Elger: Life Sciences Gateway - Honours Biology and Psychology, Neuroscience & Behaviour
Life Sciences Gateway - Honours Biology and Psychology, Neuroscience & Behaviour
My name is Elger. I am a graduate of the Honours Biology and Psychology, Neuroscience & Behaviour program. I was fortunate to have been accepted into medical school at the University of Ottawa, where I will be obtaining my MD.
Entering my studies at McMaster, I knew that I had a profound interest in the sciences and possibly future clinical work. I knew the Life Sciences Gateway program would be the right fit for me because of the flexibility it provides. It grants the opportunity to explore many aspects of science which complements the wide array of second-year specializations to choose from. This flexibility led me to pursue Honours Biology & PNB, which granted me many experiential opportunities and a well-rounded background to prepare me for professional school applications.
The Honours Biology and PNB program is unique as it provided me with much infrastructural support to pursue research, clinical, experiential, and wide-ranging course experiences. I was able to pursue research across three disciplines including music cognition/auditory development, translational medicine (gastroenterology), and clinical psychology (cognitive behavioural therapy for insomnia). I was also able to gain experience at two clinics and a hospital (cardiology, neurology, and geriatrics) and work as one of two Head Teaching Assistants for the talented and caring MacIntroPsych team. In summary, being able to try out a bit of everything in the Life Sciences Gateway program and later the Honours Biology & PNB program, I learned what I am most passionate about as well as my shortcomings and was able to make a well-educated decision on my future pursuits.
If I could share some advice to prospective students, it would be to really push yourself to experience as much of what university can offer you. McMaster University and the Faculty of Science is an incredibly healthy environment to be in—the staff and students are so welcoming and supportive—and this will help discover who you are and celebrate your professional and personal achievements as you progress.
Henrietta: Life Sciences Gateway - Honours Psychology, Neuroscience & Behaviour
Life Sciences Gateway - Honours Psychology, Neuroscience & Behaviour
My name is Henrietta and I am a graduated of the Honours Psychology, Neuroscience & Behaviour program with a minor in Biology. I am currently enrolled in the Bachelor of Education program at Western University.
I chose Life Sciences Gateway as my entry-level program because I loved Chemistry and Physics in high school and wanted to major in one or the other. Fortunately, the Life Sciences Gateway program has an multiple Introductory Psychology courses that helped me discover my hidden passion for Psychology which led to a major in Honours PNB and, best of all, a teaching assistant position in the very same IntroPsych courses I loved so much in first year! Choosing a second-year specialization in PNB was so easy and I love that the Life Sciences Gateway program is so flexible for students!
The Honours PNB program afforded many opportunities. In second year, I completed a research practicum in the CogSci Lab which really provided a whole new appreciation for research. In third year, I was fortunate enough to complete a full year practicum in the research department of the Hamilton-Wentworth District School Board which provided a unique perspective into applied research. By third year I really solidified my interest in human learning and the applications of research to real-life education settings. In my final year I was able to complete an undergraduate thesis in the EdCog Lab. By this time, I had truly discovered my passion for teaching and education and that led me to where I am today.
I ended up on a completely different path than I envisioned as a first-year student and I think that is a great thing! My program led me to the place I am now, and I learned so much about myself personally and professionally. My advice to first-year students is to embrace the different paths in life, to explore, and really take advantage of all the opportunities and experiences McMaster has to offer.
I cannot wait for you to embrace the opportunities, discover yourself, and fall in love with McMaster.
Sami: Life Sciences Gateway - Honours Chemical Biology Co-op
Life Sciences Gateway - Honours Chemical Biology Co-op
My name is Sami, and I am an undergraduate student in the Honours Chemical Biology Co-op program. I chose to study Chemical Biology because of its unique inter-disciplinary focus. As a Chemical Biology student, I have worked in research laboratories spanning the fields of computational chemistry, molecular biology, and chemical engineering.
I chose the Life Sciences Gateway program in the Faculty of Science at McMaster because of the flexibility in the first-year coursework. I am grateful that I had a full academic year to explore my options and make an informed decision about program specializations. My enjoyment of the introductory chemistry courses guided my decision to specialize in Chemical Biology in my second year.
