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Academic Advising – Your First Year

Congratulations and Welcome to Mac Eng First Years!

You’ve put in years of hard work, countless late night study sessions, hours spent volunteering in your community, and endless team meetings. And it’s led you to McMaster Engineering… congratulations and welcome! As you embark on an exciting new chapter ahead, know that you will be supported by the McMaster Engineering Academic Advising Office! Our team of advisors are here to provide any guidance or support throughout your undergraduate experience. 

Your First Year

Learn everything you need to know about mapping out your first year in each of our four programs! This is highly encouraged reading for all incoming first-year students. 

Information Box Group


Here is a list of hot topics and links to the top questions to help prepare you for your first year!

Still can’t find what you’re looking for? Visit our Virtual Helpdesk, Monday to Friday from 9:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. or by emailing for further support!

Academic Advising

To book an appointment, please email or visit our Virtual Helpdesk Monday – Friday 9:30 a.m. – 3:30 p.m. Be sure to include your full name, McMaster Student number and program in that email. To directly email your Academic Advisor with questions you may have, please see the “Get In Touch With Us” tab at the top of the page.


After you enrol for courses in July, you will be able to generate a verification/proof of enrolment letter.

Incoming first year students are unable to take any courses prior to starting in September. However, you will have access to take spring/summer courses the summer after your first year.

Summer school courses that are taken during the summer immediately prior to the September a student intends to commence studies at McMaster cannot be used for admission purposes.

Free Choice is granted to incoming Engineering and iBioMed students with a high admissions average. With Free Choice, you are guaranteed your first choice of program after first year. Exceptions to the free choice are: Chemical & Bioengineering, as well as the Management and Society options.

iBioMed students with Free Choice can select both their second year degree (Heath, Engineering Science and Entrepreneurship or Biomedical Engineering) and their second year engineering discipline, if choosing Biomedical Engineering.

Please note that even without Free Choice, many of our students are admitted into their first choice of program after first year.

Bachelor of Technology and Computer Science programs have direct entry and Free Choice does not apply.


The Engineering Co-op Program provides undergraduate students with the opportunity to gain valuable engineering work experiences before they graduate. Co-op gives students an opportunity to apply academic knowledge outside the classroom, enhance their academic experience through paid employment and gain a competitive edge for the workforce.

The co-op program combines academic study with flexible work terms of durations from four to 16-months in length. Our co-op structure means you can complete work terms when and where it makes sense for you. Please visit the co-op website for further details.

If you are hoping to do co-op but did not apply through OUAC, you’ll need to apply to co-op now. Please fill out this opt-in form and once you complete it, email it to

If you are in the Bachelor of Technology program, you do not need to apply as co-op is a program requirement for all students.

Getting a co-op job interview requires a high-quality resume and cover letter. Beginning in your first year of academic studies, Engineering Co-op & Career Services (ECCS) will work with you to perfect these documents. For personalized support, be sure to book an appointment with the ECCS office to get expert advice and tips on optimizing your cover letter and resume. Click here to find cover letter/resume samples for your program.

This course is a pass or fail course and does not affect your GPA. It cannot be counted as an elective course.

The course runs for five weeks and gives you the skills you will need to be a successful co-op student (e.g. how to write a cover letter, how to answer interview questions, where to search for positions, etc.).

If you chose the co-op stream when you applied or are in the Bachelor of Technology program, you are automatically enrolled in the online co-op course for the Fall term. You can also choose to take the course in the Winter term.

However, if you are a Computer Science student, you will have to register for ENGINEER 1EE0 during course enrolment.

Course Enrolment

Every student will have a specific enrolment appointment, which is the designated time you’re allowed to go into Mosaic and enrol into each of your courses. You can find your enrolment appointment in the Student Centre on the right-hand side. Click on “open enrolment dates” to find your specific enrolment appointment.

You may enrol any time after your enrolment appointment date/time opens. You will be unable to change your enrolment time.

Please visit Dates and Deadlines from the Office of the Registrar for more information.

It’s important to note that courses are filled on a first-come, first-served basis after your enrolment appointment.

Your Shopping Cart is where you’ll put classes before you enrol into them. It’s just like buying the things you love, but for your brain. You can add or remove courses from your Shopping Cart as you plan your timetable. Access it in ‘Create My Timetable’ and in your ‘Student Centre’.

For more information about course enrolment, please visit the Registrar’s Office ‘MyTimetable’ page.

