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Integrated Science (iSci)


Integrated Science (iSci) It’s totally McMaster and it’s totally unique. The Honours Integrated Science (iSci) program is Canada’s most innovative undergraduate science program, blending content from across the science disciplines, while focusing on the foundations of mathematics, physics, chemistry, earth science and life science. Our students learn in a variety of situations – from formal lectures and tutorials to inquiry-based team and individual research projects that involve hands-on laboratories and fieldwork. iSci students learn to ask creative and critical questions using a wide range of tools. Most importantly, they’re prepared to tackle real world challenges that face us today and in the future. The iSci program is one of a kind – the only four year Honours Level program in all of North America that combines the core science disciplines into one degree program.

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.

Admission Requirements Completion of High School Diploma plus 6 Grade 12 U/M requirements including: English (ENG4U) Advanced Functions (MHF4U) Calculus & Vectors (MCV4U) Two* of: Biology (SBI4U), Chemistry (SCH4U), Physics (SPH4U) *Completion of all three is strongly recommended. Students who do not have all three grade 12 U/M sciences will be required to complete an online orientation course prior to the beginning of ISCI 1A24. The course will provide students with the basic knowledge and skills required for ISCI 1A24.


Deadline: February 1, 2012 2

Is the Integrated Science Program right for you? The answer may be yes if… You have an interest in all sciences, enjoy problem solving and like to interact with peers and faculty members You are interested in developing research skills, and enjoy self-directed and collaborative learning You are interested in learning about the relationships between scientific disciplines You enjoy conducting laboratory work and fieldwork, and applying your knowledge to solve practical scientific problems You are interested in developing science literacy, analysis, critical thinking, numeracy and communication skills

Interdisciplinary Research Projects

Timing of Offers of Admission

Integrated Science Program Curriculum

‘Interdisciplinary Research Projects’ are projects conducted as part of the structured iSci class time. These projects change in form and scope as students move through the four-year program, according to the subject material being investigated. In Level I we begin work on small projects that help students develop their research skills in an instructor – guided environment. By the end of Level I students will be working on longer duration research projects in which they will take on more responsibility for the design, analysis and communication of the research. In Levels II – IV students will have increased responsibility for project design and content. In Level II students will complete five research projects on topics that cover aspects of thermodynamics, ecology, biochemistry, neuroscience, earth history and physics. Level II students also select an ‘enrichment’ project based upon one of the five, Level II research projects to further enhance their understanding of that topic. In Level III students will complete an individual research project on a topic of their choice. In Level IV students will complete an honours thesis, working in conjunction with a researcher at McMaster (or in the community).

Mandatory Supplementary Application Deadline: February 1, 2012

Level I: ISCI 1A24 – Integrates learning of essential knowledge and skills from the scientific disciplines, including, chemistry, mathematics, physics, life science and earth science. Taught by teams of instructors and delivered through thematic research projects to identify and highlight the linkages between discipline areas. Communication of science is emphasized with class time dedicated to developing science literacy.

We anticipate that most offers of admission will be made in early May. A small number of offers may be made to exceptional candidates in April. Admission to the Integrated Science Program is by selection. All applicants are required to complete a supplementary application to assist us in making admission decisions. The purpose of the Supplementary Application is to help us learn more about you – Are you suited for the program? Is the program suited for you? We aim to identify highly motivated, well-rounded students with an interest in all fields of science; students with strong communication skills; students who are excited about scientific research, and students who can think creatively about scientific issues. The submission should not be a rewrite of the iSci program description in the Undergraduate Calendar. There is no formula for a ‘good’ supplementary application. The deadline for receipt of the Supplementary application via the iSci website is February 1, 2012.

Level II: ISCI 2A18 – The second year iSci course consists of five research projects and an enrichment project, each focusing on a different topic considered to be essential learning for interdisciplinary science students. Students learn project content through iConS (interactive concept seminars), field and lab work and collaborative team work. ISCI 2A18 also includes mathematics, science literacy and lab practicum. Students can elect to focus their elective courses in specific discipline areas to fulfill the academic requirements of a ‘Concentration’. Level III & IV: ISCI 3A12 & 4A12 – The third and fourth year iSci courses will allow students to conduct team-based and independent research projects, and continue to develop their scientific, communication and leadership skills.

