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Engineering & Society Program

The Engineering & Society program is the only one of its kind in Canada. With our program, you'll accelerate your understanding of how to be a sustainable engineer. We give you the freedom to pave your own path with complementary electives that build on the conventional engineering curriculum and give you the tools you need to be a creative, inquisitive, well-rounded engineer.

About the Program

Welcome to Engineering & Society

Visit us in JHE-316 - located on the third floor of the John Hodgins Engineering Building 

Office hours: Monday-Friday 9:00 AM - 4:00 PM

 

What is Engineering & Society?

Engineering & Society is a unique five-year degree that is the only one of its kind in North America. By combining a traditional engineering education and exclusive courses, engineering students will be provided with stronger communication skills and problem-solving skills, a deeper understanding of human-centred design,  and a multidisciplinary outlook for a rapidly evolving society.

The Latest News featuring our Engineering & Society Students and Alumni

Three students selected for Wilson Leadership Scholar Award

May 17, 2021 / Source: Daily News

Three students selected for Wilson Leadership Scholar Award

Christopher Schankula, Engineering and Society student, is one of three Wilson Leadership Scholars

Introducing the 2020 co-op students of the year and future leaders

March 26, 2021

Introducing the 2020 co-op students of the year and future leaders

McMaster Engineering students Kevin Perera and Ayesha Bhutto have been recognized for making an exceptional contribution to co-operative education.

Bringing Black history to life

February 23, 2021

Bringing Black history to life

From authors to activists to engineers, the Periodic Table of Canadian Black History celebrates the men and women whose contributions have shaped our country. And thanks to Isabela Ozamiz, it’s now bringing the stories of Black Canadians to students across the country.

Admissions

To be accepted to the Engineering & Society 5-year program students must successfully complete Level I Engineering.

For more information on the Engineering & Society program contact Cameron Churchill, the Director of Engineering & Society, by phone at 905-525-9140, extension 23179, by email at church@mcmaster.ca o. Alternatively, you may contact Anna Sciascetti, the Administrator of Engineering & Society, by phone at 905-525-9140, extension 27679, by email at sciasce@mcmaster.ca.

NOTE: In cases where demand for any program exceeds its capacity, allocation to the program will be done on a competitive basis.

ENGINEER 3CW3

How to Change the World

ENGINEER 3CW3 is the collaborative, multi-university ‘How to Change the World’ course.

This course is being offered in Winter 2023.

ENGINEER 3CW3 is an interdisciplinary and multi-university project-based course focused on positively impacting the complex sustainability challenges faced by communities around the world.

Throughout this course, students work in small (three to five-person) interdisciplinary and multi-university teams in order to:

  • identify and understand a well-defined sustainability (social and/or environmental) problem faced by a real-world community; and

  • devise, design, and propose an implementable idea for positively impacting that problem.

During the course, teams are introduced to a variety of interdisciplinary methods for identifying and interrogating the social, environmental, and technological dimensions of both their chosen sustainability problem and their proposed solution. Each student is also provided with guidance and support for understanding how the skills and knowledge of the discipline(s) they are studying can be applied to tackling complex sustainability challenges.

Course Syllabus 

If you have any questions, please e-mail the McMaster Engineering co-instructor Kyle Ansilio (ansilikf@mcmaster.ca).

Participating Institutions

University of Waterloo

University of Toronto

Toronto Metropolitan University

Queen's University

Ontario Tech University

Memorial University

McMaster University

McGill University

Lakehead University

École de Technologie Supérieure

Conestoga College

 

Apply before December 7th, 2022!

Apply Now! 

Please note that any information entered in this form is done so voluntarily and is collected by How to Change the World. For any McMaster Engineering students that have questions about this application, please contact Kyle Ansilio (ansilikf@mcmaster.ca)

Work with diverse colleagues

Work with diverse colleagues

You will meet and work in a team with exceptional colleagues from a broad range of disciplines, backgrounds, and cultures.

Be guided by global experts

Be guided by global experts

Your team will be guided by a diverse array of world-class educators, and mentored by a global network of leading experts.

Develop future-proof skills

Develop future-proof skills

From human-centered design to digital collaboration, you will develop the mindsets, skills, and ability to thrive in a dynamic world.

Tackle real-world challenges

Tackle real-world challenges

Your team will explore and tackle the UN Sustainable Development Goals in partnership with real local communities and stakeholders.

FAQ - Frequently Asked Questions

 
 To enable students from multiple universities to work together, this course is delivered virtually. Students will be provided with all the virtual teamwork and collaboration tools they will require for the course. (There will also be the opportunity for students to engage with other enrolled students from their own university.)

