Are you thinking about McMaster University (How to Get Into) for your undergrad or advanced degree? Located in Hamilton, Ontario, Canada, McMaster is an ever-expanding educational institution and one of the hallmarks of the area; it’s a place of learning and a second home for students from all walks of life.

McMaster has a robust engineering program and a teaching hospital: the Michael G. DeGroote School of Medicine is one of the foremost medical schools in Canada. The beautiful and vast campus is located mainly in Hamilton’s well-heeled west end. In short, it’s a great place to live and learn.

Regardless of which program you are looking at, McMaster is a worthwhile place to investigate. In this article, we will help with that investigation by giving a broad, comprehensive overview of the school, its programs, its ideal students, and how to apply to McMaster.

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Article Contents
9 min read

Mission Statement Programs Academic Curriculum Program Deadlines Which Program is Right for You? Admissions Statistics and Eligibility Tuition, Debt, and Funding Opportunities Selection Factors Interview Format Conclusion FAQs

Mission Statement

Mission and vision statements give you a summary of the values that an institution holds dear. Furthermore, they confirm the kind of place to which you are applying; submit applications to those you respect and that resonate with you. Use this information to your advantage, as any college essays you must write or extracurriculars for college you want to highlight can be curated to show how you connect with the vision and mission of the institution. You can also include your understanding of the mission in your responses to interview questions.

Are you wondering about the differences between undergrad and grad school? Check out this video:

From the McMaster University website:

“Our Mission: At McMaster our purpose is the discovery, communication and preservation of knowledge. In our teaching, research, and scholarship, we are committed to creativity, innovation and excellence. We value integrity, quality, inclusiveness and teamwork in everything we do. We inspire critical thinking, personal growth and a passion for lifelong learning. We serve the social, cultural, and economic needs of our community and our society.

Our Vision: Impact, Ambition and Transformation through Excellence, Inclusion and Community: Advancing Human and Societal Health and Well-being.”


Planning your undergrad can be complicated, and McMaster offers many programs that you might be interested in as a student. How to select the program that’s best for you is a very personal decision and will reflect on your future career. Choose wisely based on several factors.

Consider all factors when selecting the best path for your future.

Michael G. DeGroote School of Medicine

As already mentioned, McMaster is home to one of the best medical schools in Ontario, providing students with the opportunity to acquire their MD. The school also features programs in medical radiation, physician assistants, nursing, and midwifery – for a large set of possibilities in the medical and health care fields.

McMaster boasts a 100% employment rate within 12 months of graduation, which will be a comfort to any medical student – this is specifically for McMaster’s MD program.

Programs that relate directly to medicine at McMaster:


Although not known specifically for their arts degrees, McMaster has programs for arts and humanities. They have courses and programs for music majors, theatre artists, and visual arts.

Students can also opt for McMaster’s Arts & Sciences program, which provides a holistic approach to learning through interdisciplinary education. McMaster places the emphasis, in this program, on social awareness.

The iArts (interdisciplinary arts) program offers students the chance to challenge themselves creatively by combining different art forms and disciplines into their practice. This program is small and, as a result, very selective.

Situated in Hamilton, Ontario, McMaster’s students have access to a growing arts sector in their home city. Recent years have seen rapid expansion in Hamilton’s arts community, encompassing visual art, theatre, and music.

Arts and Humanities Programs:


The Faculty of Engineering at McMaster has long enjoyed an excellent reputation. Perhaps this is because McMaster emphasizes “experiential learning,” which gives their students something to look forward to beyond the classroom.

Beyond engineering, McMaster also offers other courses in the hard sciences, like mathematics, chemistry, and environmental sciences.

Science Programs:


McMaster offers courses for budding businesspeople and entrepreneurs as well.

McMaster’s business program is committed to connecting students to the business world as soon as possible, including paid internships with several companies. Learning on the job + academic learning + partnerships with local business makes this program very appealing to prospective students.

The study of economics can benefit any businessperson in the making or grant a student entry into banking or taxes. McMaster’s economics program has the possibility of internships, as well as research centres: the McMaster Decision Science Laboratory (McDSL), Public Economics Data Analysis Laboratory (PEDAL), and Statistics Canada Research Data Centre at McMaster (RDC).

