McMaster University

McMaster University
McMaster University
McMaster University Coat of Arms
Motto in English All things cohere in Christ
Established 23 April 1887[1]
Type Public university
Endowment $460.7 million[2]
Chancellor Lynton Wilson
President Patrick Deane
Academic staff 1,306[3]
Admin. staff 6,289[3]
Undergraduates 22,852[4]
Postgraduates 3,588[4]
Location Hamilton, Ontario, Canada
43°15′48″N 79°55′8″W / 43.26333°N 79.91889°W / 43.26333; -79.91889Coordinates: 43°15′48″N 79°55′8″W / 43.26333°N 79.91889°W / 43.26333; -79.91889
Campus Urban, 152.4 hectares (377 acres)
Colours Maroon and Grey          
Athletics McMaster Marauders
Mascot Mac the Marauder[3]
Affiliations ACU, AUCC, CARL, IAU, U15, COU, ATS, CIS, CUSID, Fields Institute, CUP.
McMaster University logo

McMaster University (commonly referred as McMaster or Mac) is a public research university whose main campus is located in Hamilton, Ontario, Canada. The main campus is located on 121 hectares (300 acres) of land in the residential neighbourhood of Westdale, adjacent to Hamilton's Royal Botanical Gardens.[5] The university operates six academic faculties: Engineering, Health Science, Humanities, Social Sciences, Science, and the DeGroote School of Business. It is a member of the U15, a group of research-intensive universities in Canada.[6]

The university bears the name of Honourable William McMaster, a prominent Canadian Senator and banker who bequeathed C$900,000 to the founding of the university.[7] McMaster University was incorporated under the terms of an act of the Legislative Assembly of Ontario in 1887, merging the Toronto Baptist College with Woodstock College. It opened in Toronto in 1890. Inadequate facilities and the gift of land in Hamilton prompted the institution to relocate in 1930.[8] McMaster was controlled by the Baptist Convention of Ontario and Quebec until it became a privately chartered, publicly funded non-denominational institution in 1957.

The university is co-educational, and has nearly 23,000 undergraduate and over 3,500 post-graduate students. Alumni and former students of the university can be found all across Canada and in 129 countries around the world.[9] The McMaster athletic teams are known as the Marauders, and are members of the Canadian Interuniversity Sport.



McMaster University resulted from the outgrowth of educational initiatives undertaken by Baptists as early as the 1830s.[10] Canadian Senator William McMaster, the first president of the Canadian Bank of Commerce, bequeathed funds to endow a university, which was incorporated through a merger of Toronto Baptist College and Woodstock College. In 1887 the Act to unite Toronto Baptist College and Woodstock College was granted royal assent, and McMaster University was officially incorporated.[1] The new University, housed in McMaster Hall in Toronto, was sponsored by the Baptist Convention of Ontario and Quebec as a sectarian undergraduate institution for its clergy and adherents. The first courses—initially limited to arts and theology leading to a BA degree—were taught in 1890, and the first degrees were conferred in 1894.[11]

Portrait of McMaster Hall, located in Toronto, Ontario
McMaster University in Toronto circa 1906

As the university grew, McMaster Hall started to become overcrowded. The suggestion to move the university to Hamilton was first brought up by a student and Hamilton native in 1909, although the proposal was not seriously considered by the university until two years later.[12] By the 1920s, after previous proposals between various university staff, the Hamilton Chamber of Commerce launched a campaign to bring McMaster University to Hamilton.[8] As the issue of space at McMaster Hall became more acute, the university administration debated the future of the university. The university nearly became federated with the University of Toronto, as had been the case with Trinity College and Victoria College. Instead, in 1927, the university administration decided to transfer the university to Hamilton.[8] The Baptist Convention of Ontario and Quebec secured $1.5 million, while the citizens of Hamilton raised an additional $500,000 to help finance the move.[13] The lands for the university and new buildings were secured through gifts from graduates.[11] Lands were transferred from the Royal Botanical Gardens to establish the campus area. The first academic session on the new Hamilton campus began in 1930.[13] McMaster's property in Toronto was sold to the University of Toronto when McMaster moved to Hamilton in 1930. McMaster Hall is now home to the Royal Conservatory of Music.[14]

