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McMaster Health Sciences (BHSc): The Definitive Guide for Applicants (2021)

by Admissions Ally BHSc Coaches     Last updated May 10, 2020

This guide is for you if you’re applying to McMaster Health Sciences (BHSc) or are simply interested in learning more about the program. 

As a potential applicant, you’re probably overwhelmed by the amount of information out there. Luckily, we’re here to help

In this guide, you’ll find advice and tips from previous alumni of the McMaster Health Sciences program and Admissions Ally coaches. This insight is based on our own opinions and experiences with the BHSc program. 

In addition, we published a long-form video all about the BHSc program, check it out:

Over the years, we’ve answered many questions about McMaster Health Sciences, including McMaster BHSc requirements, McMaster BHSc courses, and McMaster BHSc tuition.

Here’s everything you need to know about your application, the program, and how it compares to other programs—all in one place.

By the way, if you’re serious about getting into McMaster Health Sciences, check out the FREE preview of our Admissions Bootcamp. We offer 1-on-1 Admissions Consulting services to help you become a better candidate, student, and leader—optimizing your chances of acceptance. 

You can also reach out to us with any questions at:

[email protected]

We would also like to highlight that we are not an application writing service. We will not write your application for you. We’re here to support you through this process so you can create the best application possible. 

Table of Contents:

  1. The Application (Supplementary Application questions; Application evaluation standards; Level 1 vs. Level 2 applications; and more)
  2. The Admissions Process (Application requirements; Entrance averages; Acceptance rates; and more)
  3. About the Program (Specializations; Courses; Scholarships; and more)
  4. Common Questions from Students (Is the program hard?; What is McMaster BHSc’s approach to learning?; and more)
  5. Program Comparisons (Western Medical Sciences; University of Toronto Life Sciences; McMaster Art and Science; and more)

The McMaster Health Sciences Application

This section provides a general overview of the application process and answers the most popular questions we receive about the application itself.

If you have any questions about application strategies, essay tips, past video interview questions, and ways to help you get accepted, sign up for our Admissions Support Services, including a FREE preview of our Admissions Bootcamp.

Many students reach out to us every year about the McMaster Health Sciences Supplementary Application questions.

McMaster Health Sciences Supplementary Application Questions

Many students reach out to us every year about the McMaster Health Sciences Supplementary Application questions.

First, let’s cover what this application is and why they ask you to write one. 

The purpose of the Supplementary Application is to allow you to share more about yourself, beyond your high school grades.

Here, you can showcase your experiences, thought processes, writing abilities, and other qualities. Doing this will help your reviewers understand who you are and decide if you will make a good addition to their program. 

You need to complete the same Supplementary Application for BHSc Level I and Level II. 

Supplementary Applications have three questions. Each question allows you to show your creativity, problem solving, and critical thinking skills.

If you'd like to see some examples of questions you can expect, check out these past Supplementary Applications:

For more guidance on how to approach your Supplementary Application, check out our 1-on-1 Admissions Consulting services by McMaster BHSc grads and former Supplementary Application reviewers!

If you’d like for tips about how you can be a better applicant, enroll in our McMaster BHSc Admissions Bootcamp (we offer an awesome free version). 

Or reach out to us at:

[email protected]

McMaster Health Sciences Supplementary Application Evaluation

WHAT IS THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN LEVEL 1 AND LEVEL 2 APPLICATIONS AT MCMASTER HEALTH SCIENCES?

Level 1 Applications are for students who are coming out of Grade 12 and have completed the necessary course requirements, achieving an average of 90% or more.

Level 2 Applications are for students who have completed one full year of university undergraduate studies as well as six units of designated courses, achieving a minimum of 10.0 (A-) on a 12.0 scale GPA/average.

WHO READS THE APPLICATIONS?

Every year, faculty, staff, and fourth year BHSc (Honours) students review and evaluate the applications. Fourth years may opt out of grading the applications, but most do not.   

The distribution of applications is random, so you will never know exactly who evaluated it. However, the chances are high that it will be a mix of faculty, staff, and fourth year students.

Two people grade each response on your application (for a total of six markers). If there is a significant discrepancy in the scores given for a single response, your response will be evaluated by another person.

HOW ARE MCMASTER BHSC APPLICATIONS EVALUATED?

Applicants are selected based on their academic qualifications (achieving a Grade 12 average of 90% or more) and the scores on the BHSc Supplementary Application

Supplementary Applications are important because they show the evaluators who you are, beyond the 90% cut off average. 

Each question in your Supplementary Application is evaluated separately. All evaluators are blinded to applicant identifiers (e.g. name, age, race, gender, etc.). 

Your application’s evaluation depends on this grading scheme, and then your scores are averaged. 

Here's how your Supplementary Application responses are evaluated:

As seen in the chart below, approximately 85% of applicants score below 5 and get an “adequate” or “average” score.


We spoke with around 10 reviewers. All of them said that they gave 4s to 60-70% of responses, and that 5s are more common than 3s.

This means that you can really make your application stand out and get a higher score if you have a high GPA and your Supplementary Application answers are unique and explained well.

To learn how you can score 6s and 7s on your Supplementary Application, work with our former Supplementary Application reviewers 1-on-1 or try our McMaster Health Sciences Bootcamp.

WHAT HAPPENS IF THERE IS A GRADING DISCREPANCY?

If two evaluators give marks on your responses that are really different from one another (e.g. 1 and 7), then another faculty member will also review your response. We believe this happens when scores are off by three or more points (e.g. 7 and 4).

