September 2016 Quick Start Guide

Welcome to McMaster University’s ‘Quick Start’ website. Select the steps above to begin.

Class of 2020 on Facebook VERIFIED OFFICIAL #McMaster2020


After accepting your offer of admission (and prior to your arrival), you are required to complete several actions in June (e.g. setup your McMaster e-mail, enrol in the appropriate courses, uploading your photo, etc.). Please browse the links/icons above to get started. Precise enrolment instructions will be sent to you later in June.

If you have any questions, please use our ‘Ask McMaster’ question box (above).


Your official offer letter will have all of the conditions clearly stated. You must meet these conditions by the date specified in your Offer of Admission letter in order for your offer to become final.

We will notify you when you have cleared all your conditions, typically starting in late July and continuing through August. Remember that you will receive your final grades well before we will, so if you think you have failed to meet a condition, we suggest you contact us as soon as possible to discuss your situation.

Usually, failure to meet a condition by the stated deadline, will mean that we will unfortunately have to rescind your offer and you will be unable to attend in September.

If your offer of admission does not include any conditions, it is likely that you have received an unconditional/final offer of admission.


  • Can I defer my offer of admission?

    Applicants who receive both an offer of scholarship and an offer of admission–and who have accepted the offer of admission through the Ontario Universities Application Centre and have satisfied all conditions of their offer of admission may apply to defer their entry for one year. McMaster does not normally grant a deferral of an offer of admission unless special circumstances exist. Each case is evaluated on its own merits.

    All requests for deferral of both admission and scholarship should be made in writing to the Enrolment Services (Admissions Office), Gilmour Hall 109 at McMaster by the relevant deadline, outlining the reasons for the request. Normally, decisions regarding deferral requests are not made until early August, after the receipt of all final grades and required documentation.

    If a deferral is granted, it is conditional upon the student not attending a secondary or post-secondary institution during the deferral period. Students will be required to re-apply through the Ontario Universities Application Centre on the 105D application form to reactivate their application by no later than March 1st or the specific deadline date for the program, whichever is earlier.

  • I am completing the IB diploma or AP courses. Can I receive advanced credit towards my degree at McMaster?

    At the discretion of the Faculty, advanced credit of up to 18 units may be granted for completed Higher Level courses with a minimum final score of 5. Applicants must complete the IB Diploma to be eligible for advanced credit. Applicants who complete the IB certificate are eligible for admission but not advanced credit.

    Applicants who have completed A.P. exams though the College Board in acceptable courses and achieve a minimum grade of 4 will be considered for up to 18 units of advanced credit. PLEASE NOTE: A.P. results from students who have completed the examinations as a challenge and have not taken the course at high school will not be considered as having completed the required prerequisite courses for advanced credit consideration. An official copy of the final Advanced Placement Examination Results Report from ETS the College Board is required as part of the advanced credit evaluation process.

STEP 2: Arrange your housing accommodations in Hamilton.

STEP 2.4 Start Exploring Hamilton (#HamONT)

Coming to McMaster means you are part of the Hamilton community as well. Check out all there is to see and do in Hamilton – right outside the campus grounds.

STEP 3: Plan your courses for the upcoming year and enrol in your required classes.

  • STEP 3.1
    Familiarize Yourself with our Enrolment Portal & Program Requirements

    We recommend familiarizing yourself with McMaster’s Mosaic portal for current students by reviewing the video above.

    In early June, your Mosaic account type will be converted from applicant to matriculated ( meaning you are now a McMaster student ) if you have successfully accepted your offer.

    Once the conversion occurs, you will be able to access all of the portal’s functionality outlined in the video above. Note: The abovementioned functionality is NOT available until your account type has been set to matriculated.

    Prior to matriculation, be sure to familiarize yourself with your program requirements (required courses, electives, majors, minors, etc.) for your first year and beyond. Please refer to your Faculty/Program (below) for more information on the courses and total units you are required to take during your first year (Level I).

