Current Students – FAQs
General Registration Info
How do I register for courses?
Students should first familiarize themselves with enrollment terminology and steps via the Registrar’s Office website. Then utilize the two enrollment tools to help plan and register for courses. We recommend you familiarize yourself with both.
My Planner via Mosaic: https://registrar.mcmaster.ca/build-degree/mosaic/
My Timetable: https://registrar.mcmaster.ca/build-degree/mytimetable/
What elective courses should I take? What elective courses do upper year students recommend?
It is recommended that you enroll in elective courses that you are interested in taking, and on topics you are passionate about and want to learn more about. You have ample elective space to take undergraduate courses that might be required for graduate programs or professional school applications. For example; in third year you have 15-18 units of electives and fourth year you have up to 21 units. Students often ask us if there are “bird” courses or “easy courses”. Typically, students who try to register in a “bird” course or “easy course” will tend to neglect their studies in these courses because they are finding it uninteresting, which can lead to a lower grade in the course. As well, each student’s course experience is different and unique to them. Best advice is to find a course you are interested in!
How do I enroll in an A/B course (e.g. HTHSCI 1I06A/B)?
These are courses that are considered multi-term courses that are typically offered over both the fall and winter term. For all A/B courses, you must register for the A component ONLY. You will then automatically be enrolled in the B component. You cannot register for A and B components that are scheduled on different dates/times. The date and time for the A and B components will be the same.
My fall/winter term units are uneven, but total 30 units, is this okay?
For multi-term courses (MT) the units are split between the fall and winter term. For example HTHSCI 1X01A/B – .5 units in the fall term and .5 units in the winter term, whereas, HTHSCI 1I06A/B – 3 units in the fall term and 3 units in the winter term. You may see an uneven term unit balance (14.5 units in the fall and 15.5 units in the winter). This is alright and completely normal provided your total unit count for the fall/winter term is 30 units.
How do I know what courses to register for?
How long do I have to make course changes?
Each term has a Drop/Add deadline date which can be found in the Undergraduate Calendar, Sessional Dates. Fall and A/B course selection and changes must be completed by the deadline date in September, and Winter term changes can be completed until the deadline date in January. Deadline dates also apply for the spring and summer terms.
After I initially register for courses, how do I make changes?
The best tool to use to make changes is the Swap feature on Mosaic. This maintains your seat in your current course until the system can confirm a seat for you in the course you are trying to enroll in. Find out how to make course changes on Mosaic HERE.
I can’t drop HTHSCI 1E06A/B – is this supposed to happen?
You may also find that later in August you will not be able to drop HTHSCI 1E06A/B (Inquiry I: Introduction). For this particular course students are unable to drop or switch course sections so that we can finalize the course planning.
Course Registration Error Messages
I received an error message that says, “Available seats are reserved, and you do not meet the reserve capacity criteria”. What does this mean?
Although a course may appear to have a seat(s) available, these seats may not be in a reserve capacity that applies to you. Reserve capacities maintain a specific number of seats for specific groups of students. The seats in the reserve capacity that applies to you may be full at this time. You should register in another elective course and try to register in the course later in case a seat becomes available or the reserve capacity opens. Each program/department maintains a different date on which reserved capacities are released. *If a course has more than one core/lab/tutorial, try selecting an alternate option, as other core/lab/tutorials may have a seat available to you.
I received an error message that says I do not fulfill the prerequisites, what are my options?
You can refer to the Undergraduate Calendar (course list) to ensure that you fulfill the course prerequisites. If you do not, and would like to take the course, you can contact the program/department to seek permission. Department emails can be found via the Department Contact List. The decision whether to grant course permission rests with the Department offering the course. If you fulfill the prerequisites and continue to receive this error message, please email one of the BHSc Academic Program Advisors.
I received a ‘course is full’ error message. What do I do?
If a course is full, then there are no seats available to you. If the course has more than one core/lab/tutorial, try another option. If you receive this message for a level 1 required course, you will need to select a different core/lab/tutorial. You can continue to check regularly to see if a seat becomes available to you in your preferred core/lab/tutorial. Seats are not guaranteed in elective courses. If you receive this error message in a required course, please email one of the BHSc Academic Program Advisors.