Professional programs during the interwar period were limited to theology and nursing.[15] By the 1940s the McMaster administration was under pressure to modernize and expand the university's programs.[15] During the Second World War and post-war periods the demand for technological expertise, particularly in the sciences, increased.[15] This problem placed a strain on the finances of what was still a denominational Baptist institution.[15] In particular, the institution could no longer secure sufficient funds from denominational sources alone to sustain science research.[15] Since denominational institutions could not receive public funds, the Baptist Convention of Ontario and Quebec decided to reorganize the university, creating two federated colleges. The arts and divinity programs were reconstituted as University College and science was reorganized under the newly incorporated Hamilton College as a separate division capable of receiving provincial grants.[15] Hamilton College was incorporated in 1948 by letters patent under The Companies Act, although it remained only affiliated with the university.[16] The University traditionally focused on undergraduate studies, and did not offer a PhD program until 1949.[17]

Hamilton Hall at McMaster University
Hamilton Hall was constructed in 1926 in preparation for the university's move to Hamilton and now houses the Department of Mathematics & Statistics

Through the 1950s increased funding advanced the place of sciences within the institution.[18] In 1950, the university had completed the construction of three academic buildings for the sciences, all designed by local architect William Russell Souter.[19] Public funding was eventually necessary to ensure the humanities and social sciences were given an equal place.[18] Thus, in 1957 the University reorganized once again under The McMaster University Act, 1957, dissolving the two colleges. Its property was vested to McMaster and the university became a nondenominational institution eligible for public funding.[16] The historic Baptist connection was continued through McMaster Divinity College, a separately chartered affiliated college of the university.[11][20] Also in 1957, Ph.D. programs were consolidated in a new Faculty of Graduate Studies.[17] Construction of the McMaster Nuclear Reactor also began in 1957, and was the first university-based research reactor in the Commonwealth when it began operating in 1959.[21]

In 1965, with the support of the Ontario government, the University established a medical school and teaching hospital, graduating its first class of physicians in 1972.[22] In 1968 the university was reorganized under an amended act of the McMaster Act into the Divisions of Arts, Science, and Health Sciences, each with its own Vice-President, while the Divinity College continued under its existing arrangement.[16][23] In 1974 the divisional structure of the university was dissolved and reorganized again under The McMaster University Act, 1976 and the vice-presidents were replaced by a single Vice-President (Academic).[16] The Faculties of Business, Engineering, Health Sciences, Humanities, Science, and Social Sciences were retained, each under the leadership of a dean.


McMaster University is situated in the city of Hamilton, Ontario, located in the Golden Horseshoe along the western end of Lake Ontario. The main campus is bordered to the north by Cootes Paradise, an extensive natural marshland, to the east and west by residential neighbourhoods, and to its south by Main Street West, a major transportation artery. Its northern boundaries are a popular destination for walkers who make use of the many trails that connect the campus to the Royal Botanical Gardens. While the main campus is 152.4 hectares (377 acres), the majority of the teaching facilities are centered within the core 12.1 hectares (30 acres).[3][5] In addition to its main campus in Hamilton, McMaster owns several other properties around Hamilton, as well as in Burlington, Kitchener, and St. Catharines, Ontario.

The buildings at McMaster vary in age, with Hamilton Hall opening in 1926, to the university's new nuclear research facility, which opened in 2011.[8][24] Plans to construct a new academic building in 2013, known as the Wilson Building for Studies in Humanities and Social Sciences are underway after securing a substantial donation from the university's chancellor, Lynton Wilson, as well as securing funding from the provincial government.[25] McMaster main campus is divided up into three main areas: the Core Campus, North Campus and West Campus. The Core Campus is where the majority of the university's academic, research and residential buildings are located while the North Campus is made up of the university's athletic precinct and a small amount of surface parking. The West Campus is the least developed area of the main campus, containing only a few buildings, surface parking, and undeveloped land.[26]

Panoramic Image of McMaster University
Panoramic view of McMaster University from the Southwest

Academic facilities

Archway of University Hall at McMaster University
The archway of University Hall displays a Gothic architectural style

The university's campus has gone through continuous development since 1928. The main campus's six original buildings are of neo-Gothic architecture. They are now flanked by over fifty structures built predominantly during booms in the 1950s, 1960s and during the 2000s.[3] The largest facility is the McMaster University Medical Centre, a multi-use research hospital that ranks amongst the largest pediatric academic health sciences centres in Canada and one of the most busiest children's hospital in Ontario.[27] It is connected to the Life Sciences building and the Michael DeGroote Centre for Learning & Discovery, which houses many well-funded research groups in areas of genetics, infectious diseases, and several specific conditions.[28]