WHAT HAPPENS AFTER THE APPLICATIONS ARE EVALUATED?

Once the applications are reviewed, the scores are sorted from highest to lowest average. 

Next, the rank list of Supplementary Application scores are organized into “clusters” based on percentile ranks.

A percentile displays what percentage of applicants received a Supplementary Application score that was equal to or below a certain score. For example, an applicant with a score in the 90th percentile has a score equal to or better than 90% of the applicant pool. 

From there, different grade cut-offs are set for each cluster. If an applicant in a cluster meets the grade cut-off set for it, then they receive an offer of admission. If the applicant does not meet the grade cut-off, they do not receive an offer. 

For instance, applicants with a 95th+ percentile Supplementary Application score may need to just have a 90% average to get an offer, whereas applicants with a 90th-94th percentile score may need to have a 93% average to get an offer of admission.

The exact percentile ranks of the “clusters” or the grade cut offs set for them are not known, but this is the process that the BHSc Office applies to make admissions decisions. 

Because of this, it is possible for a very high Supplementary Application score to compensate for a low 90% average, but it is not possible for a very high average to compensate for a low (3-4) Supplementary Application score. 

This is why your Supplementary Application is so crucial.

2019-2020 Stats: A 93% average, along with a 95th percentile Supplementary Application score, was required to get an offer. No applicants with less than an 85th percentile Supplementary Application score received an offer.

What is McMaster Health Sciences Looking For?

McMaster Health Sciences is looking for students who are open minded, can think critically, and will embrace the BHSc’s interdisciplinary style of learning.  

Telling your evaluators more about yourself can help increase your chances of admission.

Highlight your life experiences, extracurriculars, and hobbies and show off your critical thinking and problem solving skills with unique and thought-provoking answers.

Many make the mistake of believing that the only valuable experiences are in healthcare and research. This isn’t the case.

Whether you have volunteered in a soup kitchen or animal shelter, or teach piano on the weekends, there is no such thing as an insignificant experience—they make you who you are.

For more guidance on how to approach your Supplementary Application questions, work with a former BHSc supplementary application reviewer through our  1-on-1 Admissions Consulting.

McMaster Health Sciences Supplementary Application Sample

We provide samples in our Admissions Bootcamp from past applications and this year’s application. These will help you get a feel for the types of questions you can expect, and give you more information about ways that you can make your answers stand apart from the crowd.

Grades vs. Supplementary Applications

A common question we receive is: what is more important, your grades or your written answers in the Supplementary Application? 

To be considered for the program as a Level 1, you must have a minimum 90% grade in five of your required courses, plus one additional Grade 12 course. 

However, the founder of the program, Del Harnish, believed that marks shouldn’t be the defining feature of your application. He wanted to use an evaluation scheme where you could show your abilities beyond your high schools grades. 

For this reason, your Grade 12 marks will be used in combination with your Supplementary Application to determine whether you are a good fit for the program. 

This means that, beyond your transcripts, the majority of your chance for admission likely comes from your Supplementary Application. 

So, your grades are what can get your foot in the door, while your Supplementary Application is what keeps the door open so you can go through it.

McMaster Health Sciences Supplementary Application Tips

Many students ask us about tips for writing their McMaster Health Sciences Supplementary Application. 

We’ve listed the most important ones here. 

 

TIP #1: THINK AHEAD

Start your Supplementary Application early because you will be surprised how long it can take to perfect.

Questions usually come out in September, so you should be thinking about them, drafting responses, and reviewing your answers as many times as you can between then and your February submission timeslot. 

TIP #2: STAND OUT

Next, find ways to make your application stand out. Evaluators receive many applications every year, and reading the same answers over and over can be frustrating. 

To set yourself apart, be creative, think critically, and let your personality shine through. 

This can include talking about why you want to attend the program, skills you’ve learned from past experiences and extracurriculars, or finding a unique way of answering the application question. 

TIP #3: SHOWCASE YOUR THINKING

You also need to show the evaluators that you have really thought about your responses and that you can organize your thoughts well. 

Quality, not quantity is key, so pick one or two unique points and talk about them at length, rather than writing a bunch of random points that are not fully thought through. 

For example, last year’s first Supplementary Application question asked applicants to share their thoughts on this piece of artwork: 

Many individuals touched on colonialism and our impact on Indigenious populations. While these are good points to discuss, evaluators likely received hundreds of similar answers.

So, how can you set yourself apart in this case? 

Approach the prompt from a different angle; discuss the art itself, its imagery, or another theme that stands out to you. This will make the evaluator feel invested in your answer and want to read more. 

For more guidance and tips about how to approach your Supplementary Application, check out our 1-on-1 Admissions Consulting services and our McMaster Health Sciences Bootcamp

You can also reach out to our consultants who are former BHSc graduates and Supplementary Application reviewers any time at:

[email protected]

WHAT TYPES OF MCMASTER BHSC QUESTIONS CAN YOU EXPECT?

The MacMaster BHSc Supplementary Application will have three questions.

The first question will typically prompt your creativity. This is where you can show off your experiences, talk about your interests, and highlight what makes you unique. 

The second question varies from year to year. Again, remember to personalize your answer and show why you would be a good fit for the McMaster Health Sciences program.

The third question will always be a problem solving question. You will be given data and then you need to establish a reasonable explanation. 

For all of these questions, stand out by elevating your thinking, approaching the problem in a new way, and letting your problem solving skills shine.

