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Engineering I


McMaster's undergraduate Engineering program, with a common first year, allows students to explore all of our degree path options before choosing a focus discipline. 

At McMaster, all undergraduate students take a common first year program, Engineering I. This provides a solid foundation in the fundamentals of engineering disciplines.

Engineering I gives you the opportunity to widen your perspective by taking electives from other faculties. This is important for developing a greater understanding and appreciation of the world in which we live and work. Students choose to take courses in subjects such as philosophy, music, languages, social science and history.

You'll also have the opportunity to bond with all of your peers, regardless of their future area of study. You'll have tutorial classes with as few as 30 students in first year which will help you transition from high school.

After first year, students choose from one of the widest ranges of engineering program options in Canada, some with specializations such as nano- and micro- devices, nuclear engineering & energy systems, photonics, aerodynamics, and bioengineering, all with co-op options, and all (except Chemical and Bioengineering) have five-year Management and Society options.

The McMaster Difference: Supporting Student Success

  • A director of Engineering 1, instructional coordinator, academic advisors, and specially trained teaching assistants
  • The student-run McMaster Engineering Society (MES) and the many student groups and activities associated with it provide social, academic and personal peer support for engineering students
  • The Engineering Student Services team provides support for our students, with an aim to specifically assist first year students with academic concerns
  • Dedicated first year Academic Advisors
  • Engineering Co-op and Career Services offers career planning and co-op program assistance
  • Small tutorial and lab groups led by specially trained senior students who appreciate the challenges first year students face
  • A dedicated Engineering I 'elliptical' computer lab. One of only four in North America
  • The new Gerald Hatch Centre for Engineering Experiential Learning


At McMaster, Engineering students take a common Level I program with the following courses:

  • General Chemistry for Engineering I (CHEM 1E03)
  • Integrated Cornerstone Design Projects in Engineering (ENGINEER 1P13)
  • Engineering Mathematics (MATH 1ZA3, 1ZB3, 1ZC3)
  • Introductory Mechanics (PHYSICS 1D03)
  • Waves, Electricity, and Magnetic Fields (PHYSICS 1E03)
  • Safety Training (WHMIS 1A00)


Typical Timetable

Director's Message

Welcome First Year students to McMaster Engineering! You are now officially a member of the Fireball Family and beginning a journey towards a career in the Engineering profession. You are part of a community that promotes engagement, diversity, and inclusion.

We are delighted to introduce for the first time in Fall 2020 a new teaching and learning approach to First Year Engineering: ENGINEER 1P13 . In this integrated experiential learning experience, replacing traditional engineering courses, you will learn engineering fundamentals, develop practical skills, and learn how to apply your knowledge to real life situations through a series of five cornerstone design projects that cover a variety of key topics relevant to all engineering disciplines.

While much of the future is unknown as a result of COVID-19 one thing we do know is that the Fall 2020 term is set to take place entirely online. Over these past few months, our First Year Engineering team (faculty, staff and senior undergraduate students) have been working hard to deliver a safe and rewarding integrated experiential learning course for you all in a virtual setting! We will be using Microsoft teams to connect you with your peers for collaboration as well as offer virtual real-time interactive design studios, labs and lectures.

We understand that the transition to Level I can be very challenging, but we want to position every student in this community for success. In doing so, there are many options available to help you navigate the challenges that lie ahead.

The Faculty of Engineering’s Experiential Learning Office, which includes the First Year Engineering team, provides support personnel and services specifically designed to assist first year students. Our office is located in the Engineering Technology Building (ETB); please stop by to say hi once in-person classes resume.

For assistance or academic advice please contact Mr. Nathan Butterworth, the Engineering I Advisor. He is available by e-mail at

Student Affairs offers a number of supports for all McMaster students. If you need support for a diagnosed disability or disorder, please refer to Student Accessibility Services. The Student Success Centre provides convenient access to an array of student services in the areas of Career and Employment, Transition and Academic Success, and Community Service- Learning, Civic Engagement and Leadership. The Student Wellness Centre provides support to the whole student - mind, body, spirit through a range of wellness services such as personal and psychological counselling, medical and health services, and wellness education resources.

And finally, the McMaster Engineering Society (MES), a group you are now part of and one of the largest student groups on campus, is available to support you academically, professionally, and socially.

Although your first year will look different than anticipated, know that our top priority remains the same: to introduce you to the engineering profession; provide you with fundamental engineering skills; and offer guidance and support as you navigate first year of University.

I wish all of you a successful and memorable first year of engineering,

Dr. André Phillion
Director, Experiential Learning in the Faculty of Engineering
Associate Professor, Department of Materials Science and Engineering



Dr. André Phillion

Dr. André Phillion

Our Team





How to Register

Visit this page for more details: YOUR FIRST YEAR

Moving to Level II

Admission to Level II Engineering programs requires completion of all 31 units of required Engineering I courses. Students must maintain a Grade Point Average (GPA) of 4 (on the McMaster 12 scale). 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 student's Grade Point Average. A student in Engineering I whose Grade Point Average (GPA) is less than 4 can no longer continue in Engineering.

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

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

Students can also 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 4-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.  

Follow the links below to find out more about the different programs, disciplines and options.

Engineering Disciplines

Engineering Options

Learn more about our Departments here

IAI & TA Job Opportunities

Students in Levels 3, 4, and 5 have the opportunity to be a Teaching Assistant or Instructional Assistant Intern (IAI) for Level I Engineering courses. 

Winter 2021 TA opportunities will be posted on OSCARplus in October 2020!  Posted until October 27th, please email directly for the posting. 

2021-2022 Instructional Assistant Intern (IAI) opportunities will be posted on OSCARplus in January 2021.




The undergraduate calendar will provide you with a list and description of the course material:

There are 2 important dates when it comes to dropping classes. The first is the last day to drop or add classes without financial penalty, and the second is the drop / add deadline to drop a course without academic penalty (ie. Course listed on your transcript)

You can buy and sell textbooks either through Titles book store, or online through

For more information on exchange please click here. You can also visit the following website for a list of the countries you can visit

The 12 pt scale is broken down on the following webpage: Grading System

To calculate your grade point average calculate the sum of your mark times the number of units for the course and divide that by the sum of the units.

For example:

Course Units for course McMaster Grade Grade x Units
Chemistry 4 8 32
Calculus 3 6 18
Algebra 4 10 40
Eng 1D04 4 8 32
Total 15   122
Average = 122/15 = 8.13

This information isn’t released due to the fact that the averages changes from year to year. Information sessions for each discipline will be held in February during which more information on this topic will be disbursed.

Before signing up for the co-op program you have to complete an introductory course to make sure that you’re prepared to represent McMaster in a co-op position. For more information visit the Engineering Co-op & Career Services website

Information about each of the disciplines can be found here. There is also an information session for first year students in second semester (mid-February). The session will be announced on Avenue to Learn.

You may only take 6 units per summer term (there are 2 summer terms). An overload of 1 unit is allowed each term. You can check if the desired course is available in the summer by viewing the spring/summer timetable in Mosaic which is released in late February of each year.

Free choice is granted to incoming engineering 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.

This year the McMaster Engineering Society will be teaming up with the Student Success Center to provide tutoring services. More information can be found here.

TAs are hired for terms 1 and 2. Postings for the positions go up in the Fall (for Winter) and Spring (for Summer & Fall). Please watch the following link for information.

Parking permit information can be found at