EMBER – Faculty of Engineering
Students gathered around a laptop at the EMBER mock lab session


Get a head start on your university career through our flexible, optional pre-university program designed to suit your needs.

  • EMBER program registration now open

    The deadline to register is June 30, 2024
    Register today
  • Part 1: Online Modules

    July & August: Prepare for September through online learning modules in Math, Physics, Chemistry, and Computing designed to help you learn at your own pace. Videos will be available starting in July.

  • Part 2: Live Tutorials & Info Sessions

    August 6 – 16: Crash courses and live tutorials in math, chemistry, physics, and computing will be offered. As well, get to know your Fireball Family through a series of information sessions covering topics ranging from academic advising to identity-based clubs and teams.

  • Part 3: CONNECT Week

    August 19 – 22: CONNECT with classmates and professors in person and get a taste of  McMaster’s hands-on approach to education. Unique and customized workshops will be offered for Engineering, Computer Science, and Bachelor of Technology students (iBioMed has its own CONNECT program). These will include a range of experiences from design-a-thons to other projects, giving you the opportunity to make new friends and learn how to work in teams.

programming tutorial taking place in a lecture hall at EMBER 2023.


See schedules for the live portions of the EMBER 2024 program below.

2024 EMBER tutorial schedule, for August 6 to 16. Each day, physics and math tutorials happen at 9:30 a.m., chemistry and computing at 10:30, Fireball Family info sessions at 11:30, lunch and games at noon, then physics and math at 2:00 p.m., and chemistry and computing at 3:00.
2024 EMBER Fireball Family event schedule, for August 5 to 16. Each info session happens at 11:30 a.m., start on August 6 after the civic holiday the day before. In order from August 6 to 9, the sessions are McMaster Engineering Society, Co-op & Career Services, TalkSpot & Student Wellness, and Academic Advising. In order from August 12 to 16, the sessions are How to Survive First Year, Identity-Based Clubs, Clubs & Teams, EDI in Problem Solving, and Welcome Week Lead-In.
2024 EMBER CONNECT Week schedule for August 19 to 22 for Engineering 1, BTech, and CompSci students, with each day running from 9:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m.. On August 19, activities include Welcome & Introductions at 9:00 a.m., Meet Your Program at 10:00, Campus Tours at 11:00, lunch at noon, Scavenger Hunt at 1:00 p.m., and a Mini Design Challenge at 2:00 p.m.. On August 20, activities include Autodesk Inventor Installation Help at 9:00 a.m., CAD Workshop at 9:30, lunch at noon, Python Workshop at 1:00 p.m., and a Raspberry Pi workshop at 2:30 p.m.. On August 21, activities include a Campus Resources Presentation at 9:00 a.m., a Mock Lab at 10:00, lunch at noon, a MATLAB Workshop at 1:00 p.m., Mock Test at 2:00 p.m., and First-year Tips at 3:00 p.m.. On August 22, activities include a Design Day Intro at 9:00 a.m., Prototyping at 10:00 a.m., lunch at noon, Prototyping at 1:00 p.m., and a Design Showcase with Prizes at 2:00 p.m..
an EMBER staff member and a student working around a computer.


Learn the foundational concepts of engineering with courses in Math, Physics, Chemistry, and Computing, each designed to prepare you for first year courses. You are encouraged to customize your learning experience and can register for one, two, three or all four courses.

Each course will include online modules featuring videos, quizzes, and interactive activities and opportunities to interact with upper-year engineering students through live online tutorials.

From functions to limits and derivatives

  • Algebra: Polynomials, rationals, exponents, radicals, equalities, and inequalities.
  • Linear Algebra: Linear equations, matrices, and Gauss-Jordan elimination.
  • Trigonometry: Radian measure, arc length, trigonometric ratios, identities, functions, and graphing, solving functions, and hyperbolics.
  • Geometry & Vectors: Representing vectors, vector operations, lines, and planes.
  • Functions: Domain and range, evaluating, solving, and creating functions, graphing, and inverse functions.
  • Limits, Derivatives, & Integrals: First principles, differentiation, curve sketching, optimization, summation, antiderivatives, and integrals.

From kinematics to gravitational, electric and magnetic fields

  • Kinematics: Vectors, 1D and 2D motion, and uniform circular motion.
  • Forces: Free body diagrams, Newton’s laws of motion, and types of forces.
  • Dynamics: 1D/2D motion and forces, rotational motion and forces, and torque.
  • Work & Energy: Work, energy, and conservation of energy.
  • Momentum & Impulse: Impulse and momentum, law of conservation of momentum, and angular momentum.
  • Oscillating Motion: Oscillation and simple harmonic motion.
  • Electricity & Circuits: Electric fields and DC circuits.
  • Magnetism: Magnetic fields and electric charges in magnetic fields.

From ideal gas law to thermochemistry

  • Ideal Gas Law: Moles, ideal gas equation, & partial pressure.
  • Structures & Properties of Matter: Atomic structure, quantum model of the atom, periodic trends, chemical bonding, Lewis structures, VSEPR theory, and chemical solutions.
  • Chemical Reactions: Balancing reactions, stoichiometry, redox reactions, and galvanic cells.
  • Chemical Equilibrium: Dynamic equilibrium, Le Chatelier’s principle, equilibrium concentrations, and solubility.
  • Acids & Bases: Brønsted-Lowry theory, acid/base strength, and acid-base equilibrium.
  • Thermochemistry: System and properties, energy, work, first law of thermodynamics, enthalpy, Hess’ law, heat of formation, and bond enthalpy.

From introduction to programming to functions

  • Introduction to Programming: Algorithms, flowcharts, pseudocode, statement-by-statement execution, and computer architecture.
  • Python Basics: Variables, assigning, printing, computations, and lists.
  • If-Elif-Else Statements: Comparison operators, conditional statements (if-elif-else), and logical operators.
  • Loops: For loops, range function, and while loops.
  • Nested Structures: Nested control, decision, and repetition structures.
  • Functions: Function basics and main functions.
three students conducting an experiment with a bouncy ball.

Frequently asked questions

Registration for EMBER 2024 is open now and closes on June 30. You can register at this link.

EMBER is focused on helping students get up to speed on important high school concepts in Physics, Math, and Chemistry, but does introduce some early concepts taught in first year. The Computing course introduces the basics of programming and assumes no previous programming knowledge, but may also be useful for students with programming experience to review. It is meant to give students confidence as they enter their first year, when computing will be introduced.

There are four courses to choose from in EMBER (Math, Physics, Chemistry, and Computing). Each course consists of asynchronous modules and live tutorials. The asynchronous content varies in duration between 30 minutes to 1.5 hours for each module. These are pre-recorded modules that students can do on their own time throughout the summer. The live tutorial sessions in August are each approximately 50 minutes in length.

The asynchronous video modules and synchronous live tutorials are held virtually, while the CONNECT week is in-person. Students may also participate only in the virtual components if they wish.

Yes, students can choose to register for one, two, three, or all four courses.

During the real-time tutorial weeks, the EMBER courses run every day at the listed times on the Live Tutorials schedule on this page. Each workshop is run twice to allow students to attend every workshop if they wish.

Yes! Even if you are unable to attend any of the live tutorials, you can still register for EMBER and sign up for each course to get access to the course’s recorded sessions. You can choose to watch the recorded sessions at your earliest convenience.

This program is designed to ease your worries. It will support you, help you make the transition to university a smooth one and will welcome you a little early to the Fireball Family.

Heather Sheardown, Dean, Faculty of Engineering at McMaster University