The McMaster Nuclear Reactor (MNR) has been the largest university reactor in the Commonwealth since it began operation and is the second largest research reactor in North America.[29][30] It is a "pool-type" reactor with a core of enriched uranium fuel moderated and cooled by distilled water.[31] While the MNR's primary purpose is research and the production of medical isotopes, the MNR is also serves students in nuclear engineering, medical and health physics, and other applied radiation sciences.[32] The university provides a wide range of irradiation, laboratory, and holding facilities, which include a cyclotron, an accelerator, a small-angle neutron-scattering detector, and wide-angle neutron scattering facilities.[33] The cyclotron is presently used for the production of fluorine-18, and is used for research purposes, particularly the development of novel molecular imaging agents.[34]

McMaster University Libraries include four libraries housing 1,645,876 volumes and 3,620,092 total resources, including videos, maps, sound recordings, and microfilm.[3] Mills Library houses the humanities and social sciences collections, with a wide range of print and digital resources. Innis Library houses content which supports the academic and research interests of the DeGroote School of Business. Thode Library houses academic material of various disciplines of science and engineering, while the Health Science Library houses books pertaining to medical sciences.

Housing and student facilities

McMaster University Student Centre and Mills Memorial Library
McMaster University Student Centre on the left next to Mills Library to the right

Currently McMaster has twelve smoke-free student residences: Bates, Brandon, Edwards, Hedden, Les Prince, Mary E. Keyes, Mathews, McKay, Moulton, Wallingford, Whidden, and Woodstock Hall. McMaster's student residences can accommodate 3,685 students in total.[35] The latest residence to be built was Les Prince Hall, a large co-ed building, completed in 2006. It was named for a long-time hall master in the residence system who lived with his family on campus until after his retirement in 1980.[36] Residences provide traditional room and board style, furnished apartment style, and suite-style accommodation. Brandon Hall and Whidden Hall house the university's substance-free lifestyle living spaces.[37][38] The residence system is supervised by Residence Life staff, who provide guidance and help the transition to university life for many first-year students.[39] Residence students are represented by the Inter-Residence Council (IRC), which aims to build a sense of community among the residents through programming.[40]

The McMaster University Student Centre (MUSC) is the center of student life and programming. It contains a café, study space, common areas, and a number of administrative departments, including the CIBC Conference Hall. The MUSC contains the offices of a number of student organizations, including the McMaster Students Union and The Silhouette weekly newspaper as well as other services such as the Campus Health Centre and the campus dentist.[41] The university has over twenty dining outlets located throughout the campus, including two major residence dining facilities.[42] The university has a number of vegetarian establishments, such as a completely vegetarian cafe known as Bridges Café and a farmers market stand. The university was voted as the country's most vegan-friendly university through People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) for a number of years.[43] Several other dining outlets at McMaster have garnered a number of awards throughout the years for food services.[44]

Off-campus facilities

As of 2010 McMaster University's DeGroote School of Business operates a 1.82-hectare (4.5-acre) site in the neighbouring city of Burlington. Consideration for the new building began in 2004, when McMaster University had announced its initial intent to construct a new arts- and technology-intensive campus in partnership with the city of Burlington. In 2009, the City of Burlington, Halton Region, and McMaster University signed an official agreement laying out the timelines and next steps for the university's expansion into Burlington.[45] Construction began on June 17, 2009,[46] and the official opening was on October 7, 2010. The four-story, 90,000-square-foot (8,400 m2) building is called the Ron Joyce Centre. The Ron Joyce Centre is home to DeGroote's MBA program and its business management program (both degree and non-degree programs).[47][48]

McMaster has a number of administrative offices at its Downtown Centre, located in Hamilton in the former Wentworth County Courthouse.[49] The centre is also home to the McMaster Centre for Continuing Education, which offers a variety of certificate and diploma programs as well as personal and professional development programs.[50]

The Michael G. DeGroote School of Medicine is located on the main campus as well as in two regional campses at St. Catharines and Kitchener. The Waterloo Regional Campus is located in downtown Kitchener, sharing facilities with the Health Sciences Campus of the University of Waterloo.[51] The campus in St. Catharines is located at Brock University's Niagara Health and Bioscience Research Complex.[52] Approximately 30 medical students in each year of the program attend each campus.[53] Those who apply to McMaster's School of Medicine are asked to rank their site choice (Hamilton, Niagara Region, Waterloo Region) from first to third, or no preference. Offers of admission to the medical school are made from a rank list irrespective of geographical preference. Subsequent to an applicant's acceptance, registrants to the class are placed based on their preference and geographical background. The offers given out by McMaster are bound to the assigned site.[53]

