Important Information

What is a project course?

Word cloudBHSc Project Courses provide students with opportunities to explore one or more specialized areas of interest in preparation for a Level IV Senior Project/Thesis. This page will be the main source of information for both students and supervisors to learn about BHSc project courses. Below you will find important information about project courses, the required forms, and other details needed to successfully prepare for and complete a project course.

There are multiple course codes associated with Level III and Level IV inquiry projects (HTH SCI 3H03A/B/3H06A/B/4D03/4W03/3BM3/3BM6). The specific course code selected for your inquiry project will be determined based on your academic year, the number of units associated with the work to be done, your program specialty, and if the project course is a degree required or elective course. The most common project course is HTH SCI 3H03A/B.

NEW for 2019/2020: HTH SCI 3H03A/B is a 3 unit course that spans September to April, in order to allow more flexibility with start and end dates of project course work. You will have to enroll in this course before the end of term 1 Drop and Add deadline (refer to the Undergraduate Calendar). This course is a mandatory inquiry-style project course for all 3rd year students in BHSc. It allows students to explore a specialized area of Health Sciences, or another field of their interest, under the supervision of a faculty or community member. Students have explored projects in cellular biology, chemistry, health policy, wet-lab research, theatre, and more. Some students use 3H03 as a stepping stone to their thesis project, while others continue in completely different fields in light of their academic interests.

What kind of project can I do?

The topic for an inquiry project is developed by the student in partnership with an individual or group of their choosing. It is an opportunity to explore one or more specialized areas of Health Sciences, Sciences or an un-related field in preparation for your Senior Project/Thesis course. The intent of this course is to provide students with an opportunity to explore different areas in health sciences (e.g. speech language pathology, economics, alternative medicine, and many others) or to develop a more focused knowledge in an area of their choice. Students are NOT restricted to just Health Science topics. Here are several examples of BHSc Project courses that have been done in the past:

  • Working in a research environment in Hamilton (library investigations, lab work, attending group research meetings)
  • Placements at other health care centres in Canada or with groups concerned with health issues.
  • Research or placement in an area unrelated to Health Sciences.
  • Working in another country with an NGO or health group
  • Prepare a systematic review on a specific research topic
  • Development of practical research skills in preparation for a later thesis project

Please note, project courses will not be approved for volunteer positions, job shadowing, or any kind of paid work. Also, students may not administer any form of health care or health care advice to anyone during their project.

What are the prerequisites?

  • HTH SCI 3H03A/B/3H06A/B: Registration in Level III BHSc (Honours) program or registration in Level III of the BHSc (Honours) Specializations.
  • HTH SCI 3BM3/3BM6: Registration in Level III of the BHSc (Honours) Biomedical Sciences Specialization, or permission of BHSc (Honours) Program. Antirequisite(s): BIOCHEM 3R06 A/B
  • HTH SCI 4D03/4W03: Permission of the Assistant Dean, BHSc (Honours) program. May be repeated, if on a different topic, to a total of six units.

What documents are required?

All project courses require the student and supervisor to complete the HTHSCI Project Course form. This electronic form requests details about the student, the supervisor, and the proposed project. Also incorporated are the Ethics Screening and Safety Education and Training sections that were previously submitted as separate forms. This form is completed in close collaboration with a supervisor.

Students will not receive permission to register in HTH SCI 3H06A/B/4D03/4W03 until your supervisor has approved and submitted the HTHSCI Project Course form to the BHSc Office. This must be done AT LEAST 10 BUSINESS DAYS prior to the start of your project course work, or AT LEAST TWO BUSINESS DAYS prior to the Drop and Add deadline of the term in which you plan to register for the course. Students who want to complete 6 units of continuous work with the same supervisor on the same project must register for HTH SCI 3H06A/B. If you register in HTH SCI 3H03A/B/3BM3/3BM6A/B, and have not submitted the required form by the end of September for term 1 or 3 courses and January for term 2 courses, you may be removed from the course until all required documentation for your project course form is received.

 

Required forms

  • HTHSCI Project Course form
    • This form includes a Project Outline, Learning Objectives, Evaluation Criteria, Ethics Screening, and Safety Education and Training. You can identify which Safety Training you are required to complete be reviewing this chart (BHSc Placement Projects Thesis Requirements).
  • Project Grade Submission form
    • This form is submitted at the end of the project.
    • ALL STUDENTS must submit a Project Grade Submission Form, even if the project is not yet complete.
    • The completed form should be in a sealed envelope, with your supervisor’s signature on the back of the envelope seal. This form is submitted to the BHSc office (MDCL 3300).
    • If you would like a copy of your Grade Submission Form, please obtain it from your supervisor.