I received a “this course conflicts with another” error message. What do I do?
You may be attempting to register in a course with a core/lab/tutorial that has a conflicting date and/or time with another course you are already enrolled in. To resolve this error, you will need to select a different core/lab/tutorial, or different course. If you have a conflict between a required and elective course, you must ensure you register in the required course. Level 1 students cannot be registered in a course conflict.
What is a minor?
A minor is an option available to students enrolled in an Honours program and is a focused area of interest using your elective courses. Details for minors can be found in the Undergraduate Calendar.
If interested in a minor, it is recommended you also review Concurrent Certificate options. Minors can still be completed if started in level 2.
Do I need to enroll in a Minor?
Students do not need to enroll in most minors, though there are a few exceptions in minors available from the DeGroote School of Business. You do not need to apply for a minor, but you will need to complete the requirements for your chosen minor and declare it in the Spring of your final year. If the requirements of the minor are satisfied, it will appear as a notation on the student’s transcript. Students must be graduating with an Honours degree to declare a minor.
I cannot get a seat in a course I need for my minor. What are my options?
Unfortunately, seats cannot be guaranteed for the purpose of completing a minor. Continue to check Mosaic regularly for availability or select an alternate course. The majority of minors will have a course list with a variety of courses you can choose from.
Child Health Specialization
How do I apply for the Child Health Specialization?
If you (BHSc Level I student) are interested in applying to the Child Health Specialization, you must complete the Level II Program Application in MOSAIC. The application will be available in April. In addition, you must complete a supplemental application for the specialization and submit it to the appropriate MacDrive folder by the specified deadline date. Details will be posted on the BHSc Community Avenue to Learn page in late-March/early-April. BHSc Child Health Specialization is not open to level 2 transfer students.
I’ve heard there are BHSc Buddies. How do I get matched with a Buddy?
The BHSc Buddy System pairs first years with upper-year students who can help answer questions and help ease your adjustment into the BHSc program. You will receive an email from the BHSS Internal Coordinator with further details mid-summer. If you have not connected with your Buddy by the end of August, you can contact the Internal Coordinator at email@example.com.
How do I activate my Mac ID so I can access Mosaic, Avenue to Learn, and Microsoft Teams?
For full details regarding your Mac ID, including how to activate it, can be found via the University Technology Services (UTS) website.
What is Avenue to Learn and how do I get access to it?
Avenue to Learn (A2L) is a web-based course management system designed to create a rich online learning environment for students. This platform includes features such as an electronic dropbox, an automated gradebook, discussion boards, and quizzes which lets you access information provided by your professors. BHSc students are encouraged to access the BHSc Community page on A2L, where you can find important administrative announcements on scholarships, new courses, bursaries, studying abroad, and more.
For Avenue to Learn, please go to: http://avenue.mcmaster.ca
Avenue Username: same as Mosaic
Avenue Password: same as Mosaic
What is Microsoft Teams and how do I get access to it?
Teams is a chat-based collaboration tool that provides global, remote, and dispersed teams with the ability to work together and share information via a common space. You can utilize cool features like document collaboration, one-on-one chat, team chat, and more. In early September, your license for Microsoft Office 365 will become active. You can visit office.com to get Excel, PowerPoint and Word.
Teams has apps for desktop, tablet and mobile:
*Be sure to turn on the push notifications so you know when something is posted.
Teams Username: is your McMaster email address (use yourMacID@mcmaster.ca, for example, firstname.lastname@example.org)
Teams Password: same as Mosaic
I need help dropping a course after Drop/Add deadline:
You must ensure that the course you are dropping is not required for your degree requirements or your minor (if applicable) by referring to your advisement report.
You can drop a course after the Drop/Add deadline, but you will not be able to add a course in Mosaic. A course dropped after the Drop/Add deadline will appear on your transcript as ‘Cancelled’
Tuition penalties will apply based on when you drop the course.