    The unit value of a particular course is indicated by the last digit of the course code (e.g. 1A03 = 3 units). The first digit (1) in the previous example denotes the study year/level of the course.

    McMaster’s Undergraduate Calendar also offers full course descriptions, a glossary and important policies related to studying at McMaster.

    Arts & Science Kinesiology
    Bachelor of Technology
    (Automotive & Vehicle, Biotechnology, Process Automation)
    Life Sciences
    Business Mathematics & Statistics
    Chemical & Physical Science Medical Radiation Sciences
    Computer Science Midwifery
    Environmental & Earth
    Health Sciences Studio Art (BFA)
    Humanities Social Sciences
    Integrated Science  


  • STEP 3.2
    Upload A Student Card Photo

    In order to receive a new McMaster student identification card, you will need to upload a photo of yourself within your Mosaic Student Centre (under the Personal Information subsection).

    Once your account has been converted from applicant to matriculated, your Mosaic Student Centre will be available via; this is where you will be able to upload your photo.

    If you have access to recent secondary school / graduation / passport portraits (see example below), you are welcome to upload a digital version to Mosaic.
    Student Card Photo ExampleAs noted on the Registrar’s Student Identification guidelines page, your photo cannot contain hats, sunglasses, other people or pets; however, you are allowed to smile.

    Once you upload a photo, you cannot make additional changes unless you contact the Registrar’s Office.

    You will be using your student card for the next four to five years, so choose a nice photo.

    After you have completed all of the appropriate enrolment steps, your identification will be mailed to you or held for pick-up at McMaster, as noted in STEP 3.6.

  • STEP 3.3
    Plan Your Desired Courses & Attend Help Sessions
    (if needed)

    The video above outlines how enrolment planning occurs at McMaster. Pay extra attention to the “Plan by My Program Requirements” section—which outlines the courses you will need from your first year and beyond.

    Once your user account has been matriculated/transferred from McMaster’s applicant portal to our current student portal, you will be able to access your Plan by My Requirements section by navigating the following path in Mosaic:
    Home > Student Center > Academics > Plan by My Requirements

    If you are unsure about your program/course selections for the upcoming year, your Faculty/program will offer virtual training or in-person sessions/appointments to help you make the proper course selections.

    Help sessions typically commence in late June.

    Click on your Faculty/Program for more information on available help sessions:

    Arts & Science Life Sciences
    BTech (Bachelor of Technology) Mathematics & Statistics
    Business Medical Radiation Sciences
    Computer Science Midwifery
    Engineering Music
    Environmental & Earth Nursing
    Health Sciences (BHSc) Physical Science
    Humanities Studio Art
    Integrated Science Social Sciences
  • STEP 3.4
    Enrol During Your Online Enrolment Appointment

    Your enrolment appointment will be listed within the Enrolment Dates panel on Mosaic Student Center. Appointments are individually assigned.

    The earliest appointments for new Level I students begin on June 29, 2016 and will be allocated/scheduled into early July.

    As soon as your enrolment appointment opens, you will be able to actively enrol into the necessary courses noted in Step 3.3 above. 

  • STEP 3.5
    Setup E-mail

    After you have successfully enrolled (STEP 3.4), you will be able to activate your new e-mail address. Your account cannot be activated any earlier.

    Log in to Mosaic and navigate to Enable or Manage Your Email Service under the Home tab to activate your e-mail account.

    The University will use this e-mail account to send important information during your time as a McMaster student.

    Your account is powered by Google’s G-mail service and includes 25GB of space.

    Your e-mail address will be in the following format MacID@ and can be accessed via

  • STEP 3.6
    Post Enrolment Confirmation & Beyond

    Once you have successfully completed all of the required enrolment steps (in the appropriate time frame), the Registrar’s Office will forward a confirmation package to you in late August. The package will include your new McMaster Student Photo Identification.

    Note: Students residing outside of Ontario are required to pick-up their identification in-person upon arrival at McMaster. ID cards will not be mailed.

    At this stage, be sure to note the financial implications and responsibilities listed under Step 4.

