Banner that says Orientation. There is a group of students posing with Senator McMaster.

First-Year Orientation

Bringing you an unforgettable orientation experience!

We have developed a number of orientation programs that start in July and continue throughout the fall to support your transition from high school to McMaster. These programs are identified in the orientation calendar. Some of our programs require registration so make sure you come back.

Welcome Week is a week-long series of programs and events commencing the last week in August and is a part of your orientation. A Welcome Week schedule will be released in early July. Make sure to check back with us so you don’t miss out.

Getting Ready for University – In Three Parts

Orientation doesn’t begin or end with Welcome Week. At McMaster, we have lots of programs, services and events to support your transition to university.

Before You Arrive

SSC Academic Skills Orientation: Online

July 2 – August 16, 2019

Questions about what it means to be a university learner? SSC Academic Skills Orientation: Online is a seven-week online program that supports you before your arrival for Welcome Week. Get tips and advice from fellow students to help you navigate a new academic environment. Join us from home as we discuss university academics through videos, short articles, and personal reflections, and learn about the skills you will need to be successful at McMaster. Starting Tuesday, July 2, this program will feature regular content. Participate and win weekly prizes!

Photo of McMaster students in a classroom.

SSC Academic Skills: Summer Writing Program

July 29 – 30, 2019 (inclusive)

Join us for a fun, two-day program that will help prepare you for your first research and writing assignments in university. Most suited for students enrolled in writing-intensive programs, participants will receive practical, hands-on experience conducting research and be introduced you to the expectations of university writing. Get personalized feedback to help you grow as a writer.

SSC Academic Skills: Orientation

July 31 or August 1, 2019

How is university different from high school? How do I take notes in a lecture? Most students have questions about academic expectations in university. This one-day interactive program is designed to give you the information you need to transition into university studies successfully. Connect with resources on-campus and with fellow incoming students.


Living Off-Campus in First-Year?

The Off-Campus Resource Centre helps deliver a wide range of orientation and transition activities specifically for off-campus students and commuter students. In July, you can take advantage of Summer Sneak Peeks and the Summer Adventure. Starting on August 24, join us for special Welcome Week events created for off-campus students. Join “Class of 2023 – McMaster University – Off-Campus Students” on Facebook for all the details.


Exclusively for off-campus students, Mac/One is designed to help with the social and academic transition to university. By joining Mac/One, you’ll connect to fellow students with similar passions and interests through our Living Learning Community events, have a home base on-campus to relax and study with access to a designated residence building, and get extra support through your designated Off-Campus Community Assistant.

Opens mid-July

Campus Summer Adventure

Calling all off-campus students! Come explore McMaster and the Hamilton Area with us. Join a group of McMaster’s off-campus orientation representatives for a full-day packed of adventures, campus tours, food, and more! The day will have tons of activities and opportunities to meet new friends and Mac students who share the off-campus and commuter experience. Registration is $40.

Campus Summer Sneak Peek

If you have any questions please reach out to us via email or call 905-525-9140 ext. 24086.

Student Accessibility Services: Transition Program

Summer Orientation Sessions

July 11, July 15, July 24, July 31, August 6, August 14, August 15

Join our student/parent orientation sessions to learn about our supports, the accommodation process, and how to successfully transition into university. Times and locations to be determined. Individual and Skype sessions are available upon request.

Summer workshops include:

  • Notetaking
  • Upper-Year Student Panel Q&A
  • Plus more



International Student Webinar Series

Join us for our summer webinar series to learn everything you need to know about getting ready for university life in Canada. This series is an opportunity to connect with our international student success team to learn about:

  • Where to live
  • Studying in Canada
  • Health insurance
  • Making friends
  • School and classes
  • and more!

All webinars will provide you with the opportunity to ask questions and get answers. Get started by visiting the website here.

The Ignite Program

The Ignite Program is a first-year pre-orientation program designed for international students that provides:

  • An opportunity to get your basic settling needs organized, including your bank account, mobile provider and on-campus residence needs.
  • A chance to make friends and connect with other international students attending McMaster University.
  • A preview of university life at McMaster University before all students arrive for the Fall semester.
  • Information related to academics and getting involved on-campus.

The Ignite Program was only open to students who applied to live in residence, coming to Canada to study for the first time.

Registration for Ignite is now open.

Facebook Groups to Join

There’s an official Class of 2023 Facebook Group, where many students connect over the summer. We recommend checking it out for announcements.

We also go live to answer your questions on our MacSSC Facebook throughout the summer! More to come soon.

Off-Campus Students

International Students

  • If you are an international student, we also recommend following our International Students Facebook Group to connect with other students.
  • Check your emails for updates about our iCent app, which has checklists to help you get ready for your transition to university life in Canada.

Get to know your Mac community from our videos and student blog posts.

When You Arrive

When you arrive at McMaster, make sure you pick-up your MacPass. Your MacPass is your all-access pass to Welcome Week.

Some tips for when you arrive:

Screenshot the bulleted schedule

On the Welcome Week website, select the day of the week and screenshot the bulleted list of events happening that day for your phone. Remember to check back every day, in case there are updates.

Make Welcome Week your own

Explore the schedule by themes that interest you! Themes include:

We help all students thrive and succeed. We’re here to support your success from the moment you accept your offer of admission.

Here are Welcome Week events designed to support your success:

SSC Academics

Throughout Welcome Week!

Over 10 different sessions offered throughout Welcome Week! Based on your feedback this summer (through surveys), we’ve learned the Class of 2023 already finds our sessions helpful. Most attended sessions last year were:

  • Note-taking in University
  • What I Wish I Knew in First-Year
  • Time Management and Procrastination

Photo of McMaster students in a classroom.


Sunday and Monday

Enjoy a performance created by upper-year students about the issues, challenges and opportunities you may have during your time at McMaster.

IRIS 2019 Cast

McMaster Welcome


It’s official – you’re a Marauder. This is your official Welcome to McMaster and an event you don’t want to miss. Shake hands with the McMaster President, learn about life at McMaster and experience the world’s largest rep tunnel!

Welcome Week Rep holding a sign that says welcome to mcmaster

Student Services Carnival


We’re bringing a McMaster student favourite to Welcome Week – students who attended last October rated this event a 4.7/5! There will be carnival games, partners across campus, a BBQ and a carnival prize!

A person wearing a giant clown themed bow

As a first-year student, you are guaranteed a MacPass that gets you into all Welcome Week events. Please keep your MacPass bracelet on all week.


All international students are required to attend on Monday, August 26 from 4:30 p.m. – 6:30 p.m. in LR Wilson (LRW), room B1007. Please register for your orientation on OSCARplus.

Academic Events

Attend some of our SSC Academic Skills Sessions during Welcome Week. The most popular sessions last year included:

  • Note-taking in University
  • What I Wish I Knew in First-Year
  • Time Management and Procrastination


Here are some of the most popular social events happening during Welcome Week:

After You Arrive

Coming soon!