Ensure you take note of the last day for cancelling courses without failure by default http://www.mcmaster.ca/bms/student/SAC_cancellation_UG.html
I missed my final exam, what do I do?
Please complete and submit the Request for a Deferred Final Exam Form found on the program website, to the BHSc office, along with supporting documentation. Your request will be reviewed and the decision will be available on Mosaic.
What happens if I miss academic work or an in-class test?
You are required to complete a McMaster Student Absence Form (MSAF) in Mosaic. You are permitted to submit the MSAF once each term The MSAF must be submitted within 3 days of the missed work and the work cannot be worth more than 25% of the course weight. This tool cannot be used during any final examination period. Please refer to the MSAF website for more details. http://academiccalendars.romcmaster.ca/content.php?catoid=13&navoid=2208#Requests_for_Relief_for_Missed_Academic_Term_Work
Where can I go for academic advising?
Where can I go for career counselling?
You may visit the Student Success Centre (SSC) in Gilmour Hall to schedule an appointment with a Career Counsellor.
SSC offers many resources including academic workshops (time management, exam preparation, resume writing, interview tips, and many more).
I am struggling with mental health issues/I have a friend struggling with mental health, where can I go to seek help?
Whenever you are unsure where/how to seek help, please visit the BHSc office.
Student Wellness Centre – drop in at the SWC at MUSC B101 to schedule an appointment with a counsellor or call to make an appointment.
- Peer Support Line – The Peer Support Line is a confidential phone line that McMaster students may call. 905-525-9140 ext. 28888. The line operates 7 days a week, from 7PM-1AM. The phone line is a great option for students seeking after-hours help or phone-based support.
- For emergencies, contact EFRT directly at 905-522-4135 or ext. 24281 or go to the nearest Hospital Emergency.
- In case of crisis, contact St. Joseph’s Hospital Crisis Outreach and Support Team (COAST), 905-972-8338 24/7 service.
I need academic accommodations, what do I do?
Please contact Student Accessibility Services (SAS). You may visit their office to schedule a meeting with a counsellor. They support students managing a wide range of academic and disability-related needs. http://sas.mcmaster.ca/
Does the BHSc Program award scholarships?
- The Bachelor of Health Sciences (Honours) Program Scholarship (HSC)
- BHSc (Honours) Program Summer Research Scholarships
- You can check Community posts on LearnLink for additional details.
How do I apply for bursaries and scholarships?
There are numerous scholarships and bursaries available to undergraduate students. A list of scholarships and bursaries, including application information is available through the Financial Aid and Scholarships office at https://registrar.mcmaster.ca/financial-aid/scholarships-and-bursaries/#tab-2
Can I get any funding to go to a conference?
You can apply for a BHSc Travel Bursary using the finance tab in MOSAIC. For more information, please refer to the related post in the Community folder on LearnLink.
Can I apply for an exchange or study abroad?
If you wish to study abroad (MacAbroad), please refer to the International Student Services website at https://iss.mcmaster.ca/international-programs/study-abroad/mcmaster-exchange-program.html, and contact their office for any questions.
MacAbroad is typically available to students entering third year with application made in second year.
If you are planning to apply to the MacAbroad program, please contact the BHSc Program Manager to schedule a meeting.
Can the program help pay for my exchange?
BHSc (Honours) Program Travel Bursaries provides travel assistance that pertains to students’ academic course work or summer volunteer experience. Refer to the financial tab in MOSAIC.
Travel & Exchange Scholarships are offered by McMaster University (Financial Aid & Scholarships Office). Please refer to their website for eligibility criteria at https://registrar.mcmaster.ca/financial-aid/scholarships-and-bursaries/#tab-2, and the financial tab in MOSAIC.
Can I take courses in person or online at another University?
It is possible to take a course at another university. You must complete a Letter of Permission in MOSAIC. It is your responsibility to ensure that you comply with the host University registration deadline dates and course requisites, register for the course and pay their tuition fees, submit your LOP request for review and approval, and submit an official transcript to the BHSc office after course completion.
