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Living & Commuting

Residence or Off Campus Living the Choice is Yours!

Many factors may contribute to your choice of living arrangements

When deciding where you’ll live this September, it’s important to remember that everyone is different and there are many factors that may contribute to your choice of living arrangements.

Some students enjoy the convenience of being on campus and the social aspects of living in residence. Other prefer living off campus where they can rent a private room in a house that is more likely to have 4 to 6 people sharing facilities.

There is no right or wrong choice regarding living arrangements only what works best for you.

Living in Residence

McMaster’s twelve on-campus residences are home to almost 3,700 students. Our residences are located within a five-minute walk to classes, athletic facilities, libraries and our award-winning dining facilities. We offer a range of building sizes and themed residence communities.

Our buildings are divided into traditional dormitory style–where you live with one/two other roommates in the same bedroom or apartment/suite style–where you have a private room and share a kitchen, washroom(s) and living room with three to five other students.

Learn more about on campus living

Off Campus Living

Students that choose to live off campus can become a part of SOCS, McMaster’s Society of Off Campus Students. SOCS is the largest social group on Campus and is casually referred to as the 13th residence. They run the same type of events and Welcome Week activities as the rest of the residences.  SOCS also runs a peer mentorship program, Welcome Week sleepovers, and regular social activities.

To help you manage the practical side of finding off campus accommodation McMaster has an Off Campus Resource Center (OCRC) that offers a number of resources and services including a housing board, help with reviewing lease agreements, and the online Housemate Connector service for students who are looking for a housemate(s) to live with for the coming school year.

Off Campus Student Society

Compare Living at Home or Off-Campus Housing with Living on Campus

Cost Comparison

The cost of a single room at McMaster University is $6,886 for eight months of classes. The purchase of a meal plan is required if you live in residence. The University’s meal plan costs start at $2,425 for the smallest reduced size meal plan (only available to students living in Mary E. Keyes or Bates residence) and range up to $4,020.  The most popular meal plan cost is $3,795 for the 2016/17 school year. In total, residence and the popular meal plan would cost $10,800 for eight months, excluding extraneous monthly spending.

If four students decided to rent a $1,800 house in Hamilton for $450 a month each, with the added utilities cost of $35 per person, $200 a month for groceries, and a $0 monthly bus pass (McMaster students ride free), living off-campus would cost $5,480 for eight months (excluding extra spending), a potential cost savings of $5,320 each year. McMaster also has a GO bus station right on campus for those who choose to commute. All McMaster students ride the HSR (city) bus for free.

Cost of Living in Residence  
Single residence room (8 months of classes) $7,005
Utilities $0
Transportation, monthly bus pass (McMaster students ride free) $0
Meal plan costs start at $2675 for the smallest reduced size meal plan (only available to students living in Mary E. Keyes or Bates residence) and range up to $4,195 (2016/2017) $3,795 (cost of the light size, full plan 2016/2017)
Total for eight months, excluding extraneous monthly spending $10,800

 

Cost of Living Off Campus  
If four students decided to rent a $1,800 house in Hamilton for $450 a month each $3,600
Utilities $280
Transportation, monthly bus pass (McMaster students ride free) $0
Groceries, $200 per month $1,600
Total for eight months, excluding extraneous monthly spending $5,480

 

Cost of Living at Home  
Rent $0
Utilities $0
GO Transit Pass (monthly fare from Brampton Station to McMaster University, $351.90) GO Fare Calculator $2815
Groceries, $200 per month $1,600
Total for eight months, excluding extraneous monthly spending $4,215

Cost of Driving

For those who choose to drive and park on campus an 8 month parking pass will cost $384. At 97.3¢ per litre, the cost of gas for 8 months of driving round trip from Brampton to Hamilton is approximately $1525.

 

Utilities and grocery costs from Numbeo. Gas costs from Ontario Gas Buddy.