 

Optional forms

These forms must be submitted via email to Ghazaleh Ferdowsi at ferdowg@mcmaster.ca.

Off campus project courses require the completion of the Risk Management Manual (RMM) program #801 Field Trip/Student Placement/Research Activity Approval form. This form can be found on page 11 of the RMM #801 program.

 

Full details regarding training requirements for your specific project course work and project location, as well as forms required for travel off-campus, can be found here.

 

Helpful Information for completing the electronic forms

  • You must use Adobe Acrobat Reader DC to complete and submit the form. You cannot use a browser to complete and submit the form. You must save the form to your desktop/laptop to complete and submit it.
  • If the submit button does not appear or work for you, email the form as an attachment to your supervisor, and cc to the appropriate email address listed on the bottom of the form. *Old versions of the project course form will not be accepted. You must ensure you are completing and submitting the most recent version, available on the BHSc Project Course Hub.
  • If the submit button does not appear or work for your supervisor, they can email the form as an attachment to the appropriate email address listed on the form.
  • Unpaid Work Placement, Travel, and Immunization forms must be submitted via email to Ghazaleh Ferdowsi at ferdowg@mcmaster.ca.
  • Further details relating to required training can be found on the BHSc Placement Projects Thesis Requirements chart.

 

Required Training

The following health & safety training courses are mandatory for all individuals working at McMaster University (additional training may be required by some individuals depending on worksite hazards):

  • Asbestos Awareness
  • Health & Safety Orientation
  • Ergonomics
  • Violence & Harassment Prevention in the Workplace
  • Slips, Trips and Falls
  • WHMIS (Office or Core)
  • Fire Safety

To understand additional health & safety training courses you are required to complete, speak with your supervisor, and review the EOHSS Training Matrices, available at:   http://www.workingatmcmaster.ca/eohss/training/matrix and outlined in RMM #300: Safety Orientation and Training Program.

HTHSCI 3H03/3H06/4D03/4W03/3BM3/3BM6 INQUIRY PROJECT GUIDELINES

  1. Decide on the goals of the project.
  2. The project may be completed at a location of your choice (e.g. some students have chosen to complete the requirements of this course in other countries). This may require 2-4 months of planning ahead before approval is given. No travel should be booked until project course is approved).
  3. The project must have specific learning objectives, defined by you and your supervisor.
  4. The project must have specific evaluation criteria. Please clearly indicate the name of the individual(s) providing evaluation next to EACH evaluation component (include percentages). NOTE: A self evaluation MUST be included in the evaluation criteria (a 1-page written reflection). The supervisor MUST review this with the student upon final evaluation and SIGN the page. This component is mandatory but does not contribute to the final course grade.
  5. You may not be remunerated, but you may accept funds related to airfare or room and board.
  6. You must complete all applicable training before you begin your project. Training details are recorded on the Safety Education Training Record section of the HTHSCI Project Course form. You can identify which Safety Training you are required to complete be reviewing this chart (BHSc Placement Projects Thesis Requirements).
  7. You must indicate if external ethics approval has been/is being obtained for the project you are working on.
  8. If your project course work requires Immunization or Unpaid Work Placement forms, you can access these via the BHSc Placement Projects Thesis Requirements chart. These forms must be submitted via email to Ghazaleh Ferdowsi at ferdowg@mcmaster.ca.

Learning Modules

This section is currently under development…

If you have further questions relating to the HTHSCI Project Courses, please contact the Academic Program Advisor Ghazaleh Ferdowsi (ferdowg@mcmaster.ca or 905-525-9140 x22181) or the Faculty Project Course Advisor Eric Seidlitz (seidlit@mcmaster.ca or 905-525-9140 x20725).

Frequently Asked Questions

Where do I start?

Start by reviewing the information available here on the BHSc Project Course Hub.

I am required to complete a course called 3H03. What is it?

HTH SCI 3H03 is a mandatory inquiry-style project course for all 3rd year students in BHSc. It allows students to explore a specialized area of Health Sciences, or another field of their interest under the supervision of a faculty or community member. Students have explored projects in cellular biology, chemistry, health policy, wet-lab research, theatre and more. Some students use 3H03 as a stepping stone to their thesis project, while others continue in completely different fields in light of their academic interests. In this course you may work independently or collaborate with others. A 3-unit project course typically involves approximately 100 hours of work.

What are the deadlines?

All approved project course forms must be received electronically from your supervisor at least 10 business days prior to the start of your project course work, or at least 2 business days prior to the end of the Drop and Add deadline of the term in which you plan to register for the course.

