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Faculty of Science School Of Geography & Earth Sciences
Faculty of Science

School Of Geography & Earth Sciences

FAQ

Image of McMaster students in library talking

Our undergraduate advisor, Kara Salvador (ugadmin@mcmaster.ca) is available to answer students' questions about courses, program options, career options and University services. If your question is not answered in one of the FAQ's below please direct your inquiry to Kara.

Please note that Kara has drop-in hours Monday to Thursday from 10:00am – 11:00am and 2:00pm – 3:00pm. If these times do not work with your schedule, please email ugadmin@mcmaster.ca to set up an appointment.


Frequently Asked Questions

1. I would like to talk to an undergraduate advisor. What can I do?

The undergraduate advisor in the School of Geography and Earth Sciences is available to answer students’ questions about courses, program options, career options and University services.

If you have questions about the School’s B.A. programs, B.Sc. programs or about EARTH SC, ENVIR SC or GEOG, courses, please contact: Kara Salvador, ugadmin@mcmaster.ca 

Please be sure that your email includes all of the following elements and is from your McMaster email account (as a matter of policy, to protect student privacy, all email must be through your McMaster email address):
1. Your full name
2. Your student ID number
3. Your current program and level (e.g. Honours Geography Level II, Environmental Science Level III, etc.)
4. Which course you are emailing about (if applicable)
Please make an effort to clearly summarize your problem in your message. For complicated problems requiring a lengthy answer, you will most likely need to meet Kara during her drop-in office hours, or by appointment.

2. How do I know if I am meeting my program requirements?

You can view your Advisement Report, which can be accessed on Mosaic through the Student Centre portal. You can save it or print it, ahead of a meeting with your Undergraduate Academic Advisor. You can also use it to complete a Program Progress Chart for your program, available here:

Undergraduate Programs Page 

Please make sure every year to review the new Undergraduate Calendar published by the Office of the Registrar, as Undergraduate Curriculum program and course changes may have an impact on the path you will need to follow, in order to complete your degree.

3. When I try to add a course in Mosaic, it tells me that I do not have the prerequisites. What can I do?

If you get this message, it usually means you have not obtained credit for the prerequisite course/s. It can also mean that the course is restricted to students in a certain programme or level. Prerequisites are in place to ensure you have the background knowledge to succeed in a course. All courses in The School of Geography & Earth Sciences require students to have the prerequisite courses to enroll.  You can, however, request for the prerequisite to be waived. If you are requesting that a prerequisite be waived you need to convince us that you will be able to succeed without the background knowledge, so please justify your request in the space provided on the Prerequisite Waiver Request Form, and submit it electronically:

Prerequisite Waiver Request Form

The prerequisites may be waived at the department’s discretion. Please note that a waiver does not guarantee a seat in a course but only the opportunity to attempt to obtain a seat.

As soon as a decision has been made, you will be notified by email. This process normally takes approximately 2 business days, but can be longer if it's during the summer when faculty take vacation, or at the Drop & Add rush. Do NOT leave this to the last day of Drop & Add - each request requires various actions so therefore takes time!

4. I want to take a course but it is full. Can the School open a spot for me?

All courses in The School of Geography & Earth Sciences have a course capacity that cannot be exceeded.  If you are receiving a message that the course is full, please continue to attempt to add it in the hopes a seat becomes available. Please note that there are no waiting lists.

If the course is required for your program (and not just one from the course list which you wish to take), please complete and submit electronically the Prerequisite Waiver Request Form:

Prerequisite Waiver Request Form

5. I want to switch into another lab but it is full. Can the School open a spot for me?

If you are receiving a message that the lab section is full, please continue to attempt to add it in the hopes a seat becomes available.  If the course is required for your program (and not just one from the course list which you wish to take), please complete and submit electronically the Prerequisite Waiver Request Form:

Prerequisite Waiver Request Form

Make sure to specify on in the available space in which lab section you are, and which lab section(s) fit(s) your schedule.

6. I have a scheduling conflict. What can I do?

When scheduling courses, thousands of students requiring the various courses are considered. Courses are scheduled according to the normal path of each program. If you fail a course and have to re-take it, or take courses without following your program, it diverts you from the normal path - very possibly resulting in conflicts. If you are in this situation, it is possible that you will have to take an extra term, or an extra year, to complete your degree requirements. If you are following your program path, and your conflicting courses are required courses, there may have been an error in scheduling - in this case, please contact the undergraduate advisor immediately. If your conflict involves an Elective, you will have to choose another Elective - one that fits your schedule.