    If you would like to add/change your course selections, use the Swap Function outlined (in the video) under STEP 3.3 to make the necessary changes.

    It is important that you complete all of the required steps in a timely manner as they are part of your responsibilities as a McMaster student (as outlined by the Registrar’s Office).

    Be sure to keep your mailing address, telephone number and e-mail address up-to-date in Mosaic; this will ensure you receive important notifications from McMaster.

STEP 4: Submit your payment & explore funding sources for your education

  • STEP 4.1 Pay Your Fees

    After enrolling into the appropriate courses for the upcoming academic year, you must pay your fees by the appropriate deadline(s).

    The Student Accounts and Cashiers website has detailed information:

    1. Accessing Your Account Statement (i.e. your McMaster fees)
    2. Payment deadlines
    3. Payment methods (e.g. credit card, online banking, INTERAC, etc.)
    4. Interest (how it works at McMaster)

    Be sure to dedicate some time to reviewing the information on the Student Accounts & Cashier’s website as it is a comprehensive resource on everything related to the payment/fees at McMaster.

  • STEP 4.2 Entrance Awards

    Did you qualify for an entrance scholarship? If your final admission average to your program is 80% or greater and you are a Canadian citizen, you likely did (you can find all the detailed requirements on the entrance award website). If you need to know the value of the award and how and when you will access the funds, be sure to visit the Student Financial Aid & Scholarships (SFAS) website.

  • STEP 4.3 Bursaries

    We are committed to helping students with need. Bursaries are one way of providing this help. Based on a financial need assessment, bursaries do not need to be repaid, and can be applied for each year you are a student at McMaster. Applications open in September of your first year and all the details on eligibility and the application process can be found on the SFAS website.

  • STEP 4.4
    OSAP (Ontario Student Assistance Program)

    You have likely heard the term OSAP but have no idea how to apply for it, whether or not you might qualify or what the deadlines are for applying. We have all the information laid out for you on our website. Short version – apply as soon as you know you have decided to accept McMaster’s offer of admission – the McMaster recommended deadline is July 15th. The online application can be found at

    NOTE: OSAP funds will be directly deposited into your personal bank account and NOT remitted to the university on your behalf. It’s your responsibility to make payment to your student account at McMaster.

  • STEP 4.5
    Ontario Tuition Grant (OTG)

    You may be eligible for the OTG; it provides qualifying students with 30% off of their tuition. Visit the Government of Ontario website for all the details.

    RESP Proof of Enrolment
    If you are a participating in a Registered Education Saving Plan (RESP) and require documentation demonstrating proof of enrolment at McMaster to release your funding, you may download a PDF letter from the Mosaic. The letter is available by navigating to Mosaic’s Student Center -> Finances -> Enrollment / Financial Letters section.

  • INFO
    Out-of-Province Students

    Students who do not reside in Ontario should refer to the CanLearn website for further instructions on applying for financial aid within your home province.

    McMaster Money Centre
    Mac’s Money Centre is a fantastic resource for students to learn how to make informed financial decisions by being educated, confident, and responsible.

STEP 5: Attend/Participate in Orientation Activities

    Summer Orientation for Academic Readiness (SOAR)

    This online Orientation program will be a mix of webinars, chats, videos and blogs- all targeted at entering students like yourself. Check the Student Success Centre website in May for full schedule of online events. The program typically begins early. Specific dates will be posted on the Important Dates calendar as they are confirmed.

     AUGUST 16 
    Online Orientation Fair

    Do you have questions about living on or off campus this fall? Whether  you uncertain about something related to financial aid, paying tuition and fees, registering for your MacPass or programs in Welcome Week, McMaster staff and students are available to chat with you and to answer your questions online.

    Have your questions answered from the comfort of your home, w
    hether you live in or close to Hamilton, across the country or somewhere on the other side of the world.