The Honours Chemical Biology program has enhanced my understanding of what it means to be a scientist. Through the Co-op program, I have worked alongside individuals from the government, industry, and academic sectors. They have taught me that science is about working with real-world problems and making a difference through innovation. My experiences in Co-op have informed my decision to pursue graduate school and work towards a senior scientist position in a government research lab.
One piece of advice I would give a student interested in the Faculty of Science program is to be open-minded. The first year enables you to dabble in a range of subjects. I encourage you to take that opportunity to reflect on your experiences in each course. Those experiences are important in guiding you to make an informed decision about program specializations.
Best of luck with your journey at McMaster University and beyond!
Saman: Life Sciences Gateway - Honours Biology and Environmental Science
Life Sciences Gateway - Honours Biology and Environmental Science
Coming out of high school, I was interested in a broad range of disciplines. The versatility of the Life Sciences Gateway program at McMaster allowed me to explore various fields and find a program that was right for me.
After specializing into the Honours Biology and Environmental Sciences program, I had the opportunity to take courses from both the Department of Biology and the School of Earth, Environment and Society.
This multidisciplinary approach gave me the freedom to tailor my undergraduate experience to my interests. This provided me with a broad range of skills and knowledge to prepare me for my studies post-graduation. Furthermore, access to a variety of learning formats, including field courses, enriched my learning experience and gave me firsthand practice applying concepts learned in the classroom to the real world.
My advice for incoming students is to get to know your professors. Each of them has a wealth of knowledge that they are more than happy to share. This is your best resource for finding what you are passionate about.
Lysha: Earth & Environmental Sciences Gateway - Honours Earth & Environmental Sciences Co-op
Earth & Environmental Sciences Gateway - Honours Earth & Environmental Sciences Co-op
My name is Lysha, I am in my final year of the Earth and Environmental Sciences Co-op program. I am also pursuing a Concurrent Certificate in Geographic Information Systems (GIS). I am currently working on a thesis with the McMaster Ecohydrology Lab where I will be using remote sensing and GIS to look at the spatial and temporal variability in ice on and off of lakes and wetlands in the Georgian Bay region.
I chose McMaster and the Faculty of Science because of the great reputation in science and the flexibility that gateway programs allow. This meant that I could have a good idea about what I wanted to study, but left the door open for me to explore different interests as well. I chose Earth and Environmental Sciences because I have always wanted to help the world around me. I enjoy several different streams of science and wanted to learn to apply them to solve real world problems. I have had the opportunity to take general biology, chemistry, physics, math, and programming courses and learned how they can all apply to the natural world through topics like geophysics, hydrogeology, and spatial statistics.
The Honours Earth and Environmental Sciences program at McMaster has exposed me to so many new learning opportunities. The program focuses on topics like hydrology and climate, GIS, earth science, and environmental policy. Being able to take classes in a variety of topics has made me a more well-rounded student and allowed me to find where my passions lie. Through the co-op program I have been able to gain real-world experience in different fields such as environmental impact assessment, water/wastewater treatment, and using GIS in public sector.
I would tell a student interested in a Faculty of Science program to actively try to step out of your comfort zone. That can be something like talking to a professor about their research, trying out a new club, or taking a class that you think might be interesting, but maybe is not directly related to your major. I would not have learned about most of my interests if I had not tried things that were outside of my comfort zone!
Rachel: Environmental and Earth Sciences Gateway - Honours Biology and Environmental Science
Environmental and Earth Sciences Gateway - Honours Biology and Environmental Science
My name is Rachel and I am currently in my third year of the Honours Biology and Environmental Science program and working towards an interdisciplinary minor in Sustainability and a concurrent certificate in Geographic Information Science. I am also currently interning as a research assistant in McMaster’s Remote Sensing Lab.
My first year of university was in Engineering at a different Ontario university where I learned I didn’t want to pursue a career in engineering. By the following year I had transferred into McMaster’s Environmental and Earth Sciences Gateway program since my favourite topics to learn about include climate, geology, ecology, and other natural sciences. I still feel that my decision to transfer into McMaster Science and study what I’m truly passionate about is the best decision I have ever made! Based on my interests after taking courses in all areas of science in the Gateway program, the Biology and Environmental Sciences program seemed perfect for me.
