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.

Our goals

  • Academic success

    To prepare students entering into Level 1 Faculty of Engineering programs for academic success by teaching and reinforcing foundational concepts in Math, Physics, Chemistry and Computing.

  • Social success

    To prepare students entering into Level 1 Faculty of Engineering programs for social success by introducing and connecting the students to each other, upper-year students, staff, faculty member, and clubs in engineering. Get to know the #FireballFamily!


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.

AUGUST 2024. Exact dates TBA.

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.

August 2024. Exact dates TBA.

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, iBioMed, Computer Science, and Bachelor of Technology students. These will include a range of experiences from hack-a-thons to other projects, giving you the opportunity to make new friends and learn how to work in teams.


Learn the foundational concepts of engineering with courses in Math, Physics, and Chemistry. You are encouraged to customize your learning experience. Courses are offered in two formats: real-time and pre-recorded. You can also 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


  • Evaluate and solve various types of functions: logarithmic, exponential, polynomial, rational
  • Connect equations of functions to graphs
  • Evaluate and solve inequalities
  • Using functions to solve problems


  • Determine and apply trigonometric ratios
  • Understand and apply radian measures
  • Connect equations to graphs of trigonometric functions
  • Solve problems involving trigonometric functions

Limits and Derivatives

  • Understand rate of change at a point
  • Understand the concept and properties of limits and derivatives
  • Connect equations of functions and their derivatives to graphs
  • Solve problems using derivatives

Geometry and Vectors

  • Represent vectors algebraically and geometrically
  • Perform operations with vectors
  • Describe lines and planes using linear, scalar, vector, and parametric equations

From kinematics to gravitational, electric and magnetic fields


  • Understand and solve problems relating to uniform and non-uniform linear motion in one and two-dimensions
  • Apply concepts related to kinematics to analyze real-life technologies


  • Demonstrate an understanding of the forces involved in uniform circular motion and motion in a plane
  • Solve problems related to forces involved in uniform circular motion and motion in a plane


  • Understand and apply concepts related to Newton’s laws, net force, acceleration, and mass to solve problems
  • Understand the relationship between velocity and unbalanced forces

Energy and Momentum

  • Demonstrate an understanding of and solve problems relating to work, energy, momentum, and the laws of conservation of energy and conservation of momentum, in one and two dimensions.

Gravitational, Electric and Magnetic Fields

  • Demonstrate an understanding of the concepts, properties, principles, and laws related to gravitational, electric, and magnetic fields and their interactions with matter
  • Solve problems related to gravitational, electric, and magnetic fields

From ideal gas law to thermochemistry

Ideal Gas Law

  • Demonstrate understanding of the laws that explain the behavior of gases
  • Investigate and solve problems relating to gas laws and the behavior of gases

Acid and Bases

  • Understand the Arrhenius theory of acid and bases
  • Understand and solve problems related to degree of ionization, strong and weak acids/bases
  • Understand and perform calculations related to buffer solutions

Structure and Properties of Matter

  • Investigate the molecular shapes and physical properties of various types of matter
  • Demonstrate an understanding of atomic structure and chemical bonding, and how they relate to the physical properties of ionic, molecular, covalent network, and metallic substances.

Chemical Reactions

  • Investigate and solve problems related to energy changes and rates of reactions in physics and chemical processes

Chemical Equilibrium

  • Understand concepts relating to chemical systems at equilibrium and variables that cause shifts in equilibrium
  • Solve problems related to chemical systems and dynamic equilibrium using Le Chatelier’s principle, equilibrium constants, pH, and ionization constant of water


  • Demonstrate understanding and solve problems related to oxidation-reduction reactions
  • Demonstrate understanding and solve problems related to a galvanic cell and electrochemical reactions


  • Investigate concepts related to the laws of thermodynamics, enthalpy, entropy, and free energy
  • Solve problems on heats of reaction and chemical equilibrium in terms of enthalpy, entropy, and free energy

From introduction to programming to functions

Introduction to Programming

  • Algorithms
  • Flowcharts
  • Computer Architecture
  • Statement-by-statement Execution

Variables and Expressions

  • Variables
  • Expressions
  • Printing and input
  • Lists

If Statements

  •  If statements structure
  •  Algorithms with if-statements


  • Loop control structures
  • Algorithms with loops

Nested Structures

  • Nested control structures
  • Nested loops and if-statements


  • Creating and using functions
  • Parameters, arguments, return values
  • Clarissa, Engineering 1

    “EMBER was a great way to solidify my knowledge while figuring out how to learn in a new fast paced environment. The LRA’s made going to tutorials something I looked forward to, and they were always willing to answer questions about content, university life, or even just chat. I am so glad that I participated in EMBER, as I feel much more confident going into the start of first year!”

  • Halima, Engineering 1

    “I loved being able to receive in-depth learning through the modules, tutorials and practice assessments which allowed me to focus my time on each course based on my comfort level. All of the LRAs were super friendly and I really appreciated the flexibility of being able to attend live-sessions and also re-watching the recorded sessions for further clarity. Most of all, I really loved getting to interact with other incoming students, attending the fireball family events & getting to ask upper-years questions ranging from course material to study tips and advice. This has been a great welcome to the MacEng community and I can’t wait to see what else this program has in store for us!”

  • Nihal, Computer Science

    “EMBER was the perfect build up to what the courses would look like in the first year. With friendly and excellent LRA’s , the EMBER program was able to help us interact and learn different concepts ranging from Computers , Physics , Maths and Chemistry. The support was second to none , and would do it all over again. Well done!!”

  • Emeline, iBioMed

    “Participating in EMBER was a great way to brush up on old content, as well as check for any learning gaps I had before entering my first year at McMaster in the iBioMed program! It helped me feel a lot more prepared, and I’d definitely recommend it for any incoming first years.”

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

Frequently asked questions

Registration opens in May and closes in July.

EMBER is focused on helping students get up to speed for the required Physics, Math, and Chemistry courses. No new information beyond the high school curriculum will be taught. Also this year, EMBER has a new Computing course that introduces the basics of programming. It assumes no previous programming knowledge and 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 are each approximately 50 minutes in length.

Connect Week will have in-person workshops with a live-stream option.

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

During the real-time tutorial sessions, the EMBER courses run every day at the listed times provided during registration. If you are registering for more than one course, be sure to choose different time slots for each course to build your schedule for the two weeks.

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

If you have signed up for a time you can no longer attend, make sure to email us at ember@mcmaster.ca and we can assign you to another time slot that suits your schedule. Moreover, if you need to attend a different time for a specific day because of scheduling issues, we are happy to accommodate you, just send us an email!

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