How our culture facilitates learning

McMaster University’s Faculty of Engineering has its own unique culture. We offer one of the widest ranges of engineering degree program options in Canada.

Our five-year “and” programs are among our strongest differentiators. For instance, it is possible for students to integrate all of our core engineering programs with “Management” or “Society” options. The former allows students to combine Engineering with the core of a commerce degree and the latter allows them to take a wide variety of liberal studies options that are offered by other faculties at McMaster.

In keeping with this tradition, we are in the process of developing two new programs: A five-year undergraduate engineering and biomedical program and an interdisciplinary smart systems program.

Our unique speciality programs are linked to real world testing environments. For example, our biomedical program is linked to a research hospital, our nuclear program is linked to an on-site active reactor, our earthquake program is linked to a full-scale shake table, our manufacturing research is linked to an integrated processing and machining equipment facility.

We don’t simply equate delivery of classroom content with gains in professional competency. We have a robust experiential and problem-based learning approach to education. We support extracurricular activities, such as student clubs and teams, which will shortly have their own home in a new student experiential learning centre.

Our co-op program is flexible and customizable. It allows students to balance the needs of gaining work experience with completing academic course requirements. All of our undergraduate programs can be combined with co-op so that our students are able to customize their own program with experiential learning.

A “Thought Leaders” seminar series brings prominent speakers to address our students on topics related to global challenges and complexity – and the pursuit of a good, productive and fulfilling life. MacChangers, an interdisciplinary partnership supports student teams that identify and propose solutions to create positive change at McMaster.

The “Building Thinkers, Building Leaders” program includes several elements that promote analytical and critical thinking, leadership and social responsibility so that we educate the whole engineer, not just the technical engineer. Students are exposed to different ways of thinking about and solving complex problems, and develop a highly comprehensive engineering toolkit enabling them to consider technical, environmental, economic and social aspects of engineering problems.

We will establish an engineering living, learning residence community next year, where specific programming will integrate first-year students into our Faculty and university.

We are a rare example of a large university with a community feel. The layout of our campus, our preserved green space, and our geographically dense campus all work to bringing students together in a safe, welcoming, engaging environment.

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