Business Programs:


McMaster offers a program in Mathematics and Statistics as well. This program studies patterns “... underlying diverse phenomena such as the weather, human and animal populations, stock markets, the form of a molecule, or the structure of the space and the time.” The statistics aspect of the program focuses on data sets and complex systems.

Academic Curriculum

McMaster uses the COMPASS curriculum for medical students. This curriculum is based on cognitive psychology techniques and focuses on ensuring that McMaster medical students have a strong foundation in the basic fundamentals of medicine.

Other programs cite their socially conscious learning and integration across disciplines – the aforementioned iArts program, for instance – but even programs like environmental science tout their integration of different aspects of their programs.

Program Deadlines

Each program has different deadlines, so you need to make sure that you have your dates correct for your specific program.

Each program has an Application Deadline and a Supporting Deadline. Some programs have a Supplementary Application Deadline as well.

Deadlines also might change from year to year.

Typical Deadlines:

Application Deadlines, in a recent year, were either in mid-January or early April.

Supporting Deadlines, in a recent year, were almost all in early April. The sole exception was Midwifery, which placed their deadline in early February.

Supplementary Application Deadlines, in a recent year, ranged from late January to late February, except for the Music program, which extended its deadlines to March.

Which Program is Right for You?

It can be difficult to select your undergrad, so keep in mind your five-year and ten-year goals to select the optimal program for yourself. If you have not yet made five-year and ten-year goal plans, you might consider doing so now.

Based on your goal, you will still likely have several program options available to you. In that case, select a program that excites you. Finding something you are passionate about will make studying easier, and you will shine more in a role you appreciate and enjoy. That will lead to better grades, a more active engagement with the material, and the most opportunities for you.

Ultimately, only you can make this decision, so weigh all factors carefully, and make your decision well.

Admissions Statistics and Eligibility

In a recent year, the admissions rate for full-time, first-year applicants was 52.6%, although this number varies from program to program. Health sciences, for instance, is a highly competitive program and has a lower rate of acceptance. Their medical program accepted 205 students out of 5,868 applicants, in a recent year – for example.

Acceptance rate, all applicants

Acceptance rate, medical program

Canadians make up 90% of the student body, and more than half of the students are female.

McMaster admissions gender ratio

Female: 55%

Male: 44%

Other Sex: 1%

Almost 60% of matriculating students had grades of 90% or above, with the lowest grades accepted in recent years being at least 75%. Out-of-province, US, and international applications are all eligible.

Tuition, Debt, and Funding Opportunities

Costs vary from program to program, and the chart for every tuition bracket would be immense. Fortunately, McMaster has a fee estimator, so you can find out exactly what you will owe. As an example, the cost for a full-time, Ontario student taking Humanities at the undergraduate level is estimated to be $7,578 CAD. Out-of-province changes the number to $8,070, and an international student in the same category would pay $42,496.

Obviously, numbers also vary by program, so make use of the calculator. You’ll also need to factor in living expenses, like the meal plan, and additional expenses like books and other supplies you will need for your studies. All of this can add up quickly, particularly for international students.

Fortunately, McMaster offers various scholarships that are available to students as well as bursaries and government funding programs:

Entrance Awards

“Entrance awards” are given to first year students. Some are based on academic merit. Others are given for Indigenous students or international students.

The entrance awards also have a “specialty” category with additional funding for Black students and students from “equity deserving groups.” Other special category awards include the Loran award, which is awarded to a first year student who shows strength of character and leadership potential, and the Reese Fallon Memorial Scholarship, which is geared toward nursing students from Toronto.

These awards range from around $2,000 to $100,000 CAD.


Likewise, scholarships are available for students from a variety of backgrounds; both Canadian and international students can apply for them.

Entrance scholarships are awarded based on academic merit and sometimes “earned merit,” such as leadership awards or community involvement.

In-course awards are awarded based on CGPA but are not available to students who are in their graduating year.

Community contribution awards recognize a student’s extracurricular work and are non-monetary.

Travel and exchange awards mitigate or eliminate the costs of travel and transportation associated with studies.

Graduating awards are for students in their final year.

