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Welcome to the Social Sciences at McMaster

Information for First Year students

FYI - First Year Information Guide

The First Year Information Guide will be published soon. Please check back soon.The First Year Information Guide (FYI) gives you everything you need to know as a first year undergraduate student, including how many (and what) required courses you should be taking, understanding your degree program, how to enrol in classes and understanding common Mosaic and University terms and so much more in one handy, downloadable information guide.

First Year Information Guide

Three Pathways to Success

Social Sciences I

At the end of your first year, you will decide upon the discipline in which you would like to specialize for your degree. Most programs in the Faculty of Social Sciences require completion of 6 units of course work (two half year courses) in the discipline of choice and completion of a Level I program. Now is a good time to talk to an Academic Advisor about your program options, including combined programs, minors, internships and/or adding a Mohawk Certificate alongside your degree. 

Economics I

At the end of your first year, pick your Economics pathway. Choose programs such as Honours Economics, Economics and Mathematics, Economics and Computer Sciences or a Specialist Option that provides extra preparation for graduate school. You can also tailor a unique Combined Honours, which can also include a minor.

Health and Society I

At the end of your first year, choose your degree pathway including:

  • Honours Aging & Society
  • Honours Health & Society
  • Honours Aging & Society, Specialization in Mental Health and Addiction
  • Honours Health & Society, Specialization in Mental Health and Addiction
  • Combined Honours in Aging & Society and Health & Society

You can further customize your degree with a minor, affiliated certificate, and more.

Social Sciences First Year Requirements

Students must take at least 18 units from the Social Sciences Course List and 12 units of electives from either Social Sciences or other Faculties, provided the prerequisites of individual courses are met.

Required: 18 units of Social Sciences
Electives: 12 units of courses of your choosing which may include Social Sciences
3 units: 1 term - half-year course     6 units: 2 terms - full-year course 

Visit the individual departments to see the requirements for each program


Top Questions from First Year Students

When do I declare a major?

You will apply to your program of choice in April, near the end of your first year. You will use an on-line system to rank preferences and apply to your top four program choices.

Questions Con't

What is a minor and is a minor required?

Students in four-year Honours programs may concentrate a sufficient number of elective courses in one area during their degree to give them the option of declaring a minor in that subject upon graduation.


Can I transfer from one program to another?

Yes! It is possible to transfer from one degree program to another providing all course and entry requirements are met.


Do I need to take math?

If you are interested in Psychology, Neuroscience & Behaviour, you will need to take at least one Math (1A03, 1F03, 1K03, 1LS3 or 1M03) depending on Math taken in Grade 12. If you are interested in Economics, the mathematics requirement maybe completed either in Grade 12 (Grade 12 Calculus and Vectors U and Mathematics of Data Management U) or in the first year of university.


Is there a co-op option?

McMaster’s Faculty of Social Sciences offers an education that combines academic study with hands-on experience - we call it Experiential Education (EE). Through EE, you can participate in paid internships, a tuition-free career planning course, academic placements in courses, and career placement job shadowing opportunities. You can also apply for funding for research or other unique activities.


Are there any additional certificates or diplomas that I can earn alongside my degree?

Social Sciences students have the exclusive option of earning an additional affiliated certificate from Mohawk College while working on their degree.

The three certificate options are:

a) Business Studies

b) Leadership & Management in the Not-for-Profit Sector

c) Applied Behavioural Analysis


Can I study on exchange?

Social Sciences allows eligible students to spend part or all of their third year studying abroad at an approved university. To participate you must be registered in an Honours program and have completed at least two years of study with at least a B- cumulative average.


Get Ready to Enroll

As part of your admissions email, you have received access to the Mosaic portal. As a McMaster student, you will use your Mosaic Student Centre to search for classes and plan your schedule, drop, add, or ‘swap’ courses, view your student accounts and balances, make service requests, view your degree standing and program requirements, etc.

Planning your Courses

To get started planning your courses, visit (Step 3) for details on how to:

  • Upload a Student Card Photo
  • Plan Your Desired Courses
  • Enroll in Classes

Level I Enrolment appointments will begin at the end of June. Your individual enrolment appointment will be posted to your
Mosaic Student Centre, and can be found by navigating to:
Enroll > Term Information > Enrolment Appointment > View my enrolment dates. You can begin to enroll in courses once this appointment time opens, and you can continue to drop, add or swap courses until the end of the drop and add period. Enroll early to ensure a seat in your preferred courses!

Review the Social Sciences Level I course requirements in the Undergraduate Calendar. When choosing first-year courses, remember to select first-year classes which will allow you entry into the Level II programs of your choice.

Sign into Mosaic and ‘Search for Classes’ through your Student Centre portal by navigating to 
Student Centre > Academics > Search.
Navigate to
Student Centre > Academics > Enroll to begin selecting courses. You can plan your courses in advance with ‘My Planner’ by adding courses, tutorials and labs to your Shopping Cart. This will allow you to review your schedule prior to enrolment, and confirm your schedule is conflict-free.
Once your enrolment appointment opens, select courses from your
Shopping Cart and “Finish Enrolling” to move courses to your timetable and confirm enrolment.

Once you have confirmed enrolment, view your “Weekly Schedule” through your
Mosaic Student Centre.
You can
activate your McMaster email account once you have successfully completed enrolment. Your account will be your primary form of electronic communication with faculty, staff and fellow students.

Completed these steps? A confirmation package will be mailed to you by the Registrar’s Office in late August.

Paying Fees, Scholarships & Entrance Awards

After completing enrolment, you must arrange to pay your fees.
Visit (Step 4) for details on how to:

  • Pay your fees
  • Learn more about OSAP, the Ontario Tuition Grant, and financial aid for Out-of-Province students.
  • Visit Student Financial Aids & Scholarships website for information on awards, scholarships and bursaries.

Not Coming Straight From an Ontario High School?

Helpful Enrolment Tips For...

  • Out of Province/Out of Country High School Students
  • Graduates of Colleges of Applied Arts & Technology
  • McMaster Centre for Continuing Education
  • University Transfers
  • Mature Students

Enrolment Tips