How to Submit the McMaster Health Sciences Supplementary Application

Congratulations! You’ve finished writing your application and it’s time to submit it!

When you’re ready, you’ll receive an email with additional instructions and your username/password to access the online submission portal.

When you have that, go to this link to submit your Supplementary Application.

 

*REMEMBER: you must submit your application before the deadline because there are no extensions. For more information on application deadlines, visit this page.

You’ll receive an email from Admissions allocating you to a particular time slot. You will have approximately three days to log in and complete the application in the system.

You cannot simply copy and paste your answers, but you must put them in manually. Don’t rush this step. Double check your answers for spelling mistakes, grammar, and other errors.  

*DON’T PANIC: If you have technical problems with your Supplementary Application, submit a ticket to the McMater BHSc Apply Helpdesk (available in the Supplementary Application submission site). If the Helpdesk does not respond to your inquiry within two business days, email [email protected] 

McMaster Health Sciences Acceptance Rate

With some research, you’ll find that on average McMaster Health Sciences receives around 4,200 applications per year and annual enrollment of 240 students.

Here is all the data we have from 2019-2020:

  • ~5,200 total applications
  • ~4,000 complete applications
  • ~270 offers to fill 240 seats

So, basic math suggests that the McMaster Health Sciences (BHSc) acceptance rate is around 6%, right? 


Wrong.

We’re forgetting to apply two main things. 

The first is adjusting for the acceptance rate calculation for only those who meet the 90% cut off.  

The McMaster Health Sciences cut-off has been held at 90% for a long time, and surprisingly, a large number of students do not meet this grade requirement.

Approximately 3,150 of those students do not meet the cut-off.

This means: if you do meet the cut-off, you’re competing against significantly fewer students.

In fact:

Your chances increase to about 8%.




The second adjustment factor we need to make is also important.

You may find it hard to believe...

...but students do reject their offers to McMaster BHSc.

Approximately 80% of students who receive an offer to McMaster BHSc actually accept it. 

So, what does this mean?

It means that the admissions committee has to offer more acceptances than their planned class size, knowing that 20% of students will reject their offer.




So, what’s the final answer? 

The McMaster Health Sciences (BHSc) acceptance rate is approximately 10%.

In other words, if you meet the cut-off you have about a 1 in 10 chance of admission.

Yes, that’s much higher than 6%.

But don’t forget…

…You’re up against an incredible pool of students.

Want to get an edge on your competition? Check out our 1-on-1 Admissions Support services or our McMaster Health Sciences Admissions Bootcamp, designed by recent BHSc graduates and former Supplementary Application reviewers. 

Or feel free to contact us directly for help on your application:

[email protected]

McMaster Health Sciences Acceptance Dates

When you’ve submitted your application, the waiting begins. You might be wondering when McMaster Health Sciences sends their acceptance letters.

According to the BHSc website, acceptances are sent out in early May

Here is what a letter of admission to McMaster Health Sciences looks like (it’s what we received!):  

McMaster Health Sciences Application Deadline

LEVEL 1 APPLICANTS:

First, you must apply to McMaster Health Sciences I on OUAC (program code MNS) by January 15. 

The McMaster BHSc Supplementary Application deadline is normally in mid/late February

One of the timeslots last year, for example, was Tuesday, February 18 at 8:00am to Friday, February 21 at 3:00pm.

LEVEL 2 APPLICANTS:

If you are enrolled as a student at McMaster University, the application is available in April.

The Supplementary Application deadline is based on when McMaster allocates you a time slot to add your answers to their online portal (it will likely be sometime in mid/late May). You will have approximately three days to add your answers to McMaster’s system.

Applicants from other post-secondary institutions must apply through Ontario Universities’ Application Centre (OUAC). The deadline is April 1, and your final transcripts must be submitted to McMaster University’s Admissions Office by June 1.

Always remember to check the Registrar’s website, as well as McMaster Health Sciences’ program page for important application dates. 

If you’d like some tips and tricks to navigate this application process, and avoid common pitfalls, sign up for our FREE Admissions Bootcamp preview or contact us at:

[email protected]

McMaster Health Sciences Admissions Process

McMaster Health Sciences Requirements

Applicants can either apply to Health Sciences directly from high school (Level 1 Applicants) or after their first year of undergrad (Level 2 Applicants). 

Level 1 Applicants Requirements:

To qualify for Level 1 admission, you must have a minimum 90% average in your Grade 12 Mandatory Courses (listed in the chart below), plus one additional course of your choice (6 courses in total).

Mandatory Courses
Grade 12 Biology (SBIU4)
Grade 12 Chemistry (SCHU4)
Grade 12 English (ENGU4)
One of:
  • Advanced Functions (MHF4U)
  • Calculus and Vectors (MCV4U)
  • Mathematics of Data Management (MDM4U) 
One non-math, non-science, non-technology 
One additional 4U or 4M course

 

To satisfy these requirements, you might take Advanced Functions, Calculus and Vectors, and Mathematics of Data Management in high school, like we did. 

If you are not a fan of math, we recommend taking Data Management because it’s easier to understand.

To make sure that your Grade 12 courses meet McMaster Health Sciences’ requirements, visit this page

You also need to complete a Supplementary Application. Applications without a Supplementary Application will be automatically excluded. You will have approximately three days to enter your answers into McMaster’s system. 

For more information about how to apply to Health Sciences Level 1, visit this page.

LEVEL 2 APPLICATION REQUIREMENTS:

To apply to McMaster Health Sciences as a Level 2 applicant, you need to complete one full year of university undergraduate studies. If you have completed more than one year, you are not eligible to apply. 