McMaster purchased a large industrial park three kilometres east of its main Hamilton campus in 2005 with the intention of creating an array of research facilities for the development of advanced manufacturing and materials, biotechnology, automotive, and nanotechnology.[54] In July 2005 the federal government announced that it would be relocating CANMET, a federal government materials research laboratory, from its Ottawa centre to Hamilton. This decision helped spearhead the development of the McMaster Innovation Park.[55] The United Nations University-International Network on Water, Environment and Health (UNU-INWEH) is currently headquartered within the park. UNU-INWEH is the only United Nations agency headquartered in Ontario and the only North American host site for a United Nations University, after moving to McMaster Innovation Park on 23 April 2008.[5][56]


The Office of Sustainability, created as the All-modes Commuting & Transportation Office in 2002, is charged with promoting sustainable operations and growth at the university.[57][58] The Office of Sustainability, headed by the Manager of University Sustainability, works with members of the university population, external community groups, and the government.[59] Along with the other members of the Council of Ontario Universities, McMaster signed a pledge in 2009 known as Ontario Universities Committed to a Greener World, with the objective of transforming its campus into a model of environmental responsibility.[60][61] On 21 October 2010, the university signed two accords addressing the issue of climate change: the Talloires Declaration and the University and College Presidents’ Climate Change Statement of Action for Canada.[62][63][64]

The university campus received a B grade from the Sustainable Endowments Institute on its College Sustainability Report Card for 2011.[65]


Current Faculties of McMaster University
Faculties[66] Established
DeGroote School of Business 1952[67]
Faculty of Engineering 1958[68]
Faculty of Health Sciences 1974[69]
Faculty of Humanities 1887
Faculty of Science 1887
Faculty of Social Sciences 1887

The governance of the university is conducted through the Board of Governors and the Senate, both of which were established in the Act to unite Toronto Baptist College and Woodstock College in 1887.[1] The Board is responsible for the university's conduct, management, and control of the university and of its property, revenues, business, and affairs.[70] Ex officio governors of the Board include the university's chancellor, president, and the chairman of the board-senate committee on long-range planning. The Board also consists of 34 other governors, either appointed or elected by the various members of the university's community, including elected representatives from the student body.[70] While The McMaster University Act, 1976 outlines that the board be only composed of 37 members, the Board also includes 12 honorary members, bringing the total number of governors to 51.[71]

The Senate is responsible for the university's academics, including standards for admission into the university and qualifications for degrees, diplomas, and certificates.[70] The Senate consists of 15 ex officio positions in the Senate granted to the chancellor, the president, the vice-presidents of the university, the senior dean of each faculty, the dean of graduate studies, the dean of adult education, the principal of McMaster Divinity College, and the Chairman of the Undergraduate Council. The Senate also consists of 51 other members, appointed or elected by the various communities of the university including elected representatives of the student body.[72] Meetings of the Board of Governors and the Senate are open to the public.[70]

The president acts as the chief executive officer of the university under the authority of the Board and the Senate, and supervises and directs the academic and administrative work of the university and of its teaching and non-teaching staff.[70] Patrick Deane is the seventh president of the university, serving the post since 1 July 2010.[73] The office was created in 1949, with George Gilmour serving as the university's first president. The office of the vice-chancellor, created at the same time as the office of president, has always been held by the incumbent president of the university.[74]

Programs, departments, and schools at McMaster are divided among six faculties. By enrolment, the three largest programs are engineering, with 3,662 full time and part time students, followed by the social sciences, with 3,376 full time and part time students.[4] The School of Graduate Studies serves as the central administrative unit of graduate education at the university.[75] The School of Graduate Studies is not considered its own faculty. The Arts and Science program is taught jointly by the other faculties at McMaster.[76] Created in 1981, the program aims to provide a broad-based, liberal education, providing substantial work in both the arts and sciences.[77]


The university had completed the 2009–2010 year with revenues of $828.4 million, expenses of $816.7 million and an excess of revenues over expenses of $11.7 million.[2] McMaster's revenue comes from endowment income, gifts, fees, and annual grants from the City of Hamilton, the Hamilton-Wentworth Region, the Province of Ontario, and the Government of Canada.[23] The majority of McMaster's financial revenue originates from financial endowments. The second-largest source of revenue is operating grants provided by the government, valued at nearly C$222.9 million. As of 31 December 2009, McMaster's financial endowment was valued at C$460.7 million, the seventh-largest endowment in Canada.[2] The financing of McMaster's scholarships and bursaries takes up 40 per cent of the endowments received.[78]


McMaster is a publicly funded research university, and a member of the Association of Universities and Colleges of Canada.[79][80] McMaster functions on a semester system, operating year-round on academic semesters, fall/winter and spring/summer.[81] The full-time undergraduate programs comprise the majority of the school's enrolment, made up of 22,852 full time and part time undergraduate students.[4] The university conferred 4,549 bachelor degrees, 202 doctoral degrees, 832 master degrees, and 181 first professional degrees in 2008–2009.[4]