For Engineering, BTech, and iBioMed: 

  • Students are automatically enroled in required courses (classes, labs, tutorials)
  • Your conflict-free timetable will be given to you
  • You will have a well-balanced schedule with all your required courses
  • Due to the complexity of the schedules, students are unable to make any adjustments

For Computer Science:

Students will have to create their own timetable

Please refer to the Dates and Deadlines from the Office of the Registrar.

You can access MyTimetable before your enrolment begins. However, all Engineering 1, BTech and iBioMed students will have their timetable automatically generated for their required courses.

Every student will have a specific enrolment appointment, which is the designated time you’re allowed to go into Mosaic and enrol into each of your courses. We suggest you are prepared with a couple of options for your electives as it is not guaranteed that you will be given a seat for those courses.

EMBER & Transition

We highly recommend that you consider enrolling in EMBER which is our 3-week free online summer bridging program that will cover topics in Physics, Chemistry, and Math. Please visit the EMBER web page for full details.

Each course is approximately 55 minutes in length, and there are three courses (math, physics and chemistry) from which to choose.

You would have received a McMaster Student number on your initial acknowledgement email from McMaster when you applied. Your Student number can also be found on your conditional offer letter.

We do not have a section dedicated to waves, but we will cover oscillatory motion and simple harmonic motion.

You can register for EMBER on the EMBER web page.

EMBER is focused on helping students get caught up to speed for the required courses in Physics, Math, Computing and Chemistry. No new information beyond high school curriculum will be taught.

All incoming first-year students will automatically be admitted to the Archway Program. Archway is a support team at McMaster that works with all incoming first-year students from the day they are accepted and right up until second year. You will be connected with an Archway Coach and Mentor who will take the time to understand your goals and what you want out of your McMaster experience. This professional team will partner with you throughout the year to make sure you are connected to the right information, people and fellow students to make your year a success.

First-Year Classes, Labs and Exams

Incoming first year students are unable to take any courses prior to starting in September. However, you will have access to take spring/summer courses the summer after your first year.

Textbooks can be obtained from the Campus Store. Please visit their Textbook FAQs page for more information.

Any exams and labs will be at the discretion of your professor. Please contact your professor for more details. 

Professors and TAs will communicate with students through McMaster’s learning platform, Avenue to Learn, about how and when they can be reached.

Students should book an appointment with the Student Accessibility Office in the summer to set up their accommodations.


Please continue to apply for your study permit as normal.

For assistance with study permits and visas, please contact Additionally, please visit the Student Success Centre website for detailed information on the study permit application process.

For more information on how and when you will have to pay, please visit Registrar’s Office tuition page

For more information on the supports available to International students, please visit International Student Services.

All information and updates related to COVID-19 and travel and quarantine measures are posted on the International Student Services home page. The ISS team updates this page regularly.

Our iCent app is required for all new and returning international students. Signing up for iCent ensures that McMaster has the necessary information to best support and enable you to make the most of your time at McMaster. Visit International Student Services to learn more and sign up.

Level 2

Admission to Level 2 Engineering programs requires completion of all 31 units of required Engineering 1 courses. Students must maintain a Cumulative Grade Point Average (GPA) of 4.0 out of a 12.0.

All programs have limited enrolment; should there be more applicants than the limiting number in any program, admission to that program will be based on the students Cumulative Grade Point Average. A student in Engineering 1 whose Grade Point Average (GPA) is less than 4.0 out of 12.0 can no longer continue in Engineering.

Your experience in Engineering 1 will allow you to explore different engineering disciplines so that you can make a more informed decision of what upper-year discipline you would like to study.

At the end of your first year, you will choose one of 10 program disciplines.

Students can also choose one of the five-year programs by selecting the Engineering & Management or Engineering & Society options.

Bachelor of Technology and Computer Science students have direct entry into Level 2.

Academic Advisors will work with Faculty of Engineering students to come up with a course load that works best for them. Some students choose to complete summer school courses after their first year to reduce their Fall and Winter course load.

For Engineering 1 & iBioMed 1: a minimum of 31 units of the Engineering 1 required coursework and 34 for units of the iBioMed 1 required coursework is required to move to Level 2.  Some of these required courses, as well as electives, are available in the Spring/Summer session. Courses taken in the Spring/Summer session will not change your program eligibility for Level 2 Engineering (this applies only to those who will be progressing to Level 2 in the following academic year).  

Students have the option to withdraw from courses during the Fall or Winter term without academic penalty. Tuition reimbursements vary depending on the timing of the withdrawal. Visit Registrar’s Office course cancellation schedule for details.

Students should reach out to their Advisor before withdrawing from courses.

Minors & Electives

You don’t have to register for a minor. However, minors do consist of at least 24 units of course work. We encourage you to see the specific course requirements for minors in the Undergraduate Academic Calendar. Please speak with your academic advisor for assistance with course planning.

