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Breaking records: Incoming undergraduate fall 2022 class by the numbersSeptember 22, 2022

McMaster Engineering’s incoming undergraduate fall 2022 class is more competitive and includes more women than ever before.

It’s one thing to pay lip service to diversity. It’s another to witness it in action. This year’s incoming fall undergraduate engineering class includes a record-setting percentage of women, as well a higher number of international students than last year.

“We’re proud to welcome a cohort with such a broad range of backgrounds and experiences,” says Lindsay Bolan, Director of Outreach & Engagement, Faculty of Engineering. “These differences fuel innovation and expand the realm of possibility for our students.”

This year, competition was stiffer than ever. McMaster Engineering received more than 16,000 applications for its undergraduate programs, a historic high and a 5 per cent increase over last year’s total.

While numbers alone don’t do justice to the talent and potential of the 2022 incoming class, they point to the strides McMaster Engineering has made in advancing the aims of its EDI Strategy.

A Snapshot of Diversity

  • 40% of incoming engineering (including iBioMed) students are women, a historic high and an increase of nearly 8% since last year alone.
  • The members of the incoming class hail from 61 countries across the globe, further solidifying McMaster Engineering’s reputation as a hub for global diversity. 437 international students who hold citizenship outside of Canada have confirmed their enrollment, an 18.4% jump from 2021.
  • Domestic diversity also continues to increase as nearly 70 students arrive from out-of-province, a 48% increase over 2021 numbers.
  • Incoming Canadian students are arriving from 8 provinces coast-to-coast.
  • Diversity within Ontario is also on the rise, with incoming students representing 413 high schools within the province.


Leveling the Playing Field for Women

Julia Dowson, an incoming student from Mitchell, Ontario, spent her childhood learning hobbies like woodworking and car repair from her father, an engineer. She knew from an early age that she wanted to follow in his footsteps, although she has not yet decided what area of engineering she plans to pursue.

“I was drawn to McMaster for so many reasons,” she says. “It was encouraging to see all the clubs and opportunities available for general first-year engineers, as well as hear from current students about the excellent work-life balance they enjoy.”

Dowson was also enthusiastic to learn that her class would be 40% women. “Compared to other engineering schools, there will be far more women in my cohort,” she says. “That definitely swayed my decision to attend.” Dowson and her fellow women students will discover an active, welcoming community in the McMaster Women in Engineering Society, a student group that offers mentorship, networking, and educational workshops.

“The 40% statistic is the culmination of years of effort to recruit talented women candidates and cultivate an inclusive, empowering environment for them to succeed,” says Heather Sheardown, Dean of the Faculty of Engineering. “It’s exciting to celebrate this historic milestone.”

Engineers Canada reports that women make up only 22% of engineering undergraduate students in Canada and an even more lackluster 13% of licensed engineers.

Increasing gender parity at McMaster Engineering doesn’t only improve students’ educational experience; it also prepares a new generation of women engineers to lead. “Closing the national gender gap starts with increasing the talent pipeline,” says Dean Sheardown. “We still have plenty of ground to cover, but we're confident that we’re on the right track. This incoming class is one like you’ve never seen before.”