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Arts & Science

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Below is a list of some courses, including a brief description, that you may find yourself taking during your first year of this program. For formal policies governing mandatory courses and the order in which they have to be taken, please refer to McMaster’s Undergraduate Calendar.

 

Some Courses You May Take

Structure, molecular composition and function in sub-cellular and cellular systems.
Three hours (lectures, web modules), one lab (two hours); one term
Prerequisite(s): One of Grade 12 Biology U, BIOLOGY 1P03 or registration in an Engineering program
Co-requisite(s): WHMIS 1A00, and BIOSAFE 1BS0 (or HTHSCI 1BS0) if not already completed. Both requirements must be completed prior to the first lab.
Not open to students with credit or registration in HTHSCI 1I06 A/B or ISCI 1A24 A/B. Students are strongly encouraged to take BIOLOGY 1A03 and BIOLOGY 1M03 in the different terms.
Fundamental evolutionary and ecological concepts with particular reference to the diversity of life.
Three lectures, seminar/lab (two hours every other week); one term
Prerequisite(s): Grade 12 Biology U or BIOLOGY 1P03
Not open to students with credit or registration in ISCI 1A24 A/B. Students are strongly encouraged to take BIOLOGY 1A03 and 1M03 in the different terms.
A discussion of chemical fundamentals, including bonding, structure, reactivity, and energetics, with emphasis on applications to health, energy, and the environment. Laboratories highlight hands-on experimental techniques; tutorials support the development of problem-solving skills.
Lectures, web modules (three hours), one lab (two and one half hours) every other week; one term
Prerequisite(s): Grade 12 Chemistry U and either registration in a Level I program in the Faculty of Science or Engineering I/Engineering I Co-Op, Arts & Science I, Health Sciences I, any program above Level I; or a grade of at least 80% in Grade 12 Chemistry U; or CHEM 1R03
Co-requisite(s): WHMIS 1A00 if not already completed, must be completed prior to the first lab.
Antirequisite(s): CHEM 1E03
Not open to students with credit or registration in ISCI 1A24 A/B.
A discussion of organic chemistry, chemical kinetics, acid-base equilibrium, and the energetics of phase transformations, with emphasis on relevant experimental techniques and solving real problems ranging from drug discovery to environmental chemistry.
Three lectures, one lab (two and one half hours) every other week; one term
Prerequisite(s): CHEM 1A03 or CHEM 1E03
Not open to students with credit or registration in ISCI 1A24 A/B.
An introduction to the science of environmental issues and sustainability through the study of the soil, climate and water processes.
Lectures, web modules (three hours), one lab (two hours); one term
Co-requisite(s): WHMIS 1A00, if not already completed, must be completed prior to the first lab.
Antirequisite(s): ENVIRSC 1A03, 1B03 
This course introduces important themes as the foundations to investigate psychology, neuroscience and behaviour with an emphasis on sensory systems, and behaviours critical to survival.
Lecture, web modules, weekly tutorials (three hours); one term
Prerequisite(s): Grade 12 Biology U or credit or registration in one of BIOLOGY 1A03, 1M03, 1P03; or registration in a Nursing program; or registration in Level I or above of an Arts & Sciences program
Antirequisite(s): PSYCH 1NN3
Not open to students with credit or registration in ISCI 1A24 A/B or students registered in the Bachelor of Health Sciences (Honours) (B.H.Sc.) program or B.Sc.N. Conestoga campus.
An examination of significant themes in intellectual history through a reading of major works in philosophy and literature that shed light on the conceptual foundations of contemporary life.
Three hours; two terms
Prerequisite(s): Registration in Level I of the Arts & Science Program
This course aims to develop students' ability to use language in written communication, with a focus on academic writing in particular. Students will develop their writing skills through assignments and activities that ask them to produce, analyze and reflect on written work in a range of genres.
Three hours; one term
Prerequisite(s): Registration in Level I of the Arts & Science Program
This course provides students with some of the conceptual tools needed to recognize, understand, evaluate, formulate, and attack arguments. Students will have the opportunity to develop such skills in their oral and written work.
Three hours; one term
Prerequisite(s): Registration in Level I of the Arts & Science Program
This inquiry course, designed to develop skills basic to the systematic, evidence-based investigation of public issues, focuses on issues relevant to global development.
Three hours; one term
Prerequisite(s): Registration in Level I of the Arts & Science Program
This course will explore Indigenous ways of knowing as they relate to Indigenous cosmologies and worldviews. A range of written text and oral tradition will be introduced as foundational aspects of Indigenous knowledges. Interdisciplinary approaches based on the work of Indigenous scholars redefining the field of Indigenous Studies will also be examined.
Three hours; Lecture and seminar; one term
Prerequisite(s): One of ARTSSCI 1C03, INDIGST 1A03, 1AA3, RECONCIL 1A03 
Antirequisite(s): INDIGST 2AA3 and INDIGST 2M06 A/B
Cross-list(s): INDIGST 2MM3 
This course aims to provide a thorough understanding of the principles and major applications of differential and integral calculus of functions of one variable, as well as an introduction to multivariate calculus and differential equations.
Lectures (three hours), tutorial (one hour), lab (one hour); two terms
Prerequisite(s): Registration in Level I of the Arts & Science Program
Antirequisite(s): MATH 1A03,1AA3, 1LS3, MATH 1LT3, 1X03, 1XX3, 1ZA3, 1ZB3 
ARTSSCI 1D06 A/B serves as a prerequisite for all courses for which MATH 1AA3 (or equivalent) is a prerequisite.
A first course in university physics intended for physics and chemistry students, or students in any other discipline who have an appropriate secondary school background. This course is a comprehensive treatment of linear and rotational mechanics - kinematics, dynamics, and the relevant conservation laws.
Three lectures, one lab (two hours) every week; one term
Prerequisite(s): Either Grade 12 Physics U or PHYSICS 1L03; and either Grade 12 Calculus and Vectors U or MATH 1F03; and credit or registration in one of ARTSSCI 1D06 A/B, MATH 1A03, 1LS3, MATH 1X03, 1ZA3
Co-requisite(s): WHMIS 1A00 if not already completed, must be completed prior to the first lab.
Antirequisite(s): PHYSICS 1A03, 1B03
Not open to students with credit or registration in ISCI 1A24 A/B or PHYSICS 1D03.
This course is the continuation of PHYSICS 1C03.
Topics include simple harmonic motion, waves, interference, electrostatics, magnetostatics and an introduction to quantum physics.
Three lectures, one lab (three hours) every other week; one term
Prerequisite(s): PHYSICS 1A03, 1B03 or 1C03
Antirequisite(s): PHYSICS 1AA3, 1BA3, 1BB3
Not open to students with credit or registration in ISCI 1A24 A/B.