When/how do I register for a project course?

Registration for a project course is typically done in the term in which the course will be completed. Registration for all project courses is performed using Mosaic. However, registration can only be completed by the student for HTH SCI 3H03/3BM3/3BM6. For all other project courses, permission is only given after the required form is received and the project course work is approved. You can check for permission 3-5 business days after submitting your forms by attempting to register. Students will only be contacted if further information is required. Approval emails will not be sent.

How do I find a supervisor?

We recommend exploring the Faculty of Health Sciences Research and Graduate Studies websites. They offer insight to the diverse areas of research conducted here and are organized by research area. Other options include talking with professors, TAs, and upper year students to identify potential areas for a project. You can also reach out to community members, ensuring they are the lead in their team/field of expertise.

After you have determined your area of interest and have someone in mind that you would like to work with, we recommend that you familiarize yourself with the research of the potential supervisor; then contact them by email to explain your academic interests and inquire as to what opportunities are available and the possibility of joining a current project or creating a new one, for credit towards a project/thesis course. You may also want to call their office to see if you can schedule an in-person meeting to discuss possible opportunities.

When do I need to start approaching supervisors?

The deadline to submit the permission form for project 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. You will not be able to register for a project course until your HTHSCI Project Course form has been received, reviewed, and approved by the BHSc office (with the exception of HTH SCI 3H03/3BM3/3BM6).

How do I fill out the HTHSCI Project Course Form?

Students should download the HTHSCI Project Course form and complete all the required sections. This should be done in close collaboration with your supervisor. Please read the Project Course Guidelines (above) for further details. Once the form is completed, the student should submit it electronically for supervisor approval.  Once the supervisor has approved the project, they will submit the form to the BHSc office electronically. A copy of this form will automatically be sent to the student.

Please note that approval emails will not be sent – the student and supervisor will receive communication from the BHSc office only if additional information is required.

What are the different project course codes?

  • HTH SCI 3H03/3H06 (Inquiry Project)
  • 4D03/4W03 (Special Topics in Health Sciences I/II)
  • 3BM3/3BM6 (Inquiry Project in Biomedical Sciences/Research Project in Biomedical Sciences)

Please refer to the University Undergraduate Calendar for course descriptions and prerequisites.

Can I take project 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 contact Ghazaleh Ferdowsi to inquire further.

Can I do my project 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 the Travel guidelines for further details.

Do I need to complete safety training for my project 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 Projects Thesis Requirements chart.

The following health & safety training courses are mandatory for all individuals working at McMaster University (additional training may be required by some individuals depending on worksite hazards):

  • Asbestos Awareness
  • Health & Safety Orientation
  • Ergonomics
  • Violence & Harassment Prevention in the Workplace
  • Slips, Trips and Falls
  • WHMIS (Office or Core)
  • Fire Safety

To understand additional health & safety training courses you are required to complete, speak with your supervisor, and review the EOHSS Training Matrices, available at:   http://www.workingatmcmaster.ca/eohss/training/matrix and outlined in RMM #300: Safety Orientation and Training Program.

How do I get evaluated?

All HTH SCI project courses require you and the supervisor to create evaluation criteria. This information is submitted to the BHSc office as part of the HTHSCI Project Course form prior to the project start date.

A self-evaluation MUST be included in the evaluation criteria (a 1-page written reflection). The supervisor MUST review this with the student upon final evaluation and SIGN the page. This component is mandatory but does not contribute to the final course grade.

How do the credits get distributed between 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 course?

These requests will be reviewed on an individual basis. Please contact Ghazaleh Ferdowsi to discuss this option further.

Do I need to complete ethics screening for my project?

All project courses require you to complete the BHSc Ethics Screening section on the HTHSCI Project Course 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 (e.g. HIREB, AREB, Biosafety, etc.), please discuss this with your supervisor.

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 an HTHSCI Project Course form. Please refer to the BHSc Placement Projects Thesis Requirements chart for further details.

Why does the submission button on the Project Course form not work?

The most common reason for the submit button on the HTHSCI Project Course form to not work is that you do not have valid email addresses entered into the required boxes either for the student or the supervisor. If entering these email addresses does not correct the problem, please save the form as instructed then attach to an email to the submission address as listed on the form.

Remember that you must use Adobe Acrobat Reader DC to complete and submit the form. You cannot use a browser or any other software to complete and submit the form.

What forms are required?