If I take a course at other universities, will those grades count towards my GPA?
Courses taken on Letter of Permission (LOP) will appear on your McMaster transcript. Provided you receive a minimum final grade of C-, the transfer credit will be applied and the units will count towards your degree. The grade from the host University will not appear on your transcript.
Are my summer school grades included in my GPA when I apply to professional schools?
Each professional school has a unique GPA calculation method for candidates. Students should contact each school directly.
I have a "W" (withdraw) on my transcript and I'm afraid it will hurt my post-graduate applications. Can I get the W removed?
In the competitive world of professional and graduate school admissions, students are often worried that having a “withdrawn” notation on their transcript will be harmful to their application, and ask us if they can be removed. However, we want to reassure you that one or two “W”s on your transcript will not be harmful to your post-graduate applications.
It is widely recognized that there are many reasons that a student might have a W on the transcript, and if there are no other indicators of concern it is very unlikely that a W by itself would be a disadvantage. For example, we have canvassed Canadian medical schools and confirmed that unless a course withdrawal affects their eligibility requirements (that is, if you withdrew from a course they require and have not otherwise fulfilled that requirement, or if they require a full course load and the withdrawal drops you below their threshhold), a W is not viewed negatively.
We do not remove a “W” from a transcript except in extenuating circumstances (for example, compelling medical or personal circumstances); in order to be considered, you must submit a Petition for Special Consideration and appropriate supporting documentation.
Can I take a year off during my undergraduate studies and return to continue my studies in the program at a later date?
A request to take a year off during your undergraduate studies will be assessed on an individual basis. Please contact the BHSc Program Manager to arrange a meeting.
I’m in Level IV and believe I should be graduating, what do I do?
You are required to complete the Graduation Information Card (GIC). Review the Registrar’s Office website for graduation details at https://registrar.mcmaster.ca/grad/
How do I complete a Minor?
Most minors consist of 24 units to be completed during your Undergraduate Degree. Refer to the Undergraduate Calendar for minor requirements. It is your responsibility to ensure that you satisfy the minor requirements during your four years of study.
Minors are only available to students who complete a four year Honours degree.
You must declare a minor when you are applying to graduate by completing the Graduation Information Centre (GIC).
How can I determine whether I am fulfilling all of my degree requirements?
You should refer to your Advisement Report in Mosaic every time you register or make course changes to ensure that you are satisfying your degree requirements for each level.
What are the project/thesis courses?
For detailed information on project courses, please see the Project Courses Hub.
- HTH SCI 3H03 (Inquiry Project), 4D03/4W03 (Special Topics in Health Sciences I/II), 4F03 (Clinical Practice Environment – this course is Pass/Fail). Please refer to the University Undergraduate Calendar for course descriptions and requisites.
- BHSc (Honours): HTH SCI 4B06A/B (Senior Project), 4A09, 4A12, 4A15A/B (Thesis).
- Child Health Specialization: HTH SCI 4C06 A/B (Senior Project in Child Health), 4C09, 4C12, 4C15A/B (Thesis in Child Health).
- Global Health Specialization: HTH SCI 4G06 A/B (Senior Project in Global Health), 4G09, 4G12, 4G15A/B (Thesis in Global Health).
- Biomedical Sciences Specialization: HTH SCI 4R09, 4R12A/B (Thesis in Biomedical Sciences).
- Engaging the City: HTH SCI 4D06A/B (Senior Project in Engaging the City), 4D09, 4D12A/B (Thesis in Engaging the City).
- For course descriptions, please refer to the Bachelor of Health Sciences (Honours) Program courses section of the online Undergraduate Calendar.
What is the difference between a senior project and a thesis?
A senior project course is 6 units (i.e. 4B06), while a thesis can range from 9, 12, or 15 units (i.e. 4A09, 4A12, 4A15).
The main difference between senior projects and thesis is the time commitment required. A senior project could be viewed as a shorter thesis, but the course may also be used as self-study, under the supervision of a faculty member, with the primary component representing distillation and reconstruction (understanding) of an issue of particular interest to the student. In some cases, a faculty member may supervise you working on a 6 unit project when there is mutual expression of interest, but not necessarily precise expertise in the area.