Students may apply for financial aid such as the Ontario Student Assistance Program and Canada Student Loans and Grants through the federal and provincial governments. The financial aid provided may come in the form of loans, grants, bursaries, scholarships, fellowships, debt reduction, interest relief, and work programs.[82] In 2009-10, nearly $85 million worth of student loans and grants was issued to McMaster students.[3]

McMaster Model

The McMaster Model is the university's policy for a student-centred, problem-based, interdisciplinary approach to learning, a policy which has been adopted by other several other universities around the world.[5] During the 1960s the university's Faculty of Health Science pioneered problem-based learning (PBL) tutorials that have since adopted by other programs and faculties within the university. PBL is now used in occupational therapy, physical therapy, midwifery, and other allied fields.[83][84] Most medical schools in Canada and more than 80 percent of medical schools in the United States employ PBL in their curriculum, and many international universities do the same.[85][86]

In 1991, McMaster's School of Medicine adopted progress testing, developing the personal progress index (PPI), a system based on progress testing invented concurrently by the University of Missouri-Kansas City's medical school and the Maastricht University. The PPI is used as an objective method for assessing acquisition and retention of knowledge for students in the medical program.[87] The PPI is administered at regular intervals to all students in the program, regardless of their level of training, and plots students' scores as they move through the program. Students typically score 20 percent on their first examination, and increase by five to seven percent with each successive examination.[87] Students can monitor the changes in their scores and receive formative feedback based on a standardized score relative to the class mean.[87] Due to the overwhelming success and research supporting the use of the PPI as an evaluation tool, it is now used in Canada, US, Europe, and Australia.[88]


University rankings
McMaster University
ARWU World[89] 89
ARWU Clinical Medicine[90] 46
ARWU Social Sciences[91] 49
THE-WUR World[92] 65
THE-WUR Health Sciences[93] 16
Canadian rankings
ARWU National[94] 4
Maclean's Medical/Doctoral[95] 6
v · d · e

McMaster University has consistently been ranked one of Canada's top universities. According to the 2011 Academic Ranking of World Universities (ARWU) rankings, the university ranked 89th in the world and fourth-highest in Canada.[89] The 2011-2012 Times Higher Education World University Rankings placed McMaster 65th in the world, and fourth in Canada.[92] The 2011 QS World University Rankings ranked the university 159th in the world.[96] In terms of national rankings, Maclean's ranked McMaster 6th in their 2010 Medical Doctoral university rankings.[95] McMaster was ranked in spite of having opted out—along with several other universities in Canada—of participating in Maclean's graduate survey since 2006.[97]

McMaster University was ranked 49th in the ARWU 2011 in the field of social sciences, the third-highest in the country.[91] McMaster's Health Science program has consistently been ranked within the top 100 universities. In the 2011-2012 Times Higher Education rankings of clinical, pre-clinical, and health universities, McMaster's Health Science program ranked 16th in the world and second in Canada.[93] In the field of clinical medicine and pharmacy, the ARWU in 2011 ranked the program 46th in the world and third in Canada.[90] The 2011 QS World University Rankings had also ranked the medical program at McMaster 42nd in the world, and fourth in Canada.[98] McMaster's DeGroote School of Business has garnered national and worldwide recognition, as it was accredited by the AACSB in 2006. Less than 10 percent of business schools worldwide have earned this accreditation.[99]


Photos of McMaster Nuclear Reactor in 1957 and 2004
Pictures of McMaster Nuclear Reactor, when it was under construction in 1957, and the reactor in 2004

In Research Infosource's Decade in Review, McMaster was designated the top performer in research income growth from 1999 to 2009 in the medical doctoral category and as the second-top performer in research intensity growth for the same period.[100] With a total sponsored research income of $377.732 million, McMaster has the sixth largest sponsored research income in the country. With an average research income of $310,100 CAD per full-time faculty member, McMaster is also the third most research intensive university in the country.[101] In 2004 McMaster earned the designation of research university of the year based on its ability to attract and capitalize on its research income.[102] Its research activities exceed those of universities twice its size. No Canadian university receives a higher proportion of research funding relative to its operating budget than McMaster.[33] The federal government is the largest source of funding, providing 55 percent of McMaster's research budget, primarily through grants. Corporations contribute around 16 percent of the overall research budget.[3]