Supplementary applications are available electronically at:


Level I Program

ISCI 1A24 integrates traditional first year science content and skill development in the disciplines of mathematics, life science, chemistry, physics and earth science as well as science literacy. Student learning within ISCI 1A24 is organized around central themes, such as Size & Scale or Populations, focusing on project topics such as Mission to Mars, Sustainable Energy in Challenging Environments and Cancer. Each project challenges students with hands-on research problems, and student learning is supported by interactive concept seminars (iConS), labs and field trips.

Total = 30 units Required: ISCI 1A24 Electives: 6 units

ISCI 1A24 is taught by interdisciplinary teams of instructors who are responsible for delivering much of the course content in the early part of Term 1 (Basic Training/Research Project 0 (RP0)). As the course progresses students transition into a mode of self-directed learning through guided research projects. Students completing ISCI 1A24 have very well developed research, inquiry, critical thinking, laboratory, field, and communication skills.

“iSci is, put quite simply,

Level I

EPIC. There really is no other program that allows you to meet an astronaut, look at the core of a nuclear reactor, and take part in a lab in a hospital...all in your first year!”

Basic Training/ RP0 Research Project 1: Mission to Mars Research Project 2: Drugs, Doses & Biodistribution Research Project 3: Sustainable Energy in Challenging Environments Research Project 4: Cancer: A 21st Century Plague ISCI 1A24 is assessed through exams, coursework, and project work. Student progress in each of the science discipline areas (mathematics, chemistry, physics, life science and earth science) is monitored and evaluated through discipline specific assignments, tests and exams. There will be components in the iSci assessment scheme that relate to research and inquiry skills, science literacy and the ‘integration’ aspects of science disciplines. In the first year, the overall breakdown is (roughly) 35% examination-type assessment, 25% ‘continuous’ assessment (class assignments, etc) and 40% research projects. The iSci student transcript records student progress in each of the discipline areas as well as in the course as a whole.

Typical Timetable Time 8:30 a.m.



ISCI 1A24 (class)




ISCI 1A24 (class)

9:30 a.m. 10:30 a.m. 11:30 a.m.

ISCI 1A24 (class) ISCI 1A24 (tutorial)

ISCI 1A24 (class)

12:30 p.m.

ISCI 1A24 (lab)

ISCI 1A24 (lab/field trips) ISCI 1A24 Science Literacy (tutorial)

1:30 p.m. 2:30 p.m. 3:30 p.m.

ISCI 1A24 (class) ISCI 1A24 (class)

ISCI 1A24 (class)

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


ISCI 1A24 (visiting speaker)

Student Experience “McMaster Honours Integrated Science (iSci) is an innovative new program that emphasizes the connections between scientific disciplines and encourages students to think outside the box. Interdisciplinary research projects constitute a major portion of iSci and require students to draw on multiple sciences to examine an issue, while developing time management, research and presentation skills. The iSci program also emphasizes independent learning, leadership, lab skills and scientific literacy. Upon graduation, these students’ options will include graduate studies, professional school and employment in scientific laboratories. Wherever they go, they are certain to make an impact.” (iSci 2013 student)

Students have the opportunity to engage in summer research through the National Science & Engineering Research Council (NSERC), Undergraduate Student Research Awards (USRA) and through other assistantships.

Student Profiles Adam Pantaleo – Exploring Chemistry at the Nanoscale

Julianne Bagg – Archaeological field school in Greece

Prateek Gupta – The Next 36

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.

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 members of the team.

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.

iSci will qualify students to: explore the interactions between scientific fields develop as broadly educated research scientists capable of contributing to all modern fields of science, with both specialist knowledge in their chosen field and the background to understand science in its broader context pursue post-graduate scientific research, enter professional programs, or seek employment in leading research laboratories be ideally prepared to be future scientific leaders


We make our home in the H.G. Thode Science & Engineering Library. We have dedicated teaching and study spaces in the Thode Interactive Knowledge (ThInK) classroom and student space in our very own iStudy.