7. I would like to take a course at another university (Waterloo, Ryerson, U of T, etc.) to replace one of our McMaster courses. What can I do?

You will need to follow the procedure of your faculty to get your course selection approved.

If you are in a B.A program, you will need to use and complete the following forms:

LOP Information Sheet (pdf) 

LOP Request Form-2 (pdf) 

And then return them to the Associate Dean’s office (Social Sciences) in KTH-129.

If you are in B.Sc. program, you can go to the Associate Dean’s office (Science) in BSB-129.  You can also find the application form, and a list of pre-approved courses, here:

http://www.science.mcmaster.ca/associatedean/letter-of-permission

8. I want to overload my courses to graduate on time. What can I do?

Your course load should be balanced between the fall (September-December) and winter (January-April) terms. A full course load is typically 5 courses/ 15 units per term. There is a maximum of 21 units allowed per term. To take any more units than that (overload) requires permission of a Student Advisor from your Faculty.

If you are in a B.A program, you will need to go to the Associate Dean’s office (Social Sciences) in KTH-129. If you are in B.Sc. program, you will need to go to the Associate Dean’s office (Science) in BSB-129.

9. I'm looking to switch to/between programs in School of Geography & Earth Sciences, what do I do?

You can apply to switch programs by visiting the appropriate Associate Dean's Office.

If you want to switch to a B.A program offered by the School, you will need to go to the Associate Dean’s office (Social Sciences) in KTH-129.

If you want to switch to a B.Sc. program offered by the School, you will need to go to the Associate Dean’s office (Science) in BSB-129.
Please note that Transfer Requests are typically not assessed until May, once grades have been finalized.

10. I am trying to get into a course offered by another department. Who should I contact?

If you are a student in the School of Geography and Earth Sciences interested in courses offered by another Department/Faculty, you MUST contact the appropriate department with your request.
Please make sure when you are contacting another Department/Faculty to include the following information:
1. Your full name
2. Your student ID number
3. Your current program and level (e.g. Honours Geography Level II, Environmental Science Level III, etc.)
4. Which course you are emailing about

11. I would like to apply for a field course offered by the School of Geography & Earth Sciences. When and where do I apply?

You can complete and submit the Field Course Application:

Field Course Application Form

Please note that the Application form for Field Courses offered by the School of Geography and Earth Sciences is only available between March 1 and April 1. Students will be informed of acceptance of their application by April 15 subject to fulfillment of the requirements.

12. I would like to apply for a thesis course, or an independent study course, offered by the School of Geography and Earth Sciences. When and where do I apply?

You can complete and submit the Thesis Application:

Field Course Application Form

EARTH SC/GEOG 4MT6 Thesis Application Form

Please note that applications for the Thesis Course (EARTH SC/GEOG 4MT6) must be submitted between March 1 and April 1. Students interested in applying for the Thesis course will be informed of acceptance of their application on April 15 subject to fulfillment of the Cumulative Average requirement (CA of 7.5).

13. I would like to apply for an internship course, offered by the School of Geography & Earth Sciences. When and where do I apply?

You can complete and submit electronically the Internship Application:

Internship Application

Please note Students intending to enroll in this course must submit an application two months prior to registration. Students are responsible to arrange a suitable internship and agreement of the supervisor.

14. I missed/am going to miss an assignment/test/midterm/quiz/etc. What do I do?

You must fill out the McMaster Student Absence Form (MSAF) online:

MSAF Form/

It is YOUR RESPONSIBILITY to follow-up with your instructor.

15. I would like to view my final exam. What do I do?

You must follow the School of Geography and Earth Sciences’ Viewing Final Exam Policy:

Policy for viewing final exams

McMaster University - Faculty of Science

Mailing Address

School of Geography and Earth Sciences
McMaster University

General Sciences Building, Room 206
1280 Main Street West
Hamilton, Ontario, Canada
L8S 4K1

Contact Information

Office Hours:
8:30 a.m. - 12:00 p.m.
1:00 p.m. - 4:30 p.m.
Telephone Inquiries:
+1 (905) 525-9140 ext.24535
Email Inquiries:
sges@mcmaster.ca

McMaster University - Faculty of Science

Mailing Address

School of Geography and Earth Sciences
McMaster University

General Sciences Building, Room 206
1280 Main Street West
Hamilton, Ontario, Canada
L8S 4K1

Contact Information

Office Hours:
8:30 a.m. - 12:00 p.m.
1:00 p.m. - 4:30 p.m.
Telephone Inquiries:
(905) 525-9140 ext. 24535
Email Inquiries:
sges@mcmaster.ca