In terms of research performance, High Impact Universities 2010 ranked McMaster 62nd out of 500 universities, and fourth in Canada.[103] The university was ranked 25th out of 500 universities—second in the country—for research performance in the fields of medicine, dentistry, pharmacology, and health sciences.[104] The university was ranked 83rd out of 500 universities, ranking third nationally, for research performance in the fields of engineering, computing, and technology.[105] In the fields of arts, humanities, business, and social sciences, the university's research performance was ranked 60th out of 500 universities, the third highest nationally.[106] The Higher Education Evaluation and Accreditation Council of Taiwan (HEEACT), an organization which also evaluates universities based on their scientific paper's performances, ranked McMaster 54th in the world and fourth nationally for in social sciences in its 2011 rankings. HEEACT placed McMaster 95th in the world and fifth nationally for its overall research performance.[107][108]

McMaster has been particularly renowned for its academic strengths, most notably in the field of health sciences.[109] For five years in a row, McMaster has ranked second in Canada for biomedical and health care research revenues. In 2008–2009, Faculty investigators were overseeing $133 million a year in research, much of that research conducted by scientists and physicians who teach in the medical school.[110] For its 2011 rankings, HEEACT ranked McMaster 35th in the world and third on a national scale for scientific papers in clinical medicine.[111] The Faculty of Health Sciences operates several research institutes, including the Farncombe Family Digestive Health Research Institute, the DeGroote Institute for Infectious Disease Research, and the Stem Cell and Cancer Research Institute.[112][113][114] A McMaster research group led by David Sackett and later Gordon Guyatt had been largely credited for largely establishing the methodologies used in evidence-based medicine. Guyatt had also been credited for coining the term evidence-based medicine in 1990.[115][116] In November 2010, researchers at the Stem Cell and Cancer Research Institute turned clumps of human skin into blood cells, which may help alleviate the shortage of blood donors.[117] A portion of Albert Einstein's brain is preserved and held for medical research at the McMaster brain bank.[118] Researchers there have identified differences in his brain that may relate to his genius for spatial and mathematical thinking.[119][120]

The Brockhouse Institute for Material Research (BIMR) is located at McMaster. Created in 1960 by Howard Petch, the institute was named after McMaster alumnus Bertram Brockhouse. The BIMR is an interdisciplinary research organization with the mandate to develop, support, and co-ordinate all materials research related activities at McMaster.[121] Its membership of 123 faculty members is drawn from 13 departments in the Faculties of Science, Engineering, and Health Sciences, as well as several Canadian and international universities.[121] Facilities of the BIMR include the Canadian Centre for Electron Microscopy, Centre for Crystal Growth, McMaster Analytical Xray Facility, Electronic and Magnetic Characterization Facility, and the Photonics Research Laboratories.[122] The Canadian Centre for Electron Microscopy is home to the world's most advanced microscope. The Titan 80–300 cubed microscope has a magnification of 14 million and is used for material, medical, and nanotechnology research.[123]

McMaster has had a nuclear reactor[33] (MNR) for nuclear science and engineering research since 1959. The strength of nuclear science at McMaster was augmented in 1968 under the presidency of Dr. H.G. Thode by the construction of a 10MV Model FN Tandem particle accelerator. The 3MV Model KN single-ended accelerator was added the same year.[124] The academic direction of the laboratory fell to the Physics Department in the early days, as it was primarily a nuclear structure laboratory. During the next 28 years, the nuclear research effort was extensive, with hundreds of graduate students trained and many publications generated.[125] The reactor at McMaster produces 25 percent of the world's supply of iodine-125, an isotope used in nuclear medicine to treat prostate cancer.[29] The production of molybdenum-99 at the National Research Universal Reactor (NRU) has also been occasionally moved to the university's reactor, notably in 1970 and during the 2009 shutdown of the NRU.[126]


The requirements for admission differ between students from Ontario, other provinces in Canada, and international students due to the lack of uniformity in marking schemes. Over the years, the acceptance rate had shown a steady decline. McMaster's more high profile programs carry much lower acceptance rates.[127] The secondary school average for full-time first-year students at McMaster University was 84.9 percent. Students entering McMaster's more selective undergraduate programs, such as its Health Science program and its Arts and Science program, had a secondary school average of 95.1 percent.[128]

McMaster's medical school receives twice the number of applications as other medical programs in Canada, with more than 4,500 applicants competing for 204 positions.[110] In 2001 McMaster developed the multiple-mini interview to address long-standing concerns over the standard panel interviews as being poor reflectors of performance in medical school.[129] This format uses short, independent assessments in a timed circuit to obtain aggregate scores in interpersonal skills, professionalism, ethical/moral judgment, and critical thinking to assess candidates. The multiple-mini interview has consistently shown to have a higher predictive validity for future performance than traditional interviews.[129] The format has since been adopted by the majority of other medical schools in Canada and abroad.[130]