I have enjoyed the content in my Biology and Environmental Science courses so much that I have learned I absolutely want to pursue graduate studies in the field of Environmental Science and possibly have a career in academic research in the future. In preparation for applying to graduate schools and then doing graduate research, I am taking a science internship course working in the laboratory of a professor, learning if I like doing research, and gaining research experience as early as I can.
My biggest piece of advice to incoming Science students is to take advantage of all the resources available to you through the Faculty of Science and its departments. In my first year I was overwhelmed about choosing courses and my second-year program, so I took the opportunities I could talk with academic advisors, professors, and attend office hours and events aimed at first year students.
I hope you love your time at McMaster as much as I do and make the most out of everything the Faculty of Science has to offer.
Rachel: Chemical & Physical Sciences Gateway - Honours Astrophysics
Chemical & Physical Sciences Gateway - Honours Astrophysics
My name is Rachel and I graduated from the Honours Astrophysics program with a minor in French. Now I am doing my master's degree in Astrophysics, also at McMaster, where I use computational techniques to study star formation.
I started in the Chemical & Physical Sciences Gateway program because I came into university with the plan of pursuing physics and becoming a teacher. I chose McMaster after visiting campus in my grade 12 year and falling in love. The community, especially the people I talked to from the Faculty of Science, was incredibly supportive and welcoming and the students I interacted with were genuinely happy and excited about their departments.
Pursuing physics at McMaster opened my eyes to the possibilities I had post-graduation, and eventually my goals switched from wanting to be a teacher to wanting to stay in academia and become a professor. I also came into my own in the department, being given a space and the mentors to be able to pursue passions outside of physics, like equity efforts in STEM. Being a graduate student, I of course use my knowledge of physics daily, but my degree also allowed me to learn valuable life lessons, like persistence, that I carry with me.
If I could give any advice to a student interested in the Faculty of Science at McMaster, it would be: relax and remember that one mistake or uncertainty is not the be-all and end-all of your life or your aspirations. You can do this, just breathe.
Lilly: Chemical & Physical Sciences Gateway - Honours Mathematics and Statistics Co-op
Chemical & Physical Sciences Gateway - Honours Mathematics and Statistics Co-op
My name is Lily and I am a third-year Honours Mathematics and Statistics Co-Op Student specializing in Mathematics, with a minor in Geography and Earth Sciences. I was admitted to the Chemical and Physical Sciences Gateway Program at McMaster, but it only took one calculus class for me to realize I was in the wrong program.
One of the great things about the science gateway programs is that while I was enrolled in Chemical and Physical Sciences Gateway, I was able to take all the mathematics courses necessary to apply to my current program. All four gateway programs at McMaster offer the opportunity and flexibility to specialize very early on while encouraging and supporting you. This is one of the main reasons why I chose McMaster.
I love academia and teaching, so following my undergraduate degree, I’m hoping to pursue a Masters Degree in Mathematics Education followed by a PhD, and then to one day teach Mathematics at the university level.
If I could give one piece of advice to first-year students, it would be to not let your program confine you. Take classes that interest you and spark your interest across different faculties. I ended up taking a geology course in my first year, and I loved it so much I decided to minor in it! Take advantage of this opportunity in first year and see if you discover something you enjoy outside of your major. I wish you luck in at McMaster and look forward to seeing you around campus!
Kristen: Life Sciences Gateway - Honours Earth & Environmental Sciences Co-op
Life Sciences Gateway - Honours Earth & Environmental Sciences Co-op
My name is Kristen and I am in my fourth year of the Honours Earth and Environmental Science (Co-op) program. I am currently working on a thesis project with a geochemical focus and I am a Teaching Assistant for a first-year geology course (EARTHSC 1G03). I recently finished an 8-month Co-op term with Environment and Climate Change Canada, where I worked with the Pollutant Inventories and Reporting Division, Industry Team.