Of the 240 spots open for new students, 20 are open for Level 2 transfer students.

Didn’t get into Health Sciences straight out of high school? Good news! This is your chance to apply again after your first year of university!

As a Level 2 applicant, you must have completed first year Biology (6 units/full year) and Chemistry (6 units/full year), with a minimum average of 10 (A-) on a 12.0 GPA scale.

You also need to submit a Supplementary Application. Applications without a Supplementary Application will be automatically excluded. 

LEVEL 2 MCMASTER TRANSFER STUDENTS:

If you are currently enrolled as a student of McMaster University, you will apply through Mosaic

While the application is available in April, make sure you check the McMaster’s Future Students website for important dates.  

The Supplementary Application deadline is based on when McMaster allocates you a time slot to add your answers to their online portal (it will likely be sometime in mid/late May) 

For more information about how to apply to Health Sciences Level 2, visit this page. 

LEVEL 2 APPLICANTS ENROLLED IN ANOTHER UNIVERSITY

Applicants from a university other than McMaster will apply through Ontario Universities’ Application Centre (OUAC).

The OUAC Application Deadline is April 1, and your final transcript must be submitted to McMaster by June 1. 

For more information about how to apply if you do not currently attend McMaster, visit this page

IN-PROVINCE APPLICANTS VS. OUT-OF-PROVINCE/INTERNATIONAL APPLICANTS

As an out-of-province or international applicant, you will be held to the same requirements as other Level 2 applicants. The specific requirements are available on this page.

If you'd like advice about ways to improve your chances of admission, please check out our 1-on-1 Admissions Support services for McMaster Health Sciences or contact us at:

[email protected]

McMaster Health Sciences Entrance Average

Unfortunately, McMaster does not publish this data. 

Based on our research, students should finish Grade 12 with at least a 90% average to be considered for admission into Health Sciences.

We are told that approximately 88% of the seats go to students with an average of 94% or more. 

Of the approximately 1,400 applicants with a 94%+ average, 15% (or 210 people) get offers. This means that 87.5% of applicants have a 94% average or higher.

Number of Applications to McMaster Health Sciences

In 2019-2020, McMaster Health Sciences received approximately 5,200 applications (4,000 of which were complete applications). 

Long-term data trends are somewhat difficult to determine. OUAC groups McMaster’s application data into sciences, and doesn’t split out Health Sciences as a distinct program.

However, we did some digging and found this research publication, which reveals McMaster’s application data in the early 2000s (and interestingly splits it out between rural and non-rural Ontarians).

We also obtained data quoted by admissions offers (e.g. Ghazaleh Ferdowsi)

We ran a bit of interpolation/extrapolation to find application trends. 

In short: applications are growing around 5% year-over-year.


Since this is a popular pre-med program, approximately 90% of admitted applicants are from Ontario.

McMaster Health Sciences Early Acceptance

McMaster Health Sciences does not offer early enrolment or early acceptances.

As mentioned, applicants are required to complete their Supplementary Applications in mid/late February.

Then, all acceptance letters are sent out at the same time, typically in early May of each year.

McMaster Health Sciences Class Size / Enrolment

McMaster Health Sciences aims for a class size of 240 first year (Level 1) students each year.

However, there is attrition after the first year. 

Students either realized the program isn’t for them, or perhaps flunked out. 

That’s why they make another 20 spots available for Level 2 transfers (current university students). Please see the details above regarding the Level 2 application process here.

About McMaster Health Sciences

Our Experiences at McMaster Health Sciences

Let’s face it, starting university is scary.

It’s hard getting used to life as a university student. Many students often compare themselves to others and get stressed out if they don’t feel like they fit in. 

No matter how bad it seems, remember that you’ve come too far to throw in the towel.

An important part of attending university is putting yourself out there. Attend a club fair, find a volunteer opportunity, or get more involved in student community initiatives (we highly recommend all of these!). 

Stepping out of your comfort zone will completely change your experience in the program. 

When we did these things, we quickly made friends, had many positive experiences, and learned more about possible career interests.

What’s the best advice we can give you?

Whether it is an assignment, application, or an important interview, it is normal for you to feel stressed, insecure, and frustrated

The best thing you can do is to keep an open-mind and adapt to these new experiences, trust in yourself and others, and ask for help when you need it. 

Just remember: it’s not the destination that is important, it is the lessons that you learn along the way that make the real difference.

McMaster Health Sciences & Medical School

Many McMaster Health Sciences applicants have the dream of becoming a physician. 

Approximately 15-20% of third year BHSc students and 50% of fourth year BHSc students are admitted into medical school each year. 

Many students assume that the reason approximately 60% of the program is admitted into medical school is because of grade inflation. 

However, we don’t think this is completely true. Why? 

First, there are many students with high GPAs who are rejected from medical school every year. 

Second, students must have an average of 90% to be admitted to the program, and many of them work hard to maintain the same average throughout university. These students are very driven and focused on succeeding, which in turn leads to their success. 

Finally, this program helps you develop important life skills from day one. Communication courses, collaboration opportunities, consistent reflection, and a tremendous emphasis on research all play a significant role in the admission of BHSc students into medical school. 

The data we collected shows that many students from McMaster end up attending medical school. 

University of Toronto’s MD program reports that the majority of their first year MD class previously attended McMaster and that 72% of these students completed a four-year Bachelor’s degree.