To maximize the availability of this course, multiple sections will be offered for the Winter Term of 2023, each with a different schedule for the three weekly synchronous hours. However, depending on how many students enroll in these sections, some sections may not run. Each enrolled student will be in one (and only one) section for the entire term. Please note that you will be asked in your application to identify all of the sections that you would be able to attend:

  • Option 1 – Mondays & Wednesdays 5:30pm to 7:00pm Eastern Time

  • Option 2 – Mondays & Wednesdays 7:30pm to 9:00pm Eastern Time

  • Option 3 – Tuesdays & Thursdays 5:30pm to 7:00pm Eastern Time

  • Option 4 – Tuesdays 12:30pm to 3:30pm Eastern Time

If your application indicates that you are only available for sections that do not reach minimum enrollment, you will not be offered enrollment in the course. Please indicate as many sections as you are able to attend in your application.

Students should expect to spend an average of between eight to ten (8-10) hours per week on this course across the term (including synchronous course sessions). This course involves three (3) hours of highly-interactive synchronous sessions every week. Full attendance at all of these sessions is expected and required.

The goal is to form teams of four with each student from a different institution. Students from McMaster Engineering will not be placed on the same team.

The course is led by the 'How to Change the World' Teaching Team. This team consists of members from across the world with the founding members originating from University College London in the United Kingdom.

Each participating institution puts forward a co-instructor to assist with administrative and logistical tasks related to the delivery of the course.

25 spots have been reserved for McMaster Engineering. 

Applications will be considered on a first-come-first-served basis, with the evaluation criteria focusing on students’ short statements of interest in the course. However, priority will also be given to ensuring multifaceted diversity – across disciplines and levels of study - within the course. Once the course reaches capacity, students will be put on a waitlist for available spots.

ENGINEER 3CW3 is an approved Engineering complementary studies elective.

All of McMaster University's policies apply to students enrolled in ENGINEER 3CW3. For more information on MSAFs, please review the associated policies linked here.

Applications will close on November 30th, 2022. Students will be offered enrollment on a rolling basis shortly thereafter, with the first batch of students given up to two weeks to complete enrollment on MOSAIC before their spots are given to other applicants. Students will be notified by January 6th, 2023 of the results.

The core courses in the Engineering & Society program examine the complex interactions between technology and society, sustainability, and ethically responsible engineering.

The focus electives you take during your 5-year program will let you pursue a field of study that complements your engineering degree. To view a list of courses available please visit the Academic Calendar and navigate to the course listings page. 

You'll also have the option to pursue a minor in a variety of subjects including business, sustainability, and innovation.

Students in the Society program must take a minimum of 18 units of Focus Electives which can be chosen from any course offered at McMaster outside of the Faculty of Engineering (as long as prerequisites are met). First-year complementary electives do not count towards the 18 units for the Society program.

Level 2

6 Units: ENGSOCTY 2X03, ENGSOCTY 2Y03

3 - 6 Units: Engineering & Society focus electives

Level 3

3 Units: ENGSOCTY 3Y03

3 - 6 Units: Engineering & Society focus electives

Level 4

6 Units: ENGSOCTY 3X03, ENGSOCTY 3Z03

6 Units: Engineering & Society focus electives

Level 5

3 Units: ENGSOCTY 4X03 A/B

3 Units: ENGSOCTY 4Y03

6 Units: Engineering & Society focus electives

Level 2

6 Units: ENGSOCTY 2X03, ENGSOCTY 2Y03

3 Units: Engineering & Society focus electives

Level 3

3 Units: ENGSOCTY 3Y03

6 - 9 Units: Engineering & Society focus electives

Level 4

6 Units: ENGSOCTY 3X03, ENGSOCTY 3Z03

6-9 Units: Engineering & Society focus electives

Level 5

3 Units: ENGSOCTY 4X03 A/B

3 Units: ENGSOCTY 4Y03

3 Units: Engineering & Society focus electives

 

Level 2

6 Units: ENGSOCTY 2X03, ENGSOCTY 2Y03

3 Units: Engineering & Society focus electives

Level 3

6 Units: ENGSOCTY 3Y03, ENGSOCTY 3Z03

6 Units: Engineering & Society focus electives

Level 4

3 Units: ENGSOCTY 3X03

6-9 Units: Engineering & Society focus electives

Level 5

3 Units: ENGSOCTY 4X03 A/B

3 Units: ENGSOCTY 4Y03

3 Units: Engineering & Society focus electives

 

Level 2

6 Units: ENGSOCTY 2X03, ENGSOCTY 2Y03

3 Units: Engineering & Society focus electives

Level 3

6 Units: ENGSOCTY 3Y03, ENGSOCTY 3Z03

3 - 6 Units: Engineering & Society focus electives

Level 4

3 Units: ENGSOCTY 3X03

6-9 Units: Engineering & Society focus electives

Level 5

3 Units: ENGSOCTY 4X03 A/B

3 Units: ENGSOCTY 4Y03

6 Units: Engineering & Society focus electives

 