Concentrations & Exchange Program Planning for your degree Starting in Level II, iSci students have the option of pursuing a discipline ‘Concentration’, which combines iSci with another subject. Pursuing iSci and a ‘Concentration’ provides the student with a similar experience to that of a combined honours degree program.

What’s a ‘Concentration’? iSci provides students with an understanding and appreciation of fundamental concepts that apply to a broad range of scientific disciplines. This understanding facilitates collaboration and communication between scientific fields of study. Students in the iSci program also have the opportunity to specialize in selected science disciplines through ‘Concentrations’ – designed to fulfill academic requirements for entry into graduate school in that discipline. There are ten Concentration areas that iSci students may choose to follow beginning at Level II. Pursuit of a Concentration will further allow a student to utilise their iSci perspective to identify how other fields of study relate to and can contribute to their particular area of specialization. For a full listing of iSci Concentration options, go to:

iSci International Exchange Opportunities Exchange open for students enrolled in Integrated Science at McMaster only. The iSci program at McMaster has developed a formal exchange progam with the University of Leicester in the UK. The University of Leicester ranks 12th in ‘The Guardian’s’ guide to United Kingdom universities. It offers a wide range of courses, including the innovative Interdisciplinary Science Program “iScience”. The first programme of its kind in the UK, iScience has now been running for six years. Learning is guided by problem-based learning modules, each of which leads students to investigate an interdisciplinary area of science. In addition to core modules, students can also choose from a variety of specialised streams such as science and sustainability, mathematical modelling, and management, to widen their experience. Exchange students can choose a one- or two-semester exchange, and will be able to select iScience modules, completing two core modules (research projects) per term, tailoring the course to suit their own areas of interest. Students have the opportunity to take part in the iScience field trip to Victoria Lake in Kenya, Africa. Leicester is a well-connected, vibrant city in the UK Midlands, within easy reach of major airports, rail, and motorways. Historic sites such as Stratford-Upon-Avon and Warwick Castle are close by, and London, Cambridge, and York are within reach for day trips. Host university website: Host programme website: McMaster contact: International Student Services/MacAbroad, Marcos Costa ( Requirements: Completion of ISCI 2A18 with Cumulative Average of 6.0; interview process


Visitor Information Regular Campus Tours Campus tours take about 1½ hours and are conducted by McMaster students. The entire campus is covered in the tour including a visit to at least one residence building. Please note: advanced notice of two to three working days is required tours are available Monday to Friday, from October 3 to December 6, 2011 and January 9 to April 5, 2012 tour times are 10:30 a.m. or 1:30 p.m. campus tours may be scheduled on some Saturdays with at least one week’s advance notice campus tours are also available throughout the summer, from mid-May to the beginning of August

Special Visit Events Fall Preview Saturday, October 29, 2011

Virtual Tour Unable to visit McMaster in person? Explore our picturesque campus via one of our online tours. You can take a Guided Tour that follows the same route as an in-person walking tour, create a personalized tour or simply explore major campus hotspots. We also offer a basic version for users with a slower internet connection or older computer.

visit display areas and talk with reps from academic, service areas and student groups in a relaxed and informal Roam Around Session tour the campus

March Break Monday, March 12 – Friday, March 16, 2012

To register for a campus tour, contact the Student Recruitment & Admissions Office: Tour Portal e-mail phone 905-525-9140 ext. 23650 fax 905-524-3550

regular campus tours faculty-specific activities available be sure to register in advance as group sizes are limited

May@Mac Saturday, May 12, 2012 Complimentary parking passes will be provided for registered campus tour visitors upon arrival. Please refer to your tour booking confirmation e-mail for further details. It is best to enter the campus via the Sterling Street entrance (Central Campus). Directions can be found online at:

University-wide Open House event applicants will be sent information in the Spring includes campus bus tours, special facility tours, sample lectures and lab demonstrations, opportunities to speak with professors, staff and students


Still have questions?

Hamilton, Ontario Canada L8S 4L8 905-525-9140 ext. 23650



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