Of the 205 students who were admitted into McMaster Medical School’s class of 2022, 48 of them completed their undergraduate degree in Health Sciences (and 95 in Science).  

Queens Medical School did not release a detailed class profile. However, you can learn about the class of 2023 by visiting this page.

The University of Ottawa Medical School does not have a readily available class profile, but you can learn more about their admission requirements by visiting this page.  

Our advice to you when you start Health Sciences is to keep an open mind. You may think that you only want to pursue medicine, but over time this could change. You might take an elective that sparks a new passion or find another interest you didn’t know you had. This is totally normal. 

If you do decide to pursue medicine, work hard and do your research. But, don’t get caught up in the idea that you must get into medical school in your third year or fourth year. 

While the average age for a medical school student is 24, take your time and reflect. Medicine is a lifelong commitment, so you need to be completely sure it’s what you want.

If you are thinking about a career in medicine and wondering how McMaster BHSc fits can help you get there, reach out to our consultants and coaches. As graduates, they can help you with any questions you might have. 

[email protected] 

McMaster Health Sciences Specializations and Certificates

After your first year in the program, you can enroll in the Child Health Specialization, stay in the “core” stream, or work on a concurrent certificate. 

McMaster’s BSHc program no longer offers the Global Health or Biomedical specialization. However, if you use electives, you can work towards a certificate in Biomedical Sciences or Immunology, Microbiology, and Virology at the same time.

 What is McMaster’s BHSc Core Stream?

Most students stay in the core stream. The core stream is designed to give you the opportunity to develop multiple competencies across the domains of health sciences. 

Staying in the core steam lets you tailor your course selections to your specific interests. This will help prepare you for post-graduate opportunities. 

To learn more about McMaster Health Sciences degree requirements from Level 1 to Level 4 (first year to fourth year), visit this page

What is McMaster’s BHSc Child Health Specialization?

The Child Health Specialization lets you apply the inquiry skills you acquired in your first year about child health, development, and community involvement

To learn more about the required courses for the Child Specialization Level 2 - Level 4 (second year to fourth year), visit this page.

What is McMaster’s BHSc Biomedical Sciences Concurrent Certificate?

The Biomedical Sciences Certificate will allow you to work collaboratively, be exposed to biomedical research, and develop laboratory skills

Before you start this stream, research the required courses and make sure you’re interested in these topics.

This certificate requires 30-33 units of elective space (depending on how many units your thesis is). 

For more information about the required courses for the certificate, visit this page.

What is McMaster’s BHSc Immunology, Microbiology, and Virology Concurrent Certificate?

The Immunology, Microbiology, and Virology Concurrent Certificate involves a rigorous analysis of the mammalian immune system. This certificate is an excellent option if you enjoy studying immunology in specific detail. 

You do not need to be enrolled in the BHSc program to complete this certificate. 

To learn more about Immunology and make sure you’re interested in this topic, take HTHSCI 1DT3 (Discover Immunology) in your first year. 

To fulfill the requirements of the Immunology, Microbiology, and Virology Concurrent Certificate, you must take 15 course units. 

For more information about the required courses for this certificate, visit this page.

McMaster Health Sciences Courses

Below you will find our experiences with each course. We hope that they will be helpful and that you can learn from them. For a complete guide of McMaster Health Sciences course offerings and outlines, visit this page.

One of the best things you can do is to take electives you enjoy

Many students take courses that they aren’t interested in just because they heard from other people that it was easy. No matter how easy a course might seem, it will be hard for you if you have no interest in it. 

Taking CHEM 1A03, HTHSCI 1I06 (Cellular and Molecular Biology), HTHSCI 1E06 (Inquiry), PHYSICS 1A03, and an elective in your first semester could be a good choice.

In your second semester, you could take courses like CHEM1AA3, HTHSCI 1I06 (Cellular and Molecular Biology), HTH1E06 (Inquiry), HTHSCI 1G03 (Psychobiology), and HTH 1DT3 (Discover Immunology Today). 

We recommend PHYSICS 1A03 because it explores the crucial fundamentals of physics. Just make sure that you attend class and do your best to keep up with the work.

HTH 1DT3 (Discover Immunology Today) is an excellent introductory course. Every week, specialists talk about their specific fields of research. This is good exposure to the field of immunology and will give you the opportunity to work with your peers and discover which field of immunology you like most. 

Here are the classes you can expect in your first year and tips for approaching them:

Cellular and Molecular Biology (HTHSCI 1I06 A/B)

HTHSCI is problem-based and less lecture heavy. They teach you how to think critically about the processes involved in solving a problem. This will help you become an expert on a particular subject and really focus your learning.

This course is challenging, but rewarding. You’ll learn how modern research is conducted using Rapid Problem Solving Exercises (RAPSE). In these tests, you are presented with limited information and challenged to establish a reasonable hypothesis for the data. 

You will also have a Tri-Partite Problem Solving Exercise (TRIPSE). This essentially a group RAPSEs. The TRIPSE is an open book test that simulates the modern research process. You will collaborate with approximately 4-5 of your peers to create, present, and test your hypothesis using the techniques you learned in class. 

In this course, you’ll receive some of your first undergraduate marks. Don’t beat yourself up if your mark is lower than you’re used to. Talking to your teaching assistants, studying smarter, and finding ways to apply what you’ve studied to the problem can really help. 

Introduction to Chemistry I (CHEM 1A03)

Chemistry 1A03 covers basic chemical processes, some of which you likely learned in your Grade 11 and 12 chemistry courses. 