    Welcome Week

    Welcome Week involves events, activities, concerts, tours and welcome ceremonies. Unlike any experience you have had before, Welcome Week will provide you with educational seminars and social events that will connect you to the Hamilton community, McMaster University, your Faculty, your residence or off-campus society and, most importantly, to other students.

  • Connect on FacebookLike McMaster’s Welcome Week Facebook Page for the latest updates

    Shifting Gears Program

    This transition program is for students entering McMaster University with a disability. It offers a series of summer workshops to prepare you for ‘the shift’ to university expectations.

    Common Reading Program

    The McMaster Common Reading Program is a great opportunity to share a common reading experience with your future classmates and friends. Students registered in this orientation program will participate in on-line discussions about the book and its emerging themes related to university life.

    MOOSE – the McMaster Outdoor Orientation Student Experience

    Mac MOOSE (McMaster Outdoor Orientation Student Experience) is a five-day canoe trip experience at the end of August to Algonquin Park, consisting of outdoor education, leadership skills, mentorship, and team development. This five-day trip will be a great warm-up for your transition to university life in September.

STEP 6: Learn about ways to obtain support and get involved in campus life while attending McMaster.

  • Athletics & Recreation

    Whether you are looking to compete at an elite level on one of our varsity teams, or just want to have fun playing intramurals and working out at the Pulse (our fitness centre), the Athletics & Recreation department has something for everyone. Find out how to purchase your Pulse membership before starting classes in September.

  • Student Clubs & Government

    Similar to a high school student council, the MSU (or McMaster Students Union Inc.) is the representative/governing body for all full-time undergraduate students at McMaster. It supports and administers more than 250+ cultural, academic and social issues clubs on campus. It also operates one of our campus pubs 1280, the Union Market convenience store, and a number of other services. As a full time student, you automatically become a member of the MSU. For a complete listing of student clubs, please visit the MSU’s recognized club listing.

  • Student Success Centre

    Your success is at the core of the services and programs offered by the Student Success Centre. The Centre will support you from the summer prior to your first year to five years after graduation in the areas of student orientation, academic skills, leadership, service-learning, volunteerism, educational planning, employment and career transition.

  • Libraries

    With five libraries across campus, there is sure to be one that fits you the best. State-of-the art facilities and friendly staff will make researching that first university paper just a little less stressful. Check out their website for great information on how to take advantage of all of their resources and services.

  • Campus Store

    Wondering how to buy your textbooks? You can do it online using the searchable textbook function. You can buy more than books however as Campus Store is your one stop shop for Mac wear and gift items as well as general stationary and supplies.

  • Technology Support

    From setting up your MacID to your McMaster email address, to using the student computer labs, UTS provides all the support services to keep you up and running online.

  • Student Accessibility Services

    If you require special accommodations, our dedicated team is here to provide you with all the support you need to be successful at university. Be sure to connect with us early to discuss the options available to you.

  • Student Wellness Centre

    Our fully staffed Student Wellness Centre offers a wide range of medical services, as well as personal counseling and wellness education programs and workshops.

  • Nature @ McMaster

    McMaster is very lucky to be situated within an area rich with biological, ecological, and geological diversity. Hamilton’s spaces alone range from wetlands, marsh, and hardwood forests to prairie or escarpment habitats. McMaster is full of opportunities to explore the outdoors and experience the natural beauty that engulfs the campus.

Parking & Transportation

  • Parking
    Planning on driving to McMaster campus. Visit our Security & Parking services website to learn more about parking permits, fees, and space availability.

  • McMaster GO Station
    McMaster University is part of the GO Transit / Metrolinx regional transportation network. Whether you are commuting to McMaster on a daily basis or searching for transportation options to explore Southern Ontario, the University’s GO Transit stop offers several connection options.

  • Social Bicycles Hamilton

    SoBi Hamilton is the non profit local operator who keeps the Hamilton Bike Share system rolling smoothly. SoBi maintains a fleet of bicycles that may be rented to help students explore the City of Hamilton or facilitate daily commute to/from campus. Members of the McMaster community are eligible for a reduced annual membership fee.