Student life

Student groups

The Iron Ring Clock
The Iron Ring Clock located in the McMaster University Student Centre

The main student unions on administrative and policy issues are the McMaster Students Union for full-time undergraduates, the McMaster Association of Part-Time Students for part-time undergraduates, and the McMaster Graduate Students Association for postgraduates.[131][132][133] In addition, each faculty has its own student representative body. Students within the residence are represented by the Inter-Residence Council.[134] There are more than 200 student organizations and clubs, covering a wide range of interests such as academics, culture, religion, social issues, and recreation.[135] Many of them are centred on the McMaster student activity center, the McMaster University Student Centre. The Silhouette, the student-run newspaper, is the oldest student service at McMaster University, in publication since 1929.[8] Since 1968, the McMaster Engineering Society has published The Plumbline, the main satire magazine of McMaster University.[136] The campus radio station CFMU-FM (93.3 FM) is Canada’s second-oldest campus radio station, and has been broadcasting since 1978.[137] MacInsiders, a popular online student-run forum and information network, has been operating since 2007.[138] The McMaster Marching Band, created in September 2009, is a brass and reed marching band composed of 35 graduate and undergraduate students.[139]

The university hosts a number of honour societies, including the McMaster Honour Society and a chapter of the Golden Key International Honour Society.[140][141] The university is home to two semi-professional acting companies, McMaster Musical Theatre and the McMaster Thespian Company.[142] The McMaster Engineering Musical is an annual musical production that is written, directed, and cast by engineers. The production often features unique interpretations of popular songs or musicals.[143] The university and the student unions do not recognize any fraternity or sororities; existing chapters operate as non-accredited off-campus organizations.[144] Two fraternities currently operate an active chapter at the university, Alpha Epsilon Pi and Phi Delta Theta.[145][146]


Welcome Week Football Game, McMaster University. September 2009.
The McMaster Marauders football team at Ron Joyce Stadium

Athletics at McMaster is managed by the university's student affairs, under their athletics and recreation department. The university's varsity teams compete in the Ontario University Athletics conference of the Canadian Interuniversity Sport. The university's team sports programs include baseball, basketball, football, lacrosse, rugby, soccer, volleyball, and water polo. The first major sport game played at McMaster was in 1889, when a group of alumni from Toronto Baptist College and Woodstock College played a exhibition game against one another, sparking an early intercity rivalry between McMaster students. In 1897 the university placed all physical activity and sports under the jurisdiction of a central executive committee.[147] The varsity teams have been known as the McMaster Marauders since 1948, through a contest run by the student newspaper, The Silhouette, to name the university's men's basketball team.[148]

The Marauders have won 11 national championships and 139 provincial champions since 1961. The men's water polo team has won the Ontario University Athletics championship 25 times, making it the Marauders' most successful team at the provincial level. The men's wrestling team has been the Marauders' most successful team at the national level, winning the Canadian Interuniversity Sport championship four times.[149] McMaster University has graduated 34 Olympic athletes, eight Olympic coaches, two Olympic administrators and two Olympic officials.[150] As is mandatory for all members of Canadian Interuniversity Sport, McMaster University does not provide full-ride athletic scholarships.[151]>

The university's sports facilities are located in the northeast corner of the main campus. The university has a number of sports facilities, including the David Braley Athletic Centre and the Ron Joyce Stadium.[152] Ron Joyce Stadium includes a full-sized Canadian football field and FIFA-sized soccer pitch. The stadium features permanent seating for 6,000 and temporary seating for an additional 6,000 on the other side of the field when needed. Ron Joyce Stadium is not only used by the university's football and soccer varsity teams it is also used as the training camp for the Hamilton Tiger-Cats of the Canadian Football League and as the home stadium for the Hamilton Nationals of Major League Lacrosse.[153][154]

Intramural sport leagues and tournaments have a high level of participation at McMaster. Opportunities are offered at multiple skill levels and across a variety of sports to service a range of interest and ability. Sports offered include traditional sports like volleyball, basketball, soccer and cricket, as well as less traditional events like dodgeball, inner tube water polo, and extreme potato sack racing.[155]

Insignias and other representations

Motto and songs

The McMaster motto, chosen from Colossians 1:17, is ΤΑ ΠΑΝΤΑ ΕΝ ΧΡΙΣΤΩΙ ΣΥΝΕΣΤΗΚΕΝ.[156] The motto, adopted in 1888, is Greek for "In Christ all things consists".[156] The McMaster motto is unusual in that it employs Greek instead of Latin or English. The use of Latin reflects the origin of universities in mediaeval institutions in which Latin was more prominent than Greek.[157][158] McMaster's founders desired to go back beyond the Middle Ages to the earliest days of the Christian faith, and therefore used the Greek form.[158]