Since Arts & Science is a direct entry program, students admitted to this program are considered to be specializing in “Arts & Science” from first year to the end of the program.

Students take specifically designed ARTSSCI courses as well as electives. Elective space increases in upper levels of the program, with two electives per term in second year, and three electives per term in the third and fourth years.

Degree Options

  • Bachelor of Arts & Science (Honours)
  • Honours Bachelor of Arts & Science + Another Subject (Honours)

Students can use their electives either in a Combined Honours Program, to focus on a particular area, or simply to satisfy broad interests.

Arts & Science can be combined with 33 different subjects from across the University:

  • Anthropology
  • Art History
  • Biochemistry
  • Biology
  • Business
  • Chemical Biology
  • Chemistry
  • Classics
  • Communication Studies
  • Computer Science
  • Economics
  • English and Cultural Studies
  • Environmental Sciences
  • French
  • Geography
  • Health & Society
  • History
  • Human Geography
  • Indigenous Studies
  • Linguistics
  • Mathematics
  • Molecular Biology & Genetics
  • Multimedia
  • Music
  • Peace Studies
  • Philosophy
  • Physics
  • Psychology, Neuroscience and Behaviour
  • Psychology, Neuroscience and Behaviour (PNB) – Music Cognition Specialization
  • Political Science
  • Religious Studies
  • Sociology
  • Theatre and Film Studies

 

Some Courses You May Take

Development of political, moral and religious thought in the writings of such major figures as Hobbes, Locke, Rousseau, Adam Smith, Burke, Marx, Mill, Weber, von Hayek, Nietzsche, Freud and Arendt.
Three hours; two terms
Prerequisite(s): Registration in Level II of the Arts & Science Program
This course explores many of the great concepts of physics in a quantitative way. Beginning with Newtonian mechanics, it moves into Einstein's relativity, wave phenomena, atomic physics, quantum mechanics and cosmology. Selected laboratory projects will be carried out.
Lecture (three hours), tutorial (one hour); two terms
Prerequisite(s): Registration in Level II of the Arts & Science Program
An introduction to the core principles of economics with the objective of helping students to apply economic reasoning to issues that are central to modern societies, such as: the role of government in a market-oriented setting; equity and efficiency; growth and the environment; and fiscal and monetary stability.
Lectures (three hours), tutorial (one hour); one term
Prerequisite(s): Registration in Level II of the Arts & Science Program
Antirequisite(s): Not open to students who have completed both ECON 1B03 and ECON 1BB3.
Inferential statistics, with an emphasis on applications. Topics include data description, graphical methods, probability, confidence intervals, hypothesis testing, one-way ANOVA, analysis of categorical data, regression and correlation. Use of a statistics software package.
Lectures (three hours), tutorial (one hour); one term
Prerequisite(s): Registration in Level II of the Arts & Science Program
Antirequisite(s): STATS 2B03, STATS 2MB3 
Literary works drawn from a variety of genres, cultures and historical periods will be examined with a focus on how great writers have treated enduring ethical concerns. It aims to show how literature is an indispensable means of thinking about human life and society.
Three hours; two terms
Prerequisite(s): Registration in Level III or above of the Arts & Science Program
The Culture of Technology. Technological practices and approaches are studied as cultural activities in the contexts of beliefs, philosophies, values and social structures both past and present.
Three hours; one term
Prerequisite(s): Registration in Level III or above of the Arts & Science Program
The Social Control of Technology. The dominant mechanisms of the social control of technology will be studied, with attention to the role of ethics.
Three hours; one term.
Prerequisite(s): Registration in Level III or above of the Arts & Science Program
Readings of Indian texts in translation will centre around themes such as the nature of human nature, free will and determinism; renunciation and social action; violence and non-violence; altruism and selfishness.
Lecture (two hours), tutorial (one hour); one term
Cross-list(s): RELIGST 3L03
Prerequisite(s): Registration in Level III and above of the Arts & Science Program
Readings of East Asian texts in translation will centre around themes such as culture vs. nature, virtue vs. power, social responsibility vs. personal cultivation, bookish learning vs. meditation.
Lecture (two hours), tutorial (one hour); one term
Prerequisite(s): Registration in Level III and above of the Arts & Science Program
Cross-list(s): RELIGST 3S03
This course is administered by the Department of Religious Studies.
This course consists of study under the supervision of a McMaster faculty member. Proposal form and deadlines are available on the Arts & Science Program website .
Two terms
Prerequisite(s): Registration in Level IV of the Arts & Science Program and permission of the Arts & Science Program

