New Students

Are you new to McMaster Engineering?  We are so pleased to welcome you to our place of study and play.  We aim to make your time here at McMaster exciting and engaging as well as help you out whenever you need it. Be sure to read the page below and learn about all the services the MES offers as well as some quick tips and tricks to get you through your degree.

Three Guiding Principles


Academic Support

Check out the resource centre to see the various academic services that will help you succeed in first year. When times are rough, don’t give up and don’t be afraid to ask for help. Everyone in Mac Eng is here to help each other out both academically, and professionally

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Get Involved!

Take a look at the Student Life Tab to see all of the MES’s Groups, Teams and Affiliates! Academics are really important, however we all need hobbies to distract us from the countless assignments we have here at Mac Eng. Also, its way more impressive if you spend your free time building formula hybrid cars versus watching reruns of Friends on Netflix.


Get Your Social On

Besides extracurriculars and studying for exams university is also about being social with thousands of other twenty something year olds. Whether you’re looking for love, a failed romance or just a couple of best friends, the MES has plenty of social events planned for your enjoyment. Be sure to visit the Events Calendar and plan your Netflix according.

Key Services


The Student Academic Assistance Program is key for helping all MES Members. Not only does it help students struggling academically find a tutor but it also provides countless MES members with well paying part time jobs. If 1E03, 1ZC3 or any other course has got you down, be sure to check the SAAP page to get the help you need.


By now you’ve already gotten your MESCard. Keep this handy, its useful for saving money around campus and it will also grant you free surprises throughout the year. For a full list of MESCard Locations as well as a map of where you can use your card, visit the service’s page below.


The Bob Loree Undergraduate Engineering Lounge is located in JHE 121, right off the main lobby of JHE. It is home to The Drain, the MES Office, and all our awesome publications! Come by to relax in the lounge space, use our microwaves, utilize the charging station, take advantage of our extensive Textbook Library, catch up on some studying, and most importantly to meet other Mac Eng students! The Lounge is the hub of the MES, and contains Mac Eng culture and history not only in the form of murals and memorabilia, but also in the form of knowledgeable upper year students who are keen to share their wisdom with you, most likely over a round of Euchre!


By choosing to pursue Engineering at McMaster University, you have made a fantastic choice that will introduce you to a great community of people while giving you a world class education. If you have some questions, worry not! We have compiled some the most common questions we get from students. If you have additional questions, feel free to contact our VP Academic, at

Q: Who should I talk to regarding course and program selection?

A: This would be handled by your academic advisor. They are in JHE A214 where you can book appointments with them. Don’t know who your advisor is? Follow this link to find out!

Q: How do I know if I should go to my academic advisor or someone else for help at school?

A: Generally, your academic advisor can help you deal with a lot of decision making, but they tend to deal with mostly academic concerns. If you are experiencing any personal issues or health issues, be sure to visit the Student Wellness Centre in the basement of the Student Centre.

Q: What type of laptop should I get for engineering?

A: This is a difficult question to answer as there are many different factors to consider. A good rule is to find a laptop which will allow you to run the necessary programs for first year. The system requirements for Autodesk Inventor 2016 (one of the more intensive programs) are:

Operating System Recommended:
64-bit Microsoft® Windows® 7 with Service Pack 1 or Windows 8.1 ¹

64-bit Microsoft Windows 7 with Service Pack 1
CPU TypeRecommended:
Intel® Xeon® E3 or Core i7 or equivalent, 3.0 GHz or greater
64-bit Intel® or AMD, 2 GHz or faster

16 GB RAM ³ or more
8 GB RAM for less than 500 part assemblies

Disk SpaceRecommended:
250 GB free disk space or more
Microsoft® Direct3D 11® capable graphics card or higher ⁴

With that being said, it is not mandatory to have your own computer for engineering. There are plenty of computer labs on campus where you can complete all of your assignments!

Q: Help! I just failed a midterm! What do I do?

A: Step 1: Take a deep breath.

Failing a midterm is not the end of the world and there are a few ways to look at the situation. You should always be sure to take it as a learning experience and try to find out where things went wrong; did you study enough? Were you distracted the day of the test? Did you do all of the assigned readings and problems? Furthermore, if you feel that your test may have been graded incorrectly, you can always talk to your professor or TA and ask to see your test. They may have missed a mark or two somewhere, but it will at least help you to see where you went wrong and help you prepare for the final!

Q: How do I get extra help in a course?

A: There a few options when it comes to getting extra help. You can go to your professors office hours to ask for help (don’t worry, they are actually real people who like to help students out; especially those who actively seek it), you can ask your friends, or you can get a tutor at an extremely affordable rate through the Student Academic Assistance Program!

Q: Who do I talk to if I am interested in assisting professors with research?

A: Talk to the professor! Believe it or not, first year students are even able to secure research positions with professors. The only way to really know if it would be possible for you to work with a professors is to talk to them!

Q: What is the cut off average for the various second year programs?

A: This question will get asked a lot, but the truest answer is that it varies with every year depending on the demand of each program. For example, Civil and Management can be very popular one year, but the following year not as many people may want that program and therefore it will be easier to get into. At the end of the day all that you can really do is try your best in first year to help your chances of getting your first choice for second year.