Notable among a number of songs commonly played and sung at various events such as commencement and convocation, and athletic games are: The Alma Mater Song (1935), with words by Mrs. A.A. Burridge and music by Hugh Brearly; The McMaster March, with words by Claire Senior Burke et al., and music by Arthur Burridge; and My Mac (1982), with words and music by Fred Moyes.[159]

Coat of arms

After the university moved to Hamilton in 1930, the university petitioned Lord Lyon King of Arms in Edinburgh for a coat of arms.[160] The request was granted on behalf of The Crown on 20 October 1930.[157][160] In 1997 the Board of Governors introduced a simplified shield design, which recognized the tradition of McMaster’s heraldry while improving the quality of print and electronic reproduction.[160] The university's arms and badge was registered with the Canadian Heraldic Authority on 15 October 2006.[161]

The coat of arms consists of a shield, a crest, and a motto, together with a helmet. The shield contains an eagle, symbolic of the heavenly vision, with a cross on its breast to indicate Christianity as the inspiration for the university's vision.[162] The chief of the shield bears an open book, a common symbol of learning, with a maple leaf on each side, signifying that McMaster's charter was granted by the Province of Ontario.[162] The helmet, above the shield, has the open visor and forward-facing style typically used by universities.[162] The mantling surrounding the shield and helmet represents the cloak worn over a knight's armour as protection from the sun. The crest, located above the helmet, is a stag and oak tree, which serves as a tribute to Senator McMaster, who also used a stag and oak on his insignias.[160] The motto is located above the crest, as is common in Scottish heraldry.[163]

Notable alumni and faculty

Tommy Douglas stands in front of a group of men in military uniform.
Tommy Douglas, former premier of Saskatchewan and alumnus of McMaster

As of November 2010, McMaster University has over 141,672 alumni residing in 129 countries.[9] Throughout McMaster's history, faculty, alumni, and former students have played prominent roles in many different fields including winning Nobel prizes and awards such as the Rhodes Scholarship.[164] Nobel Prize winners include alumnus Myron Scholes, who was awarded the Nobel Memorial Prize in Economic Sciences in 1997, faculty member Bertram Brockhouse who was awarded the Nobel Prize in Physics in 1994, and alumnus James Orbinski, who accepted the Nobel Peace Prize in 1992 on behalf of Doctors Without Borders.[165]

Many former students have gained local and national prominence for serving in government. Lincoln Alexander served as Lieutenant Governor of Ontario, also becoming the first visible-minority Lieutenant Governor in Canada.[166] Two premiers from Canada, the current premier from Ontario, Dalton McGuinty, and the former premier of Saskatchewan, Tommy Douglas, were graduates of McMaster University.[167][168] Prominent faculty members in the field of social sciences include Ruth Landes, a cultural anthropologist, and Henry Giroux, one of the founding theorists of critical pedagogy.[169][170] A prominent alumnus in the field of social sciences was Harold Innis, who helped shaped communication theory and the staples thesis.[171]

A significant number of prominent business leaders have studied at McMaster. Examples include Stephen Elop, current president and CEO of Nokia and former president of Microsoft's business division,[172] Paul D. House, current executive chairman of Tim Hortons,[173] Lynton Wilson, current chairman of Nortel and chancellor of McMaster,[174] Michael Lee-Chin, current chairman, CEO, and CIO of AIC Limited,[175] and Rob Burgess, former chairman and CEO of Macromedia and director of Adobe Systems.[176] Two members of McMaster University had travelled in space: faculty member Dafydd Williams, who is a physician-scientist at McMaster Centre for Medical Robotics at St. Joseph's Healthcare Hamilton,[177] and astronaut Roberta Bondar, the first Canadian woman in space.[178]

See also

Notes and references

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Further reading

  • Charles M. Johnston 'McMaster University, Vol. 1: The Toronto Years' (Toronto: University of Toronto Press)
  • Charles M. Johnston 'McMaster University, Vol. 2: The Early Years in Hamilton' (Toronto: University of Toronto Press)
  • Herb Jenkins 'Combining Two Cultures: McMaster University's Arts And Science Programme' (University press of America, August 31, 2004)
  • Paul Axelrod 'Scholars and Dollars: Politics, Economics, and the Universities of Ontario 1945–1980' (Toronto: University of Toronto Press, September 1, 1982)
  • W.S.W. McLay, C.W. New and G.P. Gilmour. 'McMaster University, 1890–1940' (Hamilton, 1940)

External links

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