Some graduate programs require an undergraduate thesis course for admission, and may not accept a senior project course. Please inquire with the admissions office of the program you plan to apply to for full details.
How much work is involved in a project/thesis course?
Thesis and senior projects are highly individual with respect to technical requirements, difficulty and previous experience. In some cases, it might be difficult to determine a precise time commitment requirement. It is reasonable to expect that you will devote a minimum of 8-10 hours a week for 6 unit senior projects (4B06, 4C06, 4G06, 4D06), 12-15 hours a week for a 9 unit thesis (4A09, 4C09, 4G09, 4D09), and proportionally longer for 12 and 15 unit thesis projects.
Can I take project/thesis courses when I am in first or second year?
Requests from Level I or II students to complete a project/thesis course will be assessed on an individual basis. Please speak to the BHSc office staff to inquire further.
When do I need start approaching supervisors?
The deadline to submit the permission form for project/thesis courses is March 31st of the year prior to your Level III or IV year, depending on which course you plan to complete.
It is recommended that you start approaching potential supervisors well before the end of the March deadline, as students from other faculties are also beginning to approach potential supervisors.
How do I get evaluated?
HTH SCI 3H03/4D03/4W03/4F03 requires you and the supervisor to create evaluation criteria. This information is submitted to the BHSc office as part of the documentation submitted prior to the project start date.
The final grade for senior project/thesis courses is not determined by a specific formula. At the end of the course, the supervisor will assign a letter grade based on an overall evaluation of the students’ work. The final letter grade should account for all evaluation components. Although an evaluation criteria is not a requirement for senior project/thesis courses, expectations should be made clear at the beginning of the project/thesis work. Contact between you and your supervisor should be such that the student is able to obtain continuous guidance, feedback and support from the supervisor.
How do the credits get distributed between the terms?
The units for A/B courses are distributed evenly between the Fall and Winter term (i.e. HTH SCI 4A15A/B is split 7.5 units in the Fall term and 7.5 units in the Winter term).
HTH SCI 3H03/4D03/4F03 can be taken in either term. HTH SCI 4W03 is only available in the Winter term.
If you have an uneven term balance (i.e. 13.5 units in the Fall and 16.5 units in the Winter) there is no need for concern provided that you have a minimum of 30 units over both the Fall and Winter terms.
Can I take more than one project/thesis course?
These requests will be reviewed on an individual basis. Please contact the BHSc office to discuss this option further.
Can I do my project/thesis course internationally?
If you are thinking about completing course work outside of Ontario, you are required to contact the BHSc office to discuss options and requirements. Do not book accommodations or transportation until after you receive approval from the BHSc office.
Review this link for further details http://www.learnlink.mcmaster.ca/docs/Travel.pdf
Where can I find forms for project/thesis courses?
For detailed information on project courses, please see the Project Courses Hub.
For Thesis guidelines and related forms, please visit the corresponding course conference on LearnLink.
- BHSc (Honours) Program > BHSc Project-Thesis Courses > Thesis/Senior Project or BMS Project/Thesis
Do I need to complete ethics for my project/thesis?
All project/thesis courses require you to complete the BHSc Ethics Screening Form prior to starting the work. This must be submitted to the BHSc office no later than 10 business days from the project start date.
For external ethics application/approval (i.e. HIREB), please discuss this further with your supervisor.
Do I need to complete safety training for my project/thesis course?
All project/thesis courses require you to complete the required safety training, as pertaining to the specific tasks and location of work. Please refer to the BHSc Placement/Project/Thesis Requirements chart found in each project/thesis course folder on LearnLink.
Do I need to get immunized for my project/thesis?
If you are required to work with patients or have any contact with patients, students MUST complete and submit a Health Surveillance & Immunization Form. Please refer to the BHSc Placement/Project/Thesis Requirements chart found in each project/thesis course folder on LearnLink.
