Frequently Asked Questions
The undergraduate advisor in the School of Earth, Environment & Society is available to answer students’ questions about courses, program options, career options and University services. If you have questions about the School’s B.A. programs, B.Sc. programs or about EARTH SC, ENVIR SC or GEOG courses, please email email@example.com.. Ensure that your email includes all of the following elements and is from your McMaster email account*:
- Your full name
- Your student ID number
- Your current program and level (eg, Honours Geography Level II, Environmental Science Level III, etc.)
- The course you are emailing about (if applicable).
Please make an effort to clearly summarize your problem in your message. For complicated problems requiring a lengthy answer, you will most likely need to meet Kara during drop-in office hours or by appointment.
*As a matter of policy, to protect student privacy, all email must be through your McMaster email address.
Check your Advisement Report, which can be accessed on Mosaic through the Student Centre portal. You can save it or print it, ahead of a meeting with your Undergraduate Academic Advisor. You can also use it to complete a Program Progress Chart for your program, available here: Undergraduate Programs Page. Every year, make sure to review the new Undergraduate Calendar published by the Office of the Registrar. Undergraduate Curriculum program and course changes may have an impact on the path that you will need to follow to complete your degree.
When I try to add a course in Mosaic, it tells me that I do not have the prerequisites. What can I do?
If you get this message, it usually means you have not obtained credit for the prerequisite course/s. It can also mean that the course is restricted to students in a certain program or level. Prerequisites are in place to ensure you have the background knowledge to succeed in a course. All courses in the School of Earth, Environment & Society require students to have the prerequisite courses to enroll. You can, however, request for the prerequisite to be waived. If you are requesting that a prerequisite be waived, you need to convince us that you will be able to succeed without the background knowledge. Please justify your request in the space provided on the Prerequisite Waiver Request Form and submit it electronically: Prerequisite Waiver Request Form. The prerequisites may be waived at the Department’s discretion. Please note that a waiver does not guarantee a seat in a course but only the opportunity to attempt to obtain a seat.
As soon as a decision has been made, you will be notified by email. This process normally takes approximately 2 business days, but can be longer if it’s during the summer when faculty member take vacation or the Drop & Add rush. Do NOT leave this to the last day of Drop & Add. Each request requires various actions and takes time to consider.
All courses in the School of Earth, Environment & Society have a course capacity that cannot be exceeded. If you are receiving a message that the course is full, please continue to attempt to add it in case a seat becomes available. Please note that there are no waiting lists. If the course is required for your program (and not just one from the course list which you wish to take), please complete and submit electronically the Prerequisite Waiver Request Form.
If you are receiving a message that the lab section is full, please continue to attempt to add it in case a seat becomes available. If the course is required for your program (and not just one from the course list which you wish to take), please complete and submit electronically the Prerequisite Waiver Request Form. Make sure to specify on in the available space in which lab section you are, and which lab section(s) fit(s) your schedule.
When scheduling courses, thousands of students requiring the various courses are considered. Courses are scheduled according to the normal path of each program. If you fail a course and have to re-take it, or take courses without following your program, it diverts you from the normal path, very possibly resulting in conflicts. If you are in this situation, it is possible that you will have to take an extra term, or an extra year, to complete your degree requirements. If you are following your program path and your conflicting courses are required courses, there may have been an error in scheduling. In this case, please contact the undergraduate advisor immediately. If your conflict involves an elective, you will have to choose another elective – one that fits your schedule.
I would like to take a course at another university (Waterloo, Ryerson, University of Toronto, etc.) to replace one of our McMaster courses. What can I do?
You will need to complete the Letter of Permission (LOP) application on your Mosaic Student Center, which will then need to be approved by your Associate Dean’s Office. Please make sure to contact the Academic Program Advisor in SEES to discuss how the course will transfer over to your McMaster degree.
Your course load should be balanced between the fall (September to December) and winter (January to April) terms. A full course load is typically 5 courses with 15 units per term. There is a maximum of 21 units allowed per term. To take any more units than that (overload) requires permission of a Student Advisor from your Faculty. If you are in a B.A. program, you will need to go to the Associate Dean’s office (Social Sciences) in KTH-129. If you are in B.Sc. program, you will need to go to the Office of the Associate Dean of Science in BSB, Room 136.
I'm looking to switch to/between programs in the School of Earth, Environment & Society, what do I do?
If you are considering changing your program, please speak with an Academic Advisor to discuss how a program change will affect your course selection and the duration of your degree.
Application to change programs via Mosaic begins in late March and closes in late April. Please follow the steps below to complete your application:
- Use your MacID to log-in to Mosaic
- Click the “Student Center” tab
- Click the “My Academics” link
- Click “Program/Plan Application” link
If you are not meeting the admission requirements for your preferred program, please speak with an Academic Advisor about shadowing the program.
If you are a student in the School of Earth, Environment & Society interested in courses offered by another department/faculty, you MUST contact the appropriate department with your request. Please make sure when you are contacting another department/faculty to include the following information: 1. Your full name 2. Your student ID number 3. Your current program and level (eg, Honours Geography Level II, Environmental Science Level III, etc.) 4. The course that you are emailing about
I would like to apply for a field course offered by the School of Earth, Environment & Society. When and where do I apply?
You can complete and submit the Field Course Application Form.
Please note that the Application form for Field Courses offered by the School of Earth, Environment & Society is only available between March 1 and April 1. Students will be informed of the acceptance of their application by April 15, subject to fulfillment of the requirements.
I would like to apply for a thesis course or an independent study course, offered by the School of Earth, Environment & Society. When and where do I apply?
The online independent study and thesis application forms can be found here.
Please note that applications for the Thesis Course (EARTHSC/ENVSOCTY/ENVIRSC 4MT6) must be submitted by mid-June before course registration begins. Students who apply to the Thesis course will be informed of acceptance of their application in early June, subject to fulfilling the Cumulative Average requirement of 7.5 and completion of one of ENVSOCTY 3MA3, EARTHSC 3RD3
I would like to apply for an internship course, offered by the School of Earth, Environment & Society. When and where do I apply?
You can complete and submit electronically the Internship Application.
Please note students intending to enroll in this course must submit an application two months before registration. Students are responsible to arrange a suitable internship and agreement of the supervisor.