Co-op and internship opportunities are unavailable at this time; however, approximately 20%  of students spend all or part of their third year studying abroad at a host institution through the MacAbroad Exchange Program.

Students choose to study abroad for a variety of reasons, including language development, exposure to new cultures and perspectives, and unique course offerings offered only at certain institutions. Currently, students are studying in Australia, England, Denmark, France, Ireland, Japan, the Netherlands, New Zealand and Singapore.

Time Monday Tuesday Wednesday Thursday Friday
8:30 a.m.
ARTS&SCI 1D06

Calculus (Lecture)

ARTS&SCI 1D06

Calculus (Lecture)

9:30 a.m.
ARTS&SCI 1D06

Calculus (Lecture)

10:30 a.m.
ARTS&SCI 1B03

Writing (Lecture)

ARTS&SCI 1B03

Writing (Lecture)

11:30 a.m.
BIO 1A03

Cellular and Molecular Biology (Lecture)

ARTS&SCI 1B03

Writing (Lecture)

BIO 1A03

Cellular and Molecular Biology (Lecture)

12:30 p.m.
ARTS&SCI 1A06

Practices of Knowledge (Lecture)

1:30 p.m.
ARTS&SCI 1C06

Inquiry (Lecture)

ARTS&SCI 1A06

Practices of Knowledge (Lecture)

BIO 1A03

Cellular and Molecular Biology (Lecture)

2:30 p.m.
BIO 1A03

Cellular and Molecular Biology (Lab)

ARTS&SCI 1C06

Inquiry (Lecture)

ARTS&SCI 1C06

Inquiry (Lecture)

3:30 p.m.
4:30 p.m.
5:30 p.m.

Students have access to the Arts & Science Lounge in the LR Wilson Building.

Profiles & Alumni


Sacha Ghai
Arts & Science graduate

Courses are structured in a way that facilitates dialogue; they promote idea exchange rather than idea absorption. Personally, this ‘obligation to contribute’ taught me a lot. It taught me to take a position and defend it, to engage in thoughtful debate to achieve a higher level of understanding, and to read with a ‘critical eye.’ I used these skills effectively in business school and continue to do so.

Kat Kinch
Arts & Science graduate

Being an ArtSci can lead to many things: realizing the goals you set for yourself when you were five (or twenty-five), surprising yourself with careers you hadn’t heard of before you arrived at the program, or, at a minimum, discovering that you are surrounded by students, professors and staff who are committed to a discipline of adventurous learning.

David Mackenzie
Arts & Science graduate

The education I was able to obtain in the program was rich and lasting; I draw from the ideas and skills I learned at Mac in every dimension of my life. As well, the wonderful friendships and relationships that came out of my time in Arts & Science have been one of the program’s greatest gifts.

Zsuzsi Fodor
Arts & Science graduate

Being in the Arts & Science Program was about learning how to approach the questions to which there are no easy answers; being part of a learning community that challenged and cherished me; and figuring out my passions and the ways in which I would contribute to life on this planet.

Farah Mawani
Arts & Science graduate

I was attracted to the opportunity to take a variety of courses from different disciplines throughout the program, with a particular emphasis on writing and critical thinking skills. I was especially attracted to the interdisciplinary (Inquiry) courses focusing on global issues – I wanted to be able to apply what I was learning in my coursework to real and important issues, so that I could continue beyond university.