What drew me to McMaster’s Faculty of Science was how diverse and flexible it was. I came into the faculty as a Life Science Gateway student, unsure of exactly what I wanted to do for my degree. In second year, I moved into the Honours Earth and Environmental Science program. I have always been passionate about the environment and sustainability, and I really enjoyed the first-year earth and environmental science classes, so this seemed like a good fit for me!
In the Honours Earth and Environmental Science program, you are exposed to a wide variety of different subjects, such as hydrology, geology, geochemistry, soil science and more! One of my favorite things about this program is how interesting and immersive the labs are. From soil properties testing, to chemical separation and analysis techniques, to rock and mineral identification, I feel that I’ve gained a variety of practical skills. Through taking so many different courses, talking to professors about their research or working experiences, and trying different jobs through the Co-op program, I realized how many options there are for post-graduate studies and possible career paths.
I would advise students interested in a Faculty of Science program to take courses that interest them, and not to be anxious if they are unsure of what they want to do. First year is a great time to try new things, explore different subject areas and discover a path that you want to take. Don’t be afraid to ask your instructors questions, or to have a conversation with them about the subject they teach, their research, or additional opportunities they might have available. This is a great way to network!
Wishing you a great experience at McMaster! I hope you find the right program for you.
Wenjing: Mathematics & Statistics Gateway - Honours Mathematics & Statistics Co-op
Mathematics & Statistics Gateway - Honours Mathematics & Statistics Co-op
My name is Wenjing and I am a fourth-year student in the Honours Mathematics & Statistics Co-op (Statistics Specialization) program with a minor in Economics. I finished my first co-op work term at a start-up company as a product sourcing specialist, where I aimed to find suitable products and use data analysis tools to predict and assess the product’s viability for online arbitrage.
Honours Mathematics & Statistics is one of the fasted growing programs in the Faculty of Science. This program is unique because of the flexibility it gives to students in first year. This flexibility gave me many opportunities to prepare for the co-op, try different things, and explore a variety of courses, which lead me to pursue a Statistics Specialization.
Before entering university, I was interested in the Actuarial & Financial Mathematics, therefore, I took some basic courses about that. However, after first year, I realized the Statistics was my true passion and allowed me to develop the necessary skills required for my future career. This program is not only focused on theoretical knowledge like Linear Algebra, Calculus, Modeling, but also taught different programming languages that are useful for the future. When I started my co-op work-term, I found that I was using data analysis skills learned in my program to analyze graphs in order to come up with the best sourcing plan to increase turnover rate.
If I could give some piece of advice to incoming Science students, it would be, do not be afraid of try something new and explore as many opportunities as you can. You may find your true passion when exploring new options.
Good luck with university and enjoy life at McMaster!
Kate: Honours Integrated Science (Psychology, Neuroscience, and Behaviour Concentration)
Honours Integrated Science (Psychology, Neuroscience, and Behaviour Concentration)
My name is Kate and I am in the Honours Integrated Science program, concentrating in Psychology, Neuroscience, and Behaviour and minoring in Statistics. I am in my third year enjoying my classes, volunteering in the community, and working in pedagogy research on the side.
I chose the Integrated Science (iSci) program for the close-knit community, breadth of courses, and the variety of research practice. McMaster itself is known for research, so I knew I could expect a great deal of expertise from my professors.
I have known for a long time that I want to be a Child Psychologist; after my undergraduate I would like to pursue a Master's and PhD in Clinical Psychology. My program has helped prepare me for graduate school in so many ways including, teaching me how to conduct research, and the value of scientific collaboration and how to communicate scientific findings. I am confident I will be prepared for future studies after my undergraduate degree!
One piece of advice I would give to first years is to get involved in what you are passionate about. McMaster has so many cool clubs and events where you can meet people interested in the same thing you are - it is very worthwhile to participate in activities outside of classes.
I hope you check out iSci and science at McMaster. I have loved my first two years and can't wait to explore what's to come in the next two!
