder and first president of the global engineering consultancy Hatch, generously donated $2 million toward the project. As well, several Hatch employees contributed funds with the company matching donations, totalling more than $1 million. Gennum Corporation co-founder Doug & June Barber contributed $1.5 million and former Chairman and CEO of the Timberland Group of Companies Walter G. Booth donated $1 million.

Equipped with meeting rooms, large building spaces and shared workspaces, the Hatch Centre has been designed as a hub for the Faculty’s 5,000 undergraduate engineering students to collaborate on projects and share ideas to foster experiential learning and support work being done in the classroom.

7 best spots for students in the new Hatch Centre

October 17, 2017

7 best spots for students in the new Hatch Centre

The grand opening event for the new Gerald Hatch Centre for Engineering Experiential Learning took place on Wednesday, October 18. We invited current and future students to get familiar with this new space!

McMaster University’s Faculty of Engineering opens new student centre dedicated to hands-on learning

October 18, 2017

McMaster University’s Faculty of Engineering opens new student centre dedicated to hands-on learning

Faculty, students and honoured guests gather today to celebrate the official opening of the new $11-million Gerald Hatch Centre for Engineering Experiential Learning.

Hands-on learning outside the classroom will soon be worth an engineering course credit

May 4, 2017

Hands-on learning outside the classroom will soon be worth an engineering course credit

Starting this fall, McMaster University’s Faculty of Engineering will be offering the Experiential Learning Design course to those who participate in a technically focused club or team.



ENGINEER 4EX3 - Experiential Engineering Course Credit

One of the first of its kind in Canada, ENGINEER 4EX3 provides third and fourth year engineering students with an opportunity to receive formal recognition of experiential learning conducted within the atmosphere of technically-oriented McMaster Engineering teams such as Solar Car, Chem-E-Car, Concrete Toboggan, Baja SAE, EcoCar3, Formula Electric, and Rocketry.  
Students who are active participants in a team may seek their team faculty advisor’s permission to enroll in this course. This pass-fail course is used as a 3 credit technical elective as credit towards a student's degree. Students learn how to build a portfolio showcasing their extracurricular work, an asset when applying for a job or co-op.

To learn more about the course, email Elizabeth Hassan, Assistant Professor, Engineering 1 & Mechanical Engineering. 

To register for ENGINEER 4EX3

Please complete both the Engineering Permission form and the ENGINEER 4EX3 Course enrollment form, and email them to Elizabeth Hassan, the course instructor.

Engineering Permission Form

ENG 3CX3 Enrolment Form 


Hands-on learning outside the classroom will soon be worth an engineering course credit

May 4, 2017

Hands-on learning outside the classroom will soon be worth an engineering course credit

Starting this fall, McMaster University’s Faculty of Engineering will be offering the Experiential Learning Design course to those who participate in a technically focused club or team.

ENGINEER 3CX3 - Experiential Learning in Complementary Studies

Calling all non-technical club and team members!

ENGINEER 3CX3 is a new course being offered to provide students with the opportunity to earn course credit for valuable experiential learning which occurs while heavily involved in extracurricular clubs and groups. For 3CX3, the student’s role and work must be non-technical in nature, as this course is meant to be the complementary elective version of the technical course for experiential credit offered already (Engineer 4EX3).

What is a non-technical role? There are too many to list here, but could be positions with the McMaster Engineering Society (MES), MacChangers, Engineers Without Borders, Women in Engineering, Engineering Musical, etc. Basically, these are roles that do not involve the technical side of students’ engineering skillset (design, calculations, simulations, programming, etc.), but focus more on complementary skillsets (teamwork, project management, leadership, communications, etc.)

The course is structured to maximize the value of the skills students learn during extracurriculars, to develop additional relevant skills, and to better articulate the skills students possess going forward.  Classroom time will largely be structured in a workshop-style format, relying heavily on peer-to-peer interactions, and will focus on developing skills such as:

  • leadership and management,
  • self-directed learning,
  • teamwork and conflict management,
  • communication,
  • budgeting and sponsorship, etc.