What is ‘Netiquette’?
Adobe Creative Cloud
The Lyons New Media Centre (https://library.mcmaster.ca/spaces/lyons) has provided temporary at-home access to the Adobe Creative Cloud including Photoshop, InDesign and Premier to all McMaster students. Go to https://cto.mcmaster.ca/app/uploads/2020/03/Adobe-Creative-Cloud-Temporary-Access-for-Students.pdf.
Avenue to Learn (A2L)
Used to access BHSc Community, which is where you can find important BHSc (Hons) Program announcements on scholarships, new courses, bursaries, studying abroad and more. Additionally, many courses use A2L for online course delivery. Go to http://avenue.mcmaster.ca and use your MacID to sign in.
Find It @ Mac
You can download papers and other resources from your online searches with less hassle by linking your MacID via the library system to common academic search engines like Google Scholar. Even if you are off campus, you will get direct access to papers you find online through searches in Google Scholar by linking your MacID to the McMaster Library system. This web page will show you how to connect Google Scholar to connect you directly to materials that the university has subscribed to: https://library.mcmaster.ca/databases/google-scholar#librarylinks
Google Apps for Education email account is the means of communication for students at McMaster. Includes Google email, Google Calendar, Google Drive and Google Docs. See https://www.mcmaster.ca/uts/gmailforstudents/index.html
Health Sciences Library
The Health Sciences Library (https://hsl.mcmaster.ca/) is a great place to start your online searches. This library site is a separate but connected web resource of the main University Library system (https://library.mcmaster.ca/) that has filtered down some of the information to be more specific to the Health Sciences. There is plenty of great information, lots of tutorials on how to do things, and easy access to everything that the main library also has available. For questions about changes to the Health Sciences Library’s services as a result of COVID-19, see COVID-19 HSL Service Changes – FAQs. (https://hsl.mcmaster.ca/covid-19-hsl-service-changes-faqs).
McMaster subscribes to LinkedIn Learning to provide free unlimited access to their huge catalogue of video tutorials on virtually anything that you might want to learn. Go to https://www.mcmaster.ca/uts/linkedinlearning/ and log in with your MacID to begin learning.
Lyons New Media Centre
Once the Lyons New Media Centre (https://library.mcmaster.ca/spaces/lyons) reopens and you are back on campus, check out the many things they offer for free. They provide access to media production studios and recording booths, audio equipment, high-end camera equipment to borrow, video editing studios and equipment, and even console (Wii, Xbox and Playstation) and PC gaming systems (https://library.mcmaster.ca/sites/default/files/pcgamelist-april2018.pdf) for you to play. You may be surprised, but they even provide free 3D printing (https://library.mcmaster.ca/services/3d-printing).
Microsoft Office 365
Available to all students at no charge. Although you can access Office 365 online, you will definitely want to download it to your computers and/or devices (up to 5). Go to https://portal.office.com/ and use your McMaster email address (ex. email@example.com) and Mosaic password to sign in. To download Office 365, click the “Install Office” button at the top right. Office 365 includes Word, Excel, PowerPoint, 1TB of OneDrive Students and Microsoft OneNote. Many students find Microsoft OneNote to be particularly useful for keeping track of class notes. Microsoft Teams is part of Microsoft Office 365. Many courses use Microsoft Teams for online course delivery.
Check out the other useful software that can be found on the University Software Licensing page at https://www.mcmaster.ca/uts/licensing/index.html.
Technology Resources for McMaster Students
McMaster University provides an updated list of the basic technology resources that are available to students such as student email accounts, MacID information, VPN for those working from outside the country, etc. Go to https://cto.mcmaster.ca/technology-resources-for-mcmaster-students/. Need more general information? Go to the main page for University Technology Services: https://www.mcmaster.ca/uts/.
Virtual Private Network (VPN) for students outside of Canada
While students do not have access to McMaster WebEx accounts, instructors or TAs may send you invitations to join a WebEx meeting. Click the link within the invitation to access the meeting. For further information, see https://mcmaster.webex.com.