To begin a project course, the HTHSCI Project Course form and any other applicable forms are required to be submitted. The student should download the project course form and begin completing the required sections in consultation with the supervisor. Once the form is completed, the student should submit it electronically for supervisor approval using the button on the final page.  Copies of the form will be sent to the supervisor and to the BHSc office. Once you are satisfied with the information on the form, you will similarly submit the form (using the labelled button) to the BHSc office. A copy will automatically be sent to the student.  Please note that approval emails will not be sent – the student and supervisor will receive communication from the BHSc office only if additional information is required.

At the end of the project the Project Grade Submission form is required to be submitted. This form must be submitted mid-December for the fall term or mid-April for the winter term, even if the project is not yet complete. The supervisor will complete this form, seal it in an envelope, and sign across the seal. The student then submits the form to the BHSc office (MDCL 3300).

The student must also complete a required self evaluation (part of the evaluation criteria), usually in the form of a 1-page written reflection. The supervisor MUST review this with the student upon final evaluation and SIGN the page. This component is mandatory but does not contribute to the final course grade.

What time commitments can I expect?

Each project will require different time commitments by the student and the supervisor.  A 3-unit project course (e.g. 3H03) usually requires several meetings with a student while preparing the forms and seeking appropriate approvals for the project. Once underway, periodic meetings should be scheduled for updates and further planning. Meetings every other week are typical for many projects, with any increases in the meeting frequency being negotiated between the student and the supervisor. Additional time at the end of the project may be required if you have asked that the student presents the material, and some time may be required for grading/evaluation of any submitted documents and the overall project.

What are the deadlines?

As project courses are unique to each student and they may be completed at any time during the year (and over more than one term), there are no specific deadlines for all students. Typically, the deadline to submit the HTHSCI Project Course form is March 31st of the year prior to the student entering their Level III or IV year, depending on which course is planned.

At the end of the project, the supervisor is required to complete the Project Course grading form, seal it in an envelope, sign the back, and give it to the student to submit to the BHSc main office (MDCL 3300).  This form is required even if the project is not yet completed, typically in mid-December for the fall term or mid-April for the winter term. If the project is not completed by the deadline date, that’s ok!  However, as a supervisor, you must submit an interim grade based on the work that has been done so far and identify the expected date of completion.

  • This is so that we can keep track of incomplete projects appropriately, and enter an appropriate ‘placeholder’ on your transcript.
  • This placeholder will be either the interim grade, an “INC” which will convert to the interim grade automatically after 60 days, or an “IP” which will remain until a grade change is processed; which of these will be used will depend on the information provided by the supervisor about the expected date of completion.
  • In all of these cases, once the project is complete and a final grade is submitted a grade change will be processed.

To calculate an interim grade, your supervisor should review your original evaluation criteria from your proposal, and calculate the grade based on work completed; elements not yet complete should be calculated as 0% of your overall grade.

For example, if your evaluation criteria were as follows:

  • Lab notes – 20%
  • Meetings – 20%
  • Literature Review – 20%
  • Final paper draft – 20%
  • Final paper- 20%

In this example, if the final paper is not complete, the maximum possible interim grade is 80% (A-). This will appear on your transcript as INC (Incomplete) or IP depending on the anticipated timeline for completion.

What are my responsibilities?

As a supervisor, your main responsibility is to guide the student as they begin to explore academic research. The format of the research will be different in each case, thus the type of guidance provided will also be different.

Many students will have no research experience and will rely on the expertise of a supervisor to guide them in learning basic research skills appropriate to the new field in which they are working.  It is expected that the students will be active participants in the planning, development, execution, and presentation of the research project. It is not a requirement that the project culminates in a publishable research study. Project courses are designed primarily to serve as learning experiences that will allow students to develop skills that they may apply in future courses or thesis projects.

As a supervisor, you and the student are mutually responsible for ensuring that the appropriate forms and documents are completed in a timely manner. You will periodically meet with the student for updates and to provide guidance as to the next steps in the project. At the end of the project, you are required to evaluate the student on their completion of the project as per the evaluation criteria that was documented on the initial HTHSCI Project Course form.

Why do the submission buttons on the Project Course form not work?

The most common reason for the submit buttons on the HTHSCI Project Course form to not work is that you do not have valid email addresses entered into the required boxes either for the student or the supervisor. If entering these email addresses does not correct the problem, please save the form then attach to an email to student, with a cc: to the email address as listed on the form.

Remember that you must use Adobe Acrobat Reader DC to complete and submit the form. You cannot use a browser to complete and submit the form.

Should I require that the student prepare a poster?

The BHSc Poster day is usually held in late March each year. Although initially required only for thesis projects, this event is now open to students completing project courses. If you and the student determine that a poster would be appropriate as a component of their project, you may encourage the student to submit an entry for the Poster day event.