Tackling the global challenges of climate change, pandemics, and new energy sources requires research in more than a single field of science. Modern scientists must have a more multi-disciplinary foundation, and be encouraged to ask creative, critical, interdisciplinary questions, while possessing a wide range of communication tools to provide answers. The Honours BSc. Integrated Science (iSci) Program at McMaster University has been designed for this explicit purpose.
The Honours Integrated Science program (iSci) is the latest addition to McMaster’s suite of elite, limited-enrolment (max. 60 students/year) undergraduate programs targeted toward highly motivated, high-achieving students. iSci is an interdisciplinary, research-based science program that focuses on the development of self-directed learning skills in a supportive and collaborative environment.
iSci puts into practice innovative concepts linking science education and leading research topics, demonstrating a holistic view of science through the interaction of various science disciplines. In addition to learning broad fundamentals, iSci also provides students the opportunity to specialize in a selected discipline including chemistry, chemical biology, biology, mathematics, physics, biochemistry, medical physics, earth science and environmental science, geography and environmental science, and psychology, neuroscience and behaviour; allowing students the opportunity to contribute to a specialist field with a wide range of knowledge.
Enrolling a maximum of 60 students each year, iSci opens many doors for the future, including medical school, law school, graduate programs such as an M.Sc. and Ph.D., research, and innovative industry careers. The iSci program will prepare students for post-graduate work through the application of inquiry and problem-based learning within the classroom, the provision of many practical laboratory and field experiences, and the development of essential scientific communication skills.
OUAC Application Code: MIS
Target Enrollment: 50 students
Notes: Admission to Integrated Science requires the submission of a Supplementary Application, due Feb. 1, 2016
Student Forum: http://isci.forumotion.com/
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Total: 30 Units
Please refer to our Undergraduate Calendar for additional first year program notes.
Electives: 6 units
Note: The unit value of a particular course is indicated by the last digit of the course code (e.g. 1A03 = 3 units).
Since Integrated Science (iSci) is a direct entry program, students admitted to iSci specialize in Integrated Science from first year to the end of the program.
Beginning in second year, Integrated Science students
may pursue a Concentration in one of the following
areas of study in the Faculty of Science:
- Chemical Biology
- Earth and Environmental Sciences
- Geography and Environmental Sciences
- Mathematics & Statistics
- Medical Physics
- Psychology, Neuroscience & Behaviour
In addition to concentrations, iSci students also have the option of pursuing a Minor in any field offered by McMaster.
All iSci students have the option to go on an exchange in their third year to the University of Leicester in the United Kingdom. The University of Leicester is home to our sister program, the Interdisciplinary Science program (recently renamed Natural Sciences). Natural Sciences at Leicester features a very similar learning model to that at McMaster, and is well respected as one of the leading scientific universities in the UK .
The Integrated Science program offers various experiential learning opportunities such as field trips, guest lectures and lab sessions.
The research based nature of our program make our students ideally suited for summer positions in industry and academic institutions. Currently, over half of our third year students are employed through work study programs in university labs, performing pedagogical research, or have received funding from the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council (NSERC) for summer research projects at various Canadian universities.
The Integrated Science program opens doors to a wide range of future options. It prepares students for post-graduate work through the application of problem-based learning within the classroom, the provision of many practical laboratory and field experiences, and the development of scientific communication skills. A few post graduate options include:
- Graduate programs such as an M.Sc. and Ph.D
- Innovative industry careers
- Law school
- Medical school
- Teacher’s College
Graduates of iSci will:
- Understand the types and range of scientific approaches and analyses required to solve complex problems
- Possess not only the specialist knowledge of their chosen field but also the background to understand science in its broadest context
- Be well-prepared for graduate studies (Masters or PhD)
- Have an ideal foundation for developing into future scientific leaders
The new Integrated Science (iSci) lab opened in the Fall of 2013 and is the central location for lab-based experiences offered in the iSci program. This multidisciplinary space is available to all iSci undergraduate students but is primarily used by first and second year students. Experiments in physics, chemistry, biology, Earth science, neuroscience, thermodynamics and other disciplines are delivered weekly. Students develop their hands-on, practical skills on a wide variety of equipment related to these disciplines. The lab space has many unique features including ductless, Green fume hood technology and is fully accessible to students of all abilities.
- 50% of iSci students are involved in campus committees and clubs, or volunteer their time assisting with program-specific community outreach initiatives
- Throughout the academic year, over 25 Invited/Guest Speakers will present expertise knowledge while explaining real-world applications of key concepts taught during lectures
- 25% of your time will be spent in the lab, out on field courses, or visiting unique facilities found on campus
- Integrated Science is the only Honours Science program of its kind in North America
- iSci has over 3,000 square feet of redesigned lab space opening in September 2013
- Adam Pantaleo – Exploring Chemistry at the Nanoscale
Adam Pantaleo was awarded an NSERC Undergraduate Student Research Award in his first year of iSci. Adam conducted research at McMaster in the Department of Chemistry working alongside Dr. Peter Kruse. Adam spent his summer studying nanoscale patterns that form during the electropolishing of certain metals. Electropolishing, or electrochemical polishing, is used to polish metal surfaces using electrically charged solutions of electrolytes. It has many applications in metal finishing. Adam assisted Dr. Kruse in determining if this process can be used on a variety of metals and in a range of conditions.
- Prateek Gupta – The Next 36
Prateek Gupta is a student in one of McMaster’s most innovative programs. Now he has been named one of the country’s most innovative undergraduates. Gupta, in his second year of the Integrated Science Program (iSci) at McMaster, has been accepted into “The Next 36”, a national program designed to launch the careers of 36 of Canada’s most promising students. The initiative will give Gupta and three team members $50,000 and guidance from some of Canada’s top business leaders to develop an application for a mobile device as well as a $25,000 scholarship to participate in the program’s summer Entrepreneurship Institute.
- Julianne Bagg – Archaeological field school in Greece
Julianne Bagg travelled to Greece in 2010 to study at the Priniatikos Pyrgos archeological field school for the month of August. Priniatikos Pyrgos, an archeological harbour site located on the Gulf of Mirabello in east Crete, is home to artifacts from the Late Bronze Age, Hellenistic and Byzantine times and has been occupied since the Late Neolithic period (the fifth millennium BCE). Julianne spent five weeks at the field school learning about archeological fieldwork and archeological issues such as pottery, drawing, Geographic Information System (GIS), human osteology and paeleobotany and soaking up the Greek sun. She had the chance to work closely with an experienced archeologist in her own trench as well as attend seminars led by some of the team members.