Amir: Honours Integrated Science (Biology Concentration)
Honours Integrated Science (Biology Concentration)
I am Amir and I am in my fourth year of Honours Integrated Science (iSci) program. I am expecting to graduate with a B.Sc. in Honours Integrated Science (Biology Concentration) and a minor in Mathematics. Currently, I am working on a thesis project in the field of cellular neuroscience while preparing myself for the next step: The post-graduation plan. To prepare, I have been researching my career options that match my interests. This year, in addition to my thesis and schoolwork, I will be applying to those positions I have chosen, such as positions in academia (e.g. research assistant positions) and off-campus companies (e.g. consulting companies).
I have been passionate about science for a long time. My passion grew as I learned about Newtonian physics, the central dogma of biology, quantum states of atoms in chemistry, and the fundamental theorem of calculus. I wanted to study sciences and learn about the scientific method. I started my last year of high school in Newmarket, Ontario, where I was introduced to iSci at Mac. It seemed that I had customised this program for my ideal undergraduate experience. iSci had it all; an interdisciplinary approach and a research-based learning for science education.
My days as a Faculty of Science student have been filled with experiences that have shaped my identity. Being away from loved ones, the support I received at Mac, has re-established the sense of home and family for me.
My advice to you is to take advantage of this supportive community and seek assistance when in need. Whatever challenge ahead, there will be someone to have your back through it, you just need to ask.
Marium: Honours Kinesiology
My name is Marium Kiwan and I am in my fourth year of Honours Kinesiology. I started off my undergraduate career in the Honours Kinesiology program as it is direct-entry where we learned program specific information right from the beginning. I chose Kinesiology at McMaster as I wanted to pursue an application based program that focused on human anatomy and physiology while exploring physical activity and its effect on health. The Kinesiology program also gives lots of freedom to explore other disciplines with a large number of electives which I enjoyed taking advantage of by exploring other science, social science and humanities courses.
Kinesiology really opened my eyes to real-life health problems experienced by people in society. I was able to apply the knowledge I learned in my lectures right here on campus at the Physical Activity Centre of Excellence. As a volunteer I aid individuals with spinal cord injuries and multiple sclerosis with their prescribed exercise programs. This experience has allowed me to see the difference the information learned through my program can have on the lives of others.
My advice to incoming Science students is to research the programs you are interested in and look at their upper year courses to help you decide what it is you are passionate about. Doing your homework right now will help put you ahead when it comes to making final selections of first year programs and choosing majors. I wish you all the best of luck at McMaster and I can’t wait for you to see how incredible the Science programs are!
Aarushi: Honours Kinesiology
My name is Aarushi and I am in my final year of a Bachelor of Science in Honours Kinesiology! Though I am notoriously indecisive, choosing to come to McMaster for Kinesiology was one of the easiest decisions I’ve made.
The Honours Kinesiology program at Mac is unique as it is a direct-entry program in the Faculty of Science. This means that right from day one, you take Kinesiology program requirement courses with passionate instructors. You receive hands-on experience in your first weeks of class, including, dealing with cadavers or performing VO2max tests.
As I am nearing the end of my time at McMaster, Kinesiology has provided me with the opportunity to explore many possible career paths. As you continue through the program, you get increased flexibility regarding what courses you can take and are able to cater them specifically to the fields you are interested in. With plenty of experiential opportunities, ranging from working in exercise rehabilitation centres to supporting varsity athletes, and participating in researching with your instructors.
This year, I will be applying to post-graduate studies in the Rehabilitation Sciences and I know that in a couple of years, I will be applying everything I learned here to my career.
A piece of advice that I would give to someone in first year is to get involved in as many opportunities as possible. Join a club that you are interested in, talk to your professor after that lecture and explore all the amazing opportunities the Faculty of Science (and McMaster in general) has to offer!
Rebecca: Honours Kinesiology
My name is Rebecca and I graduated from McMaster University in 2019 with a BSc Honours Kinesiology. The fall after my graduation, I returned to McMaster to begin my master’s degree in Occupational Therapy. I am now in my final year of the program, due to graduate in 2021.
I chose McMaster’s Kinesiology program for my undergraduate degree because it allowed me to get right into the courses that I was most interested in. While a general first year is a great opportunity to explore your options, I knew that I wanted a career in health care, so I appreciated diving right into learning about what I love. One of my favourite things about the Kinesiology program is the flexibility that you have in your third and fourth year courses. There are many compelling classes to choose from and you can cater your course load to reflect your interests and career aspirations.