Students will choose from different deliverables that align with their goals and their extracurricular duties, allowing students to track progress throughout the year, resulting in a tangible outcome demonstrating the skills that have been developed. This pass-fail course is a 3 credit complementary elective (2 terms, September-April) as credit towards a student’s degree.

To learn more about this course, email Steve Mattucci, the course instructor.

To register for ENGINEER 3CX3

Please complete both the Engineering Permission Form and the ENGINEER 3CX3 Course Enrolment Form, and email them to Steve Mattucci, the course instructor.

Engineering Permission Form

ENG 3CX3 Enrolment Form 

Student Feedback

In developing the course, we hosted over 50 students at four focus groups during the winter of 2019. We learned so much, and we can’t thank the students enough for their participation - the success of the course depends on it.

Some of the main take-aways from those sessions include:

  • Students want to be able to learn from each other, with the classroom structure to be workshop-style, with lots of peer-to-peer interaction, and relevant guests sharing their experiences and expertise.
  • Students want to learn skills that are relevant to their extracurricular roles. These skills include: Leadership and Management, Budgeting/Sponsorship/Marketing, Communications, Teamwork, Impact on Society, and Metacognition and Learning. These will be the topics for many of the classroom ‘workshops’.
  • Students want outputs and assessments (i.e. assignments), to be tangible, and focused on individualized goals. Therefore, we plan to have a ‘grab bag’ approach, where students will have a choice of deliverables that are most relevant to their goals and their extracurricular roles. The end of the year will focus on synthesizing these skills to be highlighted on resumes and job applications.

Frequently Asked Questions - FAQs

This is a challenging question to answer concisely, as students have very different extracurricular experiences and roles. Basically, if you are actively involved in an extracurricular club/ team/group, that requires as much time and effort as one of your courses, and is not technical in nature (i.e. designing the suspension on the Baja car would not count, but coordinating an event, or president of a club likely would) - you are likely eligible. The key here is actively involved - if you are just attending meetings, and don’t hold an official title or role, or actively contribute, then you may not qualify. Feel free to contact Steve to discuss – in the initial offerings of this course, we are still learning which students are most interested in this course.

Yes! You can take this course. However, it wouldn’t count towards your degree.

The course is worth 3 credits, but runs both the fall and winter terms, September to April.

Absolutely! Please indicate this on your registration forms so we can have a better judgment of how the course can suit your needs. 

Absolutely not, we want to make in-class time minimal! Your extracurricular contributions are the primary aspects of earning credit. You will also only need to attend a subset of the classroom workshops each term (likely 4-5 out of a possible 7-8).

Yes you can! Providing you aren’t involved in a technical role (there’s a different course for that!). Again, please indicate what your role is and how you think the course can benefit you, as per the application questions. If you have any more questions about what counts and what doesn’t count, please contact Steve.

Eventually we would like the course to be open to first-year students, however the feedback we received indicated that first year is a time when most students are becoming familiar with extracurricular opportunities, and haven’t yet committed to roles. So for now, the course is only open to students in second year and above.

We have a maximum enrolment limit of 30 students!

Summer Research Program

Our Undergraduate Summer Researchers are students who entered McMaster's Faculty of Engineering with top marks and scholarships. They have just finished their 1st year in the Faculty of Engineering and are now spending their summer working under professors, researchers, and entrepreneurs across campus to gain valuable work experience and create a network of contacts to grow their careers.

Every year, a select group of scholarship winners and other high achieving students are offered an Undergraduate Summer Research Award as part of their offer of admission to the Faculty of Engineering. This is a guaranteed, paid co-op work opportunity on campus for students to give them a head-start in developing their engineering & technology careers.

Student Showcase

Check out these experiential superstars - students who have made an impact on the community, other students, and most importantly, on themselves.