Level 2

6 Units: ENGSOCTY 2X03, ENGSOCTY 2Y03

3 Units: Engineering & Society focus electives

Level 3

3 Units: ENGSOCTY 3Y03

6 Units: Engineering & Society focus electives

Level 4

6 Units: ENGSOCTY 3X03, ENGSOCTY 3Z03

9 Units: Engineering & Society focus electives

Level 5

3 Units: ENGSOCTY 4X03 A/B

3 Units: ENGSOCTY 4Y03

 

Level 2

6 Units: ENGSOCTY 2X03, ENGSOCTY 2Y03

3 Units: Engineering & Society focus electives

Level 3

3 Units: ENGSOCTY 3Y03

6 - 9 Units: Engineering & Society focus electives

Level 4

6 Units: ENGSOCTY 3X03, ENGSOCTY 3Z03

6-9 Units: Engineering & Society focus electives

Level 5

3 Units: ENGSOCTY 4X03 A/B

3 Units: ENGSOCTY 4Y03

3-6 Units: Engineering & Society focus electives

 

Level 2

6 Units: ENGSOCTY 2X03, ENGSOCTY 2Y03

3 Units: Engineering & Society focus electives

Level 3

3 Units: ENGSOCTY 3Y03

3 Units: Engineering & Society focus electives

Level 4

 

6 Units: ENGSOCTY 3X03, ENGSOCTY 3Z03

9 Units: Engineering & Society focus electives

Level 5

3 Units: ENGSOCTY 4X03 A/B

3 Units: ENGSOCTY 4Y03

3 - 9 Units: Engineering & Society focus electives

Level 2

3 Units: ENGSOCTY 2X03

Level 3

6 Units: ENGSOCTY 2Y03, ENGSOCTY 3Z03

6 Units: Engineering & Society focus electives

Level 4

6 Units: ENGSOCTY 3X03, ENGSOCTY 3Y03

3-6 Units: Engineering & Society focus electives

Level 5

3 Units: ENGSOCTY 4X03 A/B

3 Units: ENGSOCTY 4Y03

6-9 Units: Engineering & Society focus electives

 

Level 2

6 Units: ENGSOCTY 2X03, ENGSOCTY 2Y03

3 Units: Engineering & Society focus electives

Level 3

3 Units: ENGSOCTY 3Y03

3 - 6 Units: Engineering & Society focus electives

Level 4

6 Units: ENGSOCTY 3X03, ENGSOCTY 3Z03

6 Units: Engineering & Society focus electives

Level 5

3 Units: ENGSOCTY 4X03 A/B

3 Units: ENGSOCTY 4Y03

6-9 Units: Engineering & Society focus electives

 

Engineering & Society Core Courses

2X03 – Inquiry in an Engineering Context I

This is the first course in Society, where students will be introduced to the concept of inquiry. Through lectures, workshops, class trips and discussions, students will develop their ability to research, develop and write an inquiry.

  • Develop inquiry and critical thinking skills.
  • Oral and written communication skills are developed through a variety of written assignments, presentations and discussions.
  • Explore and develop interpersonal skills.

2Y03 – Case Studies in History and Technology

Students through means of lectures, discussions, presentations and projects will explore the social and environmental impacts that shaped the evolution of technology. The historical relationship of culture and technology is explored to understand the context of our world today.

  • An understanding of what technology is at its core.
  • Understand the cultural aspects of the evolution of technology.
  • Develop teamwork and problem solving through in class activities and a final presentation.

3X03 – Inquiry in an Engineering Context II

This course builds on skills of inquiry built in previous courses and focuses on the issue of innovation and creativity of technology and the role that engineering has in technology’s development. Through an inquiry presentation in groups, the background, adoption and consequences of technology are explored. Conscious identification of bias is explored through reflection.

  • Understand and recognize the role that personal bias has when discussing and researching a topic.
  • Analyze the implication and effects of a technology in the past, present and future.
  • Develop research strategy skills.
  • Develop the ability to think critically of ideas presented in class discussion.

3Y03 – Technology and Society

This course investigates the underlying relationship between society and technology and the impact engineers have in the development of the interdependent connection between the two, now in the present as well as in the future as the connection becomes more complex. This course includes case studies of current and future technology in society, class discussions and a final group inquiry proposal seminar.

  • Understand the nature of the society-technology relationship.
  • Analyze the social and environmental aspects of the relationship.
  • Understand and appreciate the impact engineering will have in the future of technology and the role engineers will need to have to society.
  • Learn to develop a well structured central question.

3Z03 – Preventative Engineering: Environmental Perspectives

The focus of the course is on sustainability, the natural environment and concepts of preventive engineering. These topics are studied and applied through specific case studies in a series of 10 class field trips. These class trips explore various aspects of industry and urban development.