There are many specialty scholarships as well:

  • McCall MacBain Scholarships at McGill are for master’s degree students or professional degree students and provide a living stipend and mentorship opportunities.
  • Students can apply for up to $25,000 CAD with the Renaissance Award for an independently directed “enrichment experience.”
  • The Rhodes Scholarship provides a large amount of funding to allow students to study abroad at Oxford in England.
  • The Killam Fellowship is similar to the Rhodes Scholarship but applies to the US.
  • Project Hero is specific to children of Canadian military personnel whose parents were killed in an active mission. This scholarship provides tuition and living quarters.
  • The Schulich Leader Scholarships are given to STEM students and awarded for academic excellence, leadership, creativity, and charisma. If you are in STEM and have an “entrepreneurial spirit,” this scholarship might be for you.
  • The Wilson Leadership Scholar Awards are specifically set aside for future leaders in Canada.
  • The Climate Change and Health Innovation Award is given to students who have positively impacted climate change and health in innovative ways – exactly as the name implies.

External Scholarships are not presented through McMaster, but their website nevertheless lists them. They highlight sites like Scholarships Canada, the Student Awards, the Hamilton Community Foundation Awards, Disability Awards, Yconic, and Scholartree.

How do you know which scholarships to apply for? The answer is simple: as many as you can. Start by making a list of every scholarship that you qualify for. Make a “top-priority” list, which will consist of the scholarships you think you have the strongest likelihood of getting, and then make a calendar of all scholarship application deadlines. You might need to eliminate a few scholarships from your list due to time constraints, but if it is possible for you to apply for a scholarship, you should.

Selection Factors

McMaster University does favour Canadian applicants but definitely accepts international students. Tuition is higher, and only approximately 10% of McMaster’s student body is international – depending on the year.

Percentage of international students at McMaster University

Academically outstanding students are determined by grades, test scores, and transcripts, and will have their applications rise to the top.

McMaster is dedicated to a diverse student body and will factor in underrepresented persons during admissions. You will likely have space in your application to speak to your status as an underrepresented person. Secondary essays often include prompts about your contribution to diversity. Any essays or interview questions that ask you about yourself might also include a diverse component.

For example, the Bachelor of Technology has an “additional experience” section in which you could list personal experiences relevant to diversity. Or, in the Arts & Sciences program, there are essay prompts where you could speak to your diversity and background. Most people assume this refers to race, and while that is true, it can also refer to gender, sexuality, age, or even sex. Discuss your socioeconomic background as well, as underprivileged students will also be taken into consideration.

Ultimately, an aggregate of factors is used for selection. While a Canadian might have more weight than an international student, McMaster still values excellence, which is only determined by the totality of the applicant’s package. Make sure you pay close attention to all aspects of your application: essays, supplemental material, test scores – all of it. Consider everything important and consider nothing optional. Any “optional” essays or supplemental material “options” you encounter should be treated as one more way to stand out and have your application rise to the top.

Interview Format

McMaster is the home of the MMI, or multiple mini interview, having pioneered and created the format. The MMI is used by McMaster’s medical arts programs. Other forms of interview are used by different programs.

For example, the music program will have auditions to make sure that applicants are skilled in their art.


Using the extensive information provided in this article, you should be able to start your application to McMaster University and ultimately decide whether it is the place for you to pursue your undergrad or medical studies.


1. Does McMaster accept international students?

Yes. Around 10% of the student body are international students.

2. Is McMaster hard to get into?

By accepting half the number of students who apply or less, McMaster rates far below many other Canadian universities but well above American Ivy League schools, so it depends on your perspective. McMaster is one of the most prestigious universities in Canada and receives thousands of applications per year, so the competition is fierce.

3. Is McMaster a friendly and safe campus?

McMaster is committed to making its campus welcoming and safe and supporting its students to provide them with an excellent place to live.

4. Can I get in with low grades?

In recent years, McMaster’s accepted grades have been trending up. At least a 75% should be your goal to get in.

5. Do I have to live on campus?

No. You can apply to reside on campus, but it is not mandatory, or even possible, for all students to do so.

6. Where is McMaster located?

McMaster is situated in the west end of Hamilton, a section of the city called Westdale. It is close to Dundas, but not too far from Hamilton’s downtown core.

7. How big is the student body?

In total, 37,370, broken down into 32,119 undergraduate students with a remaining 5,251 graduate students.

8. Is McMaster a difficult school?

McMaster is demanding of its student body, but “difficult” is often in the eye of the beholder, and it will be up to you to determine the difficulty for yourself. Its reputation is generally that it is fairly hard.

To your success,

Your friends at BeMo

BeMo Academic Consulting


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