The material you learn in this class will be important for your future courses, so make sure you keep up with the readings and attend class. 

Remember: practice makes perfect. Stick with it and you will have a great experience in the course. 

Introduction to Chemistry II (CHEM 1AA3)

Chemistry 1AA3 builds upon the knowledge you acquired in CHEM 1A03. 

You will be introduced to some organic chemistry, which can be daunting for most students. When it comes to organic chemistry, follow the same rule as in the first half of the course—practice, practice, practice. Take good notes and don’t be afraid to ask for help. 

You can also ask for past tests to help you prepare. These will help you get a feel for the material and get comfortable with the type of questions that will be asked of you. 

Inquiry I: Introduction (HTHSCI 1E06 A/B)

Inquiry I is unlike any you have experienced before. You might be slightly confused after your first class. Don’t worry, this is completely normal. Be patient, keep up with your reflection writing, and you will make it through.

Interdisciplinary Problem-Solving in Health (HTHSCI 1G02)

This course is designed to teach you how to use interdisciplinary approaches to health. It will help you with your problem solving skills, using different disciplines to address problems, and communication skills. 

Praxis Pathways I (HTHSCI 1X01 A/B)

This course replaced Collaboration and Peer Tutoring. Praxis Pathways gives you the chance to learn important skills like leadership, collaboration, reflection, information literacy, and critical analytical skills. 

Introduction to Health and Safety (WHMIS 1A00)

This course is an online evaluation that you must complete before you are admitted into labs. Once you read over the material, they present you with a simple quiz. 

This quiz will inform them that you are not going to put yourself or others in danger while in the lab.

9 Units of Electives

As mentioned above, choose electives on topics that interest you. These courses give you the opportunity to expand your knowledge on other topics, so make the most of them.

For more tips on how to approach your classes and improve your grades, sign up for our McMaster BHSc Admissions Bootcamp (you can preview it free!) or work 1-on-1 with our consultants and coaches who are recent graduates of the program. 

You can also reach out to us at:

[email protected]

McMaster Health Sciences Student Society and Clubs

In McMaster’s BHSc program, there is a club for everyone. 

Clubs are a great way to make connections, have fun, and gain valuable experience. 

With options like the multimedia club, charity fashion show, acapella group, musical, student council, and welcome week representatives (aka Pathogens), there’s something for everyone.

Connect with your upper year mentor and talk about which one might be a good fit for you. 

If you can’t find something that interests you, McMaster University has hundreds of other clubs you can join. We recommend that you attend the annual Fall Clubs Fest to get more information. 

TIP: While you might want to join a few different clubs, don’t take on more than you can handle. Choose a couple and commit to them for the entire year. 

If you can prove to the club executives that you are a great team member, they can act as references when you apply for future leadership positions. 

McMaster BHSc Student Research Opportunities

A great thing about the BHSc program is that it emphasizes the importance of research

A research position can give you valuable experience and future opportunities.

Health Sciences does not hand you a research position—you have to work for it. But, you will have many opportunities to engage with professors who can offer you these coveted positions. After all, it doesn’t hurt to ask!

Many of your BHSc courses will have guest lecturers. If you are interested in their research, connect with them about potential research opportunities. 

BHSc also has an online community where students and professors post research opportunities that you can apply to. This online forum is where many of our students found their first research opportunities. 

There is no right way to go about finding a research position. Be proactive and don’t get discouraged, and you will find the right opportunity for you.

McMaster Health Sciences Tuition

Thinking about paying university tuition can be stressful. 

But, for what you’re getting, the cost of McMaster Health Sciences is incredibly good value

McMaster Health Sciences tuition for the 2020/2021 academic year is $6,042.60.

Note: this does not include paying for books, a food plan, residence/housing, and other associated expenses. 

On the plus side, you can factor in a savings of at least $1,000 for receiving the 90%-95% entrance award (keep reading to learn how you can get this!).

Or, if you’re a real scholar, you might receive the President’s Award, worth $2,500, for a 95%+ entrance average.

In addition to this tuition, there are a few other fees that will be added each year, including BHSc Academic Support Peer Tutoring ($2.29), BHSc Health and Wellness ($0.53), and BHSc Society Fee ($27.87). 

The good news is: tuition has decreased significantly for 2020/2021. 

As you can see from the chart below, tuition was steadily increasing by 3% per year, which is a reasonable amount (around inflation). 

We can only assume the 10% decrease in McMaster BHSc tuition this year is due to the COVID-19 situation (e.g. potentially not delivering classes in person).




For more information about McMaster Health Sciences tuition, financial aid, and scholarships, visit this page.

They also have a fancy cost calculator you can use here.

If you’re interested in applying for scholarships, such as the Loran Award or the TD Scholarship, please reach out as we have helped our students earn over $500,000 in scholarships over the years.

[email protected]

McMaster Health Sciences Scholarships

McMaster Health Sciences does not offer scholarships to its students.

However, McMaster University as a whole awards scholarships to students upon entry. 

For more information about scholarships, visit this page.

Entrance Awards

McMaster Honour Awards

  • Value:
    • $2,500 awarded when final admission average is 95%+
    • $1,000 awarded when final admission average is 90-94.99%
    • $750 awarded when final admission average is 88-89.99%
    • President’s Award
    • Honour Awards
  • Eligibility:
    • Canadians or Permanent Residents
    • International students who completed their final year of high school in Canada
    • Applicants who haven’t enrolled at a college or university any time after high school
  • Criteria: 
    • The prerequisites for your chosen program of study, AND
    • Your next best U or U/M grades
    • Final admission average is 88% or above
    • Final admission average is calculated based upon 6 final, Grade 12 marks from:

McMaster Health Sciences Graduate Statistics

McMaster BHSc graduates have gone off to start a wide range of careers.