4X03 – Inquiry in an Engineering Context III

The culmination of the Engineering & Society program is a final individual year long inquiry report that must be presented orally and submitted as a final paper. The topics are of the student’s choice but must relate to connection between technology and society and the implications for a practising engineer. Students are supervised by one faculty member throughout the year.

4Y03 – Society Capstone Design

In multi-disciplinary groups, students will complete a capstone design project that incorporates holistic design, social sustainability and ethical engineering.

  • Define all aspects of the term sustainability
  • Develop alternate solutions through effective brainstorming
  • Evaluate alternatives using qualitative methodologies
  • Synthesize an engineering solution that incorporates social, environmental and economic sustainability

Minors

Although it is not required, many students choose to use their focus electives towards a specific minor that aligns with their specific interests. Minors will usually entail students needing to take more than the minimum number of units for Society. Some courses within the student’s department or Society may count towards minors as well.

Please refer to the Academic Course Calendar found here for specific information regarding focus electives and minors.

Minors Available

Addressing sustainability in our society poses interdisciplinary challenges that require interdisciplinary solutions. Sustainability is frequently taught in silos within individual Faculties, and most often within individual and isolated courses.

The goal of the Sustainability Minor is to alter this pedagogy and teach sustainability both within and across Faculties. The Minor will provide a path for students to study diverse aspects of sustainability from different disciplines and integrate them into a cohesive whole.

The primary responsibility for the governance of the Minor will be held by the Interdisciplinary Minor in Sustainability Committee comprised of an interdisciplinary group of faculty and administrators from the Faculties of Business, Engineering, Health Sciences, Humanities, Science, Social Sciences, and the Arts & Science Program. The Arts & Science Program will host the Minor by managing administrative obligations such as the submission of curricular revisions. Responsibility for advising students rests with the student’s home Faculty.

Read more about the Interdisciplinary Sustainability Minor or contact asp@mcmaster.ca.

Students who are interested in business, but also want to take the Society program, have the ability to use their focus electives toward a minor in business.

Read more about the Business Minor on the current undergraduate calendar.

The minor in innovation is a partnership between the Faculty of Engineering and the DeGroote School of Business and is intended for students from all Faculties who wish to learn more about innovation and develop a level of innovation literacy, as well as those who are themselves innovators and wish to develop skills to create their own enterprise. To meet these varied needs, the minor includes a wide range of courses in innovation which may be taken as standalone courses or as part of the minor.

Read more about the Innovation Minor on the current undergraduate calendar.

Some other popular minors include:

- Minor in Astronomy
- Minor in Economics
- Minor in Geography
- Minor in Philosophy
- Minor in Statistics 

See all the minors offered at McMaster on the current undergraduate calendar.

 

What Inquiry is

Inquiry is a search for understanding through a process of asking questions and seeking answers through research. Inquiry is a question-driven search for an answer.

Kinds (or objects) of understanding:

  • Understanding a phenomenon (identifying causes, factors and effects)
  • Understanding a presumed relationship or claim (testing the validity of a claim)
  • Understanding a controversy (identifying the main issues)
  • Understanding a theory or concept (clarifying and testing)
  • Understanding a process (finding out how something works)

 

What Inquiry is Not

From our experience, many student papers are one or more of the following:

  • Presenting descriptive information on a topic
  • Supporting a thesis by developing only one side of an issue
  • Offering a solution to a problem as a design project

The aim of inquiry is different. It is an attempt to reach an understanding by asking critical questions, seeking answers to those questions through research, and by weighing findings on all sides of an issue.

Student Resources

RMM-801 is the Risk Management Manual and Policy for Field Trips, Research Activities, and Student Placements. For Faculty Members and/or Departments planning Field Trips, please ensure you read this manual carefully and follow the procedures as outlined.

All Field Trips/Research Activities/Student Placements must have an approval form submitted as outlined in the Field Trip Policy Manual, RMM-801. Please ensure all necessary approvals are obtained (based on the level of risk) prior to the date of the trip.

**Any and all field trips with a significant or extreme risk level must have the approval of EOHSS and Senior Management **

Field Trip Checklists and Participant Waiver forms must be filled out by every participant before the trip. Be sure to customize the type of event and type of injury/risk as required.

 Please submit the Checklists and Waiver forms to the Engineering and Society Office (JHE-A214/C) for record-keeping purposes.

Alumni Spotlight

Faculty and Staff

 

 

Instructors

Sessional Lecturer
ENGSOCTY 4Y03

Paul Okrutny

Paul Okrutny

Sessional Lecturer
ENGSOCTY 3Y03

 

Paul Tallon

Paul Tallon

Sessional Lecturer
ENGSOCTY 2Y03

 Sessional Lecturer
ENGSOCTY 3X03

Greg Zilberbrant

Greg Zilberbrant

Sessional Lecturer
ENGSOCTY 3Z03