You cannot do a double degree in two Faculty of Engineering programs. However, there may be an option of pursuing a double degree with a second degree in a different faculty. Please speak with your Academic Advisor for details.

Engineering students can, however, choose one of the five-year programs by selecting the Engineering & Management or Engineering & Society options. The Management option combines the requirements of McMaster’s four-year Engineering program in your chosen discipline with the core requirements of a Commerce degree. The Society option adds study in areas focusing on social implications of engineering and non-technical electives.

You cannot do a dual degree in both Software Engineering and Computer Science. They are separate programs covering similar content, but have different degree requirements. Please note that you also cannot do a minor in Computer Science if enrolled in the Software Engineering program.

Engineering is an accredited program which requires students to obtain a certain amount of courses outside of technical courses.

If you wish to enrol in Econ 1B03 so you can be eligible for consideration for Level 2 Engineering & Management and the course is full or if you receive a reserve capacity error, please contact your Academic Advisor.

If a student wishes to use a course towards their complementary studies elective requirements, then it must be from the approved Complementary Elective list.

There is a maximum of 21 units per term for Engineering 1 and iBioMed, and 15 units per term for Computer Science 1 and Bachelor of Technology 1 programs.

Engineering 1 students are required to complete two Level 1 elective courses whereas iBioMed students are required to complete one Level 1 elective course. Please visit the academic calendar elective course page for the official list. However, students should note that courses with a § are not acceptable for the six-unit complementary studies elective required in Engineering 1 or the three-unit complementary studies elective required in Integrated Biomedical Engineering and Health Sciences 1.

Bachelor of Technology students follow a set schedule from day one. Electives are not a required part of the program.

Computer Science students are required to complete two Level 1 elective courses.

Please visit the Academic Calendar for the required courses for your first-year program. In addition, you will find descriptions about these courses.

It depends on your specific program requirements. Please connect with your Academic Advisor for further support.

Mosaic, Mac ID & Email

As a new student, you need a McMaster Student Photo ID card. Your student card is an important piece of photo identification that is required for writing exams.

Please upload your photo by July 20th in order to create your student card. Please visit your Mosaic Student Centre (Personal Information > Demographic Data) to upload your photo. More information can be found on the Registrar’s Office ‘What’s Next’ page.

If you have any further questions please contact the Registrar’s Office using their online chat.

Once you have your MAC ID set up and have enrolled in your courses, your McMaster email will become active. A link to your McMaster email will be sent to your applicant email address. Please continue to monitor your applicant email address in the meantime. More details can be found on the Registrar’s Office ‘What’s Next’ page.

You will gain further access to your Mosaic once you enrol in your courses, and additionally once you begin your courses in the fall.

Student Life

Technology & Internet

In terms of technical specifications for a laptop, an i5 processor and 8 GB of RAM should be sufficient. Additionally, ensuring that your computer has enough storage is essential – if it doesn’t, then investing in an external hard drive can help with creating additional space.

The University Library has many services that can be accessed to support your research and learning needs. Please visit the library website for more information.

Transfer Credit

Engineering, iBioMed, and Computer Science students may receive transfer credit for AP, IB, and GCE courses, but it is Faculty of Engineering policy that no math or science courses are eligible. Therefore, you may apply to receive transfer credit for electives only, and only a select number of units. Unfortunately BTech students are unable to receive transfer credit, as they have no electives in their first-year curriculum.

We suggest you connect with your Academic Advisor in July/August to be reviewed for transfer credit.

Please refer to the Future Students website for further information on transfer credit policy.

Transferring Programs

Switching programs as a McMaster student may be possible, but not guaranteed depending on your academics and space in the program. We recommend getting in touch with your current Academic Advisor to discuss the process of transferring.

Applications to transfer into another first-year program would only happen once per year (i.e. for September every year).

You’ll work with your Academic Advisor to come up with a plan.


For further questions regarding tuition please contact the Office of the Registrar.

Please explore McMaster work programsMcMaster scholarships and bursaries, and information listed on the Registrar’s Office Aid & Awards hub once you’re officially a student at McMaster.

The Registrar’s Office fees & payment page is a great resource for learning more about overall tuition costs. You can also use the Cost Estimator for more information.

Your total fee will populate in Mosaic after you enrol in your courses. Please visit the Registrar’s Office fees & payment page.

You will not be required to have paid anything prior to registering for EMBER. Please note that registration for EMBER is free of charge. Please visit the EMBER web page for more information.

For more information on how and when you will have to pay, please visit the Registrar’s Office tuition page.