Around 60% of graduates continue on to pursue medicine. Visit this page to learn more about the careers that BHSc students pursue after they finish the program. 

See the graph below for the full list of graduate statistics.



McMaster Health Sciences Professors/Faculty

McMaster Health Science is filled with knowledgeable and friendly faculty and staff. These people really make the program one of a kind.  

For example, one of our consultants took an inquiry class with Professor Hartley Jafine who facilitated many engaging and valuable conversations while they explored representations of health, science, and their impact on society. Our consultant recalls coming away from the class with a new appreciation and understanding of how the arts intersect with health. 

Many of our students tell us about their positive experiences with the Health Sciences academic advisors. It can be difficult to adjust to university or decide what career path you want. If you need some guidance, connect with the BHSc academic advisors. Our students tell us that they are extremely supportive and give students many helpful resources to guide them. 

McMaster Health Sciences Male to Female Ratio

As far as we know, there is not a certain split between genders. 

In 2019, McMaster Health Sciences reported that 75% of the Health Sciences program was female and 25% male, but there is some variance year-over-year (Fact Book).

The proportion of female students has been increasing steadily since 2016. 

It’s unclear whether this is an intentional strategy of admissions, or if the total number of male applicants to the program has decreased drastically as well.


McMaster Health Sciences Contacts

Don’t be afraid to reach out to someone with questions or concerns about the program, student life, or extracurricular opportunities.

If you ever need to reach the Health Sciences office, please use the information below.

Email: [email protected]

Phone number: (905) 525-9140 ext. 22815 or ext. 22181

There’s also a great live chat you can use to get in touch with someone about the recruitment process, admissions, and your application. 

This is a quick and stress-free way for you to get the information you need.

Common Questions From Students About McMaster Health Sciences

Is McMaster Health Sciences a Good Program?

McMaster Health Sciences is a unique program that offers students an interdisciplinary, holistic approach to learning. 

This means that, along with learning important lessons about health sciences, you will also learn transferable life skills like critical-thinking, problem-solving, and professional communication competencies. 

You will also have opportunities to experience innovative inquiry-based learning models, discover health-centered careers, and work closely with your peers and professors. 

Health Sciences is an excellent program because of the small class sizes, helping you make friends and connect with your peers easily. 

The sense of community also makes this program one of a kind. The faculty welcomes and encourages community through the ‘BHSc Buddy’ program, in which upper year students help first years transition into undergrad. 

A unique aspect of the Health Sciences is the flexibility of the program.

Because you can take many electives, you will have an opportunity to pursue your passions and interests, diversifying your undergrad experience. Some students choose to focus on a particular area such as Biochemistry, while others pursue a minor in another discipline. These electives are great because they allow you to explore your other interests along with health sciences. 

Finally, BHSc provides you with the unique experience of being admitted to the anatomy lab to study and examine cadavers. 

Is McMaster Health Sciences Hard?

McMaster Health Sciences is a unique program because the methods of learning are new for most students. 

While there is no clear answer whether McMaster Health Sciences is hard, some students struggle with the concept of having unclear directions or having to get materials by themselves. Other students have a hard time with the grading systems, working in groups, or the competitive atmosphere. 

Learning to adapt to all types of situations, reaching out for help when you need it, and having confidence in your abilities can help ensure that you do well in the program. 

These adversities that every BHSc student struggles will grant you with the best learning experiences. A great thing about the program is that if you work hard, reflect on your learning, and effectively collaborate with others, you will be rewarded for your efforts. 

To learn about ways that you can improve your critical thinking skills, leadership skills, essay writing abilities, and more, sign up for our McMaster Health Sciences Admissions Bootcamp or reach out to recent graduates of the program:

[email protected] 

What Would You Change About the Program?

Our alumni and consultants tell us that Health Sciences has given them many learning opportunities that they wouldn’t have received in any other program. 

However, like any program, there are a couple of things they might change. A few alumni say that most of their peers were exceptional people, but there are some hyper-competitive students who made life stressful at times.  

Our advice is to remember not to compare yourself to others because it can make you doubt yourself and your abilities. Be confident in the skills you have to offer and do your best to show them off.

What’s McMaster BHSc’s Approach to Learning (Andragogy)? 

McMaster Health Sciences uses an inquiry-based approach to learning, where students think about questions and come up with compelling answers.

Usually, when you enter university you are taking classes with hundreds of other students, and then class sizes decrease in your third and fourth year. 

Sitting in classes for two-three hours is often ineffective because we cannot pay attention and retain information for that long.

McMaster BHSc does the opposite. Students begin with small classes (of around 20 students), and instead of long lectures and note taking, they are asked to think about problems, do research, and find an answer to the question they’re given. 

This method of learning teaches time management, problem solving, and critical thinking, while effectively applying what you have learned.

McMaster BHSc vs. Other Programs

While this guide discusses Health Sciences specifically, we strongly encourage you to select an undergraduate program that will interest you for four years. 

You only get to experience undergrad once, and you might be surprised by how your interests or priorities change over time.

Here is how McMaster Health Sciences compares to other programs out there.

McMaster Health Sciences (BHSc) vs. Western Medical Sciences

Western Medical Sciences (MedSci) takes a more traditional approach to learning. You will sit in lectures, attend labs, and take exams. 

