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Welcome to the Social Sciences at McMaster

Information for Level I students

FYI - First Year Information Guide

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 PDF guide. 2019 FYI Guide now available!

First Year Information Guide

Three Pathways to Success

Social Sciences I

At the end of your first year, you will decide the discipline in which you would like to specialize in 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 your degree pathway from Honours Economics, Economics & Mathematics, Economics & 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 & Addiction
  • Honours Health & Society, Specialization in Mental Health & Addiction
  • Combined Honours in Aging & Society and Health & Society

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

Visit the individual departments to see the requirements for each program

Social Sciences I 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 

Economics I Requirements 

Required: 6 units of Economics 
    ECON 1B03 - Introductory Microeconomics
                ECON 1BB3 - Introductory Macroeconomics
                0-3 units 
   MATH 1F03 - Introduction to Calculus and Analytic Geometry 
                (if Grade 12 Calculus and Vectors U has not been completed)
                0-3 units 
STATS 1L03 - Probability and Linear Algebra 
                (if Grade 12 Mathematics of Data Management U has not been completed)
                3 units of Math
    MATH 1A03 - Calculus For Science I
                MATH 1LS3 - Calculus for the Life Sciences I
                MATH 1M03 - Calculus for Business, Humanities & the Social Sciences
                6 - 9 units of Level I Social Sciences courses                                                                                                                                                          

Electives: 12 units of courses of your choosing which may include Social Sciences

Health & Society I Requirements 

Required: 9 units of Health, Aging & Society
               HLTHAGE 1AA3 - Introduction to Health & Society
               HLTHAGE 1BB3 - Introduction to Aging & Society
               HLTHAGE 1CC3 - Introduction to Mental Health & Illness
               9 units of Level I Social Sciences courses

Electives: 12 units of courses of your choosing which may include Social Sciences


FAQ from Level I Students

I’m in Social Sciences I, when do I choose my major?

You will apply to your degree program of choice next April, near the end of your first year. You will use an application on Mosaic to rank preferences and apply to your top four program choices. You can specialize in one subject or focus on two subjects equally in a combined Honours degree, such as two Social Sciences subjects or one from Social Sciences and one from another Faculty. Students may also use electives to enhance their degree by taking courses or completing a minor in a complementary subject. This allows you to take a variety of courses in any of our 12 areas of study and discover a program best suited to your interests.

All Social Sciences students must take at least 18 units from the Social Sciences course lists and six to 12 units of electives from either Social Sciences or other Faculties, provided the prerequisites of individual courses are met. That is 12 to 15 units per term or four to five single-term courses. 

Where can I find a list of all the courses available at McMaster?

The Undergraduate Calendar is the university's official repository for degree information, program requirements, academic rules and regulations. It lists every course available at the university. When searching for courses, it is important to choose the most recent year of the calendar. This is a useful tool for planning out courses from now until your final year.

FAQ Continued

When can I enrol in my courses?

Your enrolment appointment will be posted to your Mosaic account two to three weeks before your actual appointment. You can check it on the right-hand side of the Student Centre, under the “Enrolment Dates” box. You will be given a specific time and date that you may begin enrolling.

How many courses should I take each term?

Your course load should be balanced between Fall and Winter terms. A full course load is typically five courses (15 units per term) but depending on your schedule, you may consider taking a reduced course load of four courses per term (12 units each term). If you’re unsure if a reduced course load is right for you, contact an advisor in the Academic Advising Office.

Many students choose to take fewer than 30 units. One of the greatest advantages of taking a lighter course load is being able to combine learning with family, work, health, athletic or personal commitments. Taking fewer courses at a time allows you to balance different parts of your life and to study at a rate that suits your personal circumstances. It may take you a little longer to complete your degree, however, the benefits of taking courses at a slower pace may improve your educational experience. To maintain full-time student status, you must take 18 units (3 courses) per term. You may also take courses in the Spring/Summer terms.

Students who enrol in fewer than 18 units during the Fall/Winter academic terms are considered part-time students. If you are considering taking your degree at a slower and perhaps more comfortable pace, you may wish to discuss this with your academic advisor, Kelli Cale.

What are prerequisites and antirequisites?

A prerequisite is a specific course or subject that you must complete before you can take another course. Antirequisites are courses which, cannot be taken before, after, or at the same time as the desired course. This is because the course content is very similar.

You can check prerequisites and antirequisites by visiting the Undergraduate Calendar, under the course description in the Course Listings section for the most recent year. Set the subject (prefix) before filtering to search courses.

What are electives?

Electives are any courses beyond the core requirements that a student takes. These may come from the Social Sciences course lists, and/or from other Faculties. 

I received an error message which says, “Available seats are reserved and you do not meet the reserve capacity criteria.” What does this mean?

This message means that although seats are available, they are currently only open to certain groups of students (ie., students majoring in that subject, students in a particular Faculty, or students of a particular Level). This is typically done to ensure students requiring the course for their program are able to obtain a seat. You may directly contact the department and ask when they will be releasing the seats, or keep checking periodically for open seats.

Do I need to take math?

If you are interested in Psychology, Neuroscience & Behaviour or Economics after completing Social Sciences I, you will need to take some math courses. Be sure to use the worksheets in the FYI guide to plan which courses you need to take in Level I to qualify for your desired programs in Level II. 

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. 

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 

I have a disability or require some form of academic accommodations. How do I receive support?

Student Accessibility Services (SAS) provides academic assistance and related supports to students with documented needs at McMaster.

Can I study on an 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.

When are my tuition fees due?

Please see the Student Accounts and Cashiers website under important dates and deadlines.


Get Ready to Enrol

Plan your courses & enrol in your required classes

As part of your admissions package, you have received access to the Mosaic portal on June 12. 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, view your degree standing and grades, view program requirements, access unofficial transcripts, and more.

To get started planning your courses, visit for details on how to:

  • Upload a Student Card photo
  • Plan your desired courses
  • Enrol in classes


Planning your Courses

Level I enrolment appointments will begin opening on June 26. Your individual enrolment appointment will be posted to your Mosaic Student Centre, and found on the right-hand side of the student centre, under enrolment dates. You can begin to enrol 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. Enrol early to ensure a seat in your preferred courses!

Plan for your enrolment appointment by reviewing the all of your Level I requirements for Level II within this guide. When choosing first-year courses, remember to select first-year classes that will allow you entry into your preferred degree program.

Before enrolment begins, sign into Mosaic and search for classes through your Student Centre portal by navigating to Student Centre > MyTimetable. You can save schedules to your favourites and easily pull them up when it’s your time to enrol.

To add courses to your list, select a term, then search for a course by typing any of the following options:

  • Course code (e.g. SOC SCI 1T03)
  • Course Title (e.g. Life, the University & a Bit of Everything)
  • Instructor’s name (e.g. Mark Busser)

Repeat these steps for all desired courses for each term. Conflict-free schedules will generate and appear in the right column. You can review all options and choose your optimal schedule.

Once your enrolment appointment opens and you’ve created the timetable you want, click Get This Schedule. From here, click Go to Enrol and you’re done!

For more information on using MyTimetable visit:
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. It must be used for all university communication.

Once these steps are completed, a confirmation package will be mailed to you by the Registrar’s Office in late August.

Submit your payment & explore funding sources for your education

After completing enrolment, it’s time to submit payment. Visit for details on:

  • Paying your fees
  • OSAP, the Ontario Tuition Grant and financial aid for Out-of-Province students
  • Entrance 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
  • University Transfers
  • Mature Students

Enrolment Tips