During my undergraduate degree I was fortunate to volunteer at the McMaster Physical Activity Centre of Excellence (PACE) which led me to pursue my degree in Occupational Therapy. As I worked with clients and listened to their experiences, I realized what a unique, positive, and client-centered approach to health care the career had to offer. As I transitioned from an undergraduate level to a master’s level program, I felt that my degree in Kinesiology provided me with a strong understanding of anatomy, good critical thinking skills, and a passion for providing care.
If I could give one piece of advice to incoming Science students, it would be to discover how you best study and learn. Adjusting to university courses and expectations can feel overwhelming. I think it is important to take the time to explore what works best for you. Whether it is going to the library, studying with friends, using flashcards, or writing your notes by hand, find what makes you feel confident in your learning – and be sure to find time to take breaks!
I wish you the best in your bright futures in the Faculty of Science at McMaster University!
Sydney: Medical Radiation Sciences (Ultrasonography Specialization)
Medical Radiation Sciences (Ultrasonography Specialization)
My name is Sydney and I am completing my final year in the Medical Radiation Sciences program, delivered by McMaster University and Mohawk College. I specialized in Ultrasonography and have had the privilege to scan my peers in class and patients in the hospital due to the design of this program. I am currently in the middle of my second clinical placement in Wingham, Ontario.
I chose Medical Radiation Sciences because I wanted to pick a program where I would be set up well for a career after completing an undergraduate degree. I thought, “If I go into Med Rad, I can help others and, work in the health care field” With that in mind, I chose this program. It is very hands-on, specific, and practical while still having courses where we learn more about anatomy and pathologies. All my peers, who have now graduated, are employed in hospitals or clinics.
Through my program, I have realized my love for being an ‘expert’ in a field and how much I love teaching and helping others. Although I still sway between professional school (medical or dentistry), my current plan is to become an ultrasound professor. I really enjoyed the relationship us students had with our professors and I hope to provide the same experience I had for future students.
If I could give one piece of advice to an incoming student considering the Faculty of Science, I would tell them to make sure they do their research on each entry level program. On social media, you can look for the program’s student society and message them to ask questions and find out if the program is right for you! Also, remember that it is NEVER too late to switch programs. University is a learning experience and the perfect time for you to find out what you like and don’t like. Don’t feel that you have to know exactly what you want to do. There are several pathways to one destination, and it doesn’t matter how you get there; what matters is that you enjoy the journey!
I hope you enjoy all the different aspects of the program and experience all the amazing opportunities ahead of you, no matter what obstacles come your way.
Jennifer: Medical Radiation Sciences (Radiography Specialization)
Medical Radiation Sciences (Radiography Specialization)
My name is Jennifer and I am in my last year of the Medical Radiation Sciences program with a specialization in Radiography. The last year of this program consists of an 8-month clinical placement, which I am currently completing at Oakville Trafalgar Memorial Hospital.
I initially chose this program because of the clinical placements that are integrated into the curriculum. I wanted hands-on clinical experience before graduating so that I could excel when working professionally in a medical setting. Throughout the past four years, I have grown an immense appreciation for the patience, knowledge, and dedication that is required to produce diagnostic images that set into motion a patient’s road to recovery.
This program effectively sets up its students to work almost immediately after graduating. I intend to work as an x-ray technologist after obtaining my degree and diploma. I am heavily interested in branching off into other modalities, such as Computed Tomography, Interventional Radiology, and Magnetic Resonance Imaging. I may pursue a graduate program to study radiation biology or pathophysiology further, as my program has sparked my passion for these subjects.
To all future Faculty of Science students, be proactive with your education and research what career opportunities may stem from your degree! You may find yourself surprised with the vast number of opportunities each degree provides. Making informed decisions and leading your own educational journey will allow you to discover who you are and what interests you. Take the time to explore your options and reveal who you want to be professionally.
I absolutely adore McMaster and the Faculty of Science because of the support, connections, and opportunities they provide. I wish you the best of luck at McMaster! I can’t wait for you to fall in love with the university that has given me the best education and career preparation that I could have hoped for.