After your first year, you are not guaranteed admission into the Bachelor of Medical Sciences program (BMS) as you must maintain an average of 80%. 

There are approximately 800 students admitted into Western MedSci each year (vs. McMaster BHSc with approximately 240 students). This doesn’t facilitate a close environment. Many students become overwhelmed by the MedSci atmosphere and do not continue pursuing medicine.

McMaster Health Sciences, on the other hand, has smaller class sizes and an inquiry-based approach to learning, which focuses on independent research and discussion. While this program is highly competitive, students are supportive and willing to help one another. 

If you want a more traditional style of learning Western Medical Sciences may be the program for you. But, if you are open to a new style of learning and want a close-knit community, McMaster Health Sciences is probably better. 

To learn more about Western Medical Sciences, visit this page.

McMaster Health Sciences (BHSc) vs. University of Toronto Life Sciences

Choosing between these schools is difficult because both are very different. 

The University of Toronto is in the heart of Toronto and has many undergraduate satellite campuses. Living downtown will provide you with access to the best hospitals and research labs. 

U of T Life Sciences offers a wide scope on science and the opportunity to specialize in your second year. With thousands of students being admitted into Life Sciences, many get lost in the crowd. 

At McMaster, there are great research opportunities and you will be a part of a community. If you live in the GTA and must live at home then, U of T might not be a bad choice. However, the philosophies behind these programs are vastly different. If you have the financial freedom to attend McMaster and are seeking new learning opportunities, I would definitely advise you to choose the BHSc program.

To learn more about University of Toronto Life Sciences, visit this page.

McMaster Health Sciences (BHSc) vs. McMaster Life Sciences

McMaster Life Sciences offers exposure to all Life Sciences, including biochemistry, cell biology, genomics, developmental biology, neurobiology, psychology, ecology, and Earth sciences. 

If you want to explore all areas of science, this program might be the better choice. A potential drawback is that there are thousands of students admitted to this program every year, so you won’t get the sense of community and get to know your professors as well.

McMaster Health Sciences focuses on the human aspect of science, including human health, wellness, and diseases. Health Sciences also allows you to take more electives, create close relationships with faculty, and, with 240 students admitted each year, you’ll feel like you’re part of a community.  

It also challenges you to think critically and problem solve, which you can’t always do in the large Life Sciences classes.

To learn more about McMaster Life Sciences, visit this page

McMaster Health Sciences (BHSc) vs. McMaster Integrated Science (iSci) 

McMaster’s Integrated Science (iSci) program provides students with a holistic view of many science disciplines, including math, chemistry, life sciences, physics, Earth sciences, and science literacy

This means that you will gain experience in many disciplines rather than one, which could benefit you later.

If you want to focus specifically on human science, you should choose McMaster Health Sciences.

One of Admission Ally’s students was admitted to both programs and chose McMaster iSci. This student recommends this program because you can specialize in a certain science in your second year. 

However, you cannot take as many electives in McMaster iSci as you can in McMaster Health Sciences because of your mandatory course load. 

If you want to see what McMaster iSci is like, you can enroll in the iSci for a day program, where you’ll be able to shadow a first year iSci student, or you can attend a workshop. 

To learn more about McMaster Integrated Science, visit this page.

McMaster Health Sciences vs. McMaster Art and Science 

McMaster’s Art and Science program (Art Sci) provides students with a broad-based, interdisciplinary education. 

This program bridges the divide between the arts and sciences to help you expand your learning and develop your writing, speaking, and critical reasoning skills. 

This program is good for those who don’t necessarily want to go into medicine, but are interested in careers in many different fields.

McMaster Health Sciences is also an interdisciplinary program that focuses on inquiry-based thinking, collaboration, and problem solving. But, it is different because it is mostly focused on health, while Art Sci teaches you about art and science.

To learn more about McMaster Art and Science, visit this page.

McMaster Health Sciences vs. McMaster Integrated Biomedical Engineering & Health Sciences

McMaster’s Integrated Biomedical Engineering & Health Sciences program (iBioMed) is a fairly new interdisciplinary program that provides students with a foundation in both engineering and health sciences. This program takes five years to complete.

In your first year of iBioMed, you will take courses similar to what BHSc students take, such as Chemistry and Cellular and Molecular Biology. 

The biggest difference between iBioMed and BHSc is that you will be required to take engineering courses and health sciences courses.

After your first year, you must choose between pursuing a Bachelor of Engineering and Biomedical Engineering program or a Bachelor of Health Sciences in Health, Engineering, Science and a Entrepreneurship program.

The target enrolment for McMaster iBioMed is smaller than McMaster BHSc (140 vs. 240).

Before you decide which of these programs you prefer, take time to think about whether engineering interests you. Taking engineering courses while you take health sciences courses can be very challenging, so make sure this program is right for you.  

To learn more about McMaster Integrated Biomedical Engineering & Health Sciences, visit this page.

McMaster BHSc Admissions Support

While applying to university may seem scary, we want you to know that we are here to help whenever you need it. For over a decade, we have worked with hundreds of students. We also have a 90% success rate. 

In our 1-on-1 Admission Support and Admissions Bootcamp, we will walk you through the admission process and give you advice as you prepare your application. 

So, what are you waiting for? Start your future, today.


Admissions Ally BHSc Coaches

Our McMaster BHSc coaches are recent grads of the program and supplementary application reviews with immense insight on the admissions process and what it takes to prepare, stand out, and get in.

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