Experiential Courses

ISCI/ARTS&SCI 3IE1, 3IE2, or 3IE3: Interdisciplinary Experiences 

Interdisciplinary experiential learning opportunities selected from an assortment of modules. Content and schedules vary annually. Details may be found on the Integrated Science  and Arts & Science  websites or by contacting the School of Interdisciplinary Science at

Prerequisite(s): Registration in Level II or above of Honours Integrated Science, Honours Life Sciences or Honours Arts & Science program; and permission of the Course Administrator. Some modules may have additional prerequisites.

In addition to the McMaster tuition fee, some modules may require an additional fee to cover costs of travel, accommodation and/or supplies.

ISCI/ARTS&SCI 3IE1, 3IE2, 3IE3 may be repeated, if on a different topic. 
Enrolment is limited.

The School of Interdisciplinary Sciences and Arts & Science Programs have teamed up to offer new Interdisciplinary Experiences courses to their students. In this ‘Forward With Integrity’ letter to the McMaster community, President Patrick Deane encourages the integration of experiential learning, self-directed learning and interdisciplinary into our undergraduate programs. The recent position paper generated by the Student Experience Task Force also recommends enhancement of ‘flexibility in structure, delivery and availability of courses’. In response to these recommendations The School of Interdisciplinary Science and Arts & Science are offering a suite of new interdisciplinary experiential learning course that may be offered in 1-, 2- or 3-unit modules and can be taken by a student at any stage beyond Level I. Each module will involve experiential learning or application of scientific, social science or humanities topics in a field, community, classroom or laboratory setting. Students may take more than one module offered under this course code as long as the topics are different. Module descriptions will be posted as they are offered.


  • Payment of McMaster course credit fees (i.e. tuition and supplementary fees) for ISCI 3IE courses is IN ADDITION to the module fees if applicable.
  • Even if all funds for the trip are paid, you are ineligible to participate in the module if you have not registered in the course.
  • Submission of the necessary Application and Release Form(s) must be completed prior to the start of the course.

Please direct all inquiries to .

The deadline to apply for all Fall 2018 modules is 1pm on Friday 7 September 2018. 
Applications for all modules can be accessed here: Fall 2018 3IE1 Application Form


Fall Modules

ISCI 3IE1 (C01): Grant Writing  
Instructor: TBA
Offering: Fall, 2018
Application form due date: 7 September 2018 at 1:00pm 
Proposed Schedule: TBD 

The ability to research, write and apply for grant funding is a skill that is truly interdisciplinary. Whether an individual is pursuing a career in academics, government, or private industry, proficiency in grant writing is necessary and a highly marketable asset. Students will experience the entire grant writing process, from research of potential funding sources; scripting an appropriate background, purpose, budget and timeline; to writing and submission of the finished grant application.

Grants will be sought to support, initiate or maintain community outreach initiatives dealing with issues of sustainability, local food, and food security, here at McMaster.

Examples of these initiatives include the McMaster Urban Farm, McMaster Teaching & Community Garden (MTCG), Community Permaculture Lab, McMaster Forest, and McMarsh (a reclamation project for Parking Lot M). Other project ideas can be discussed with the Instructor grant funding options.

A weekly meeting time will be determined that works for everyone’s schedule once Term starts. This meeting time will be used to discuss various aspects and purposes of writing a grant and to keep tabs on progress throughout the process. Meetings will be informal and collaborative.

ISCI 3IE1 (C02): Electronics for the Rest of Us 
Instructor: TBA
Offering: Fall, 2018
Application form due date: 7 September 2018 at 1:00pm 
Proposed Schedule:

  • November 2nd, 5:30pm – 7:30pm (Thode Makerspace)
  • November 3rd, 9:00am – 4:00pm (Thode Makerspace)

Electronic devices are a vital part of our modern lives, as they enable (or at least mediate) most of our personal and academic activities. Despite this key role, many of us have little understanding of how such devices actually work and would benefit greatly from an improved electronic fluency. In response, this course will use a collaboratory, hands-on approach to introduce students to the fundamentals of electronics.  

The development and widespread availability of inexpensive, user-friendly and well-documented electronics -- such as the Arduino -- has made learning and developing these skills accessible (and dare we say, even fun) for students of every age.  Such resources now make it possible for even the most inexperienced student to create with electronics, while simultaneously reaping the educational benefits associated with the application of logic and rules to make cool stuff. 

In this two-day (9-hour) "boot camp" experience, students will learn the basics of electronics by building simple circuits that integrate Arduino microcontrollers with various sensors and actuators. By developing software code to control the devices, participants will also gain experience with programming. Students will consolidate their learning by building a unique device capable of sensing changes in its environments and responding accordingly, as well as completing a blog post to describe their creation and reflect on their experience. 


ISCI 3IE1 (C03): Mapping Our Community  
Instructor: TBA
Offering: Fall, 2018.
Application form due date: 7 September 2018 at 1:00pm 
Proposed Schedule: TBA

Fueled by the current explosion of publically data availability is the question of how the manipulation of this newly available data can be interpreted as both a positive and negative societal development. Our focus of inquiry will be on the use of spatial data and cartography and how it can be used as a tool in effectively informing society through the visualization of complex data or to manipulate discussion through creative data management and cartographic techniques.

In this course we will explore the relationships and interactions between place and technology through the exploration of a neighborhood in Hamilton, Ontario using the concept of Public Participation Geographic Information Systems. While many of us walk through the neighbourhood of Westdale on a daily basis it is not often we stop to make observations of the space around us. In this class you will have the opportunity to not only make those observations but also build hypothesis on the classes collective observations through map making.

Over the course of the three 3-hour sessions students will not only make decisions on what data to collect but go through the process of collecting, visualizing and disseminating spatial information using proper cartographic techniques. Students will be using the program QGIS , an open source software available on all computers in the McMaster Libraries.

ISCI 3IE1 (C04): Urban Placemaking  
Offering: Fall, 2018
Application form due date: 7 September 2018 at 1:00pm 
Proposed Schedule:

  • Saturday, October 27th, 10:00 a.m.-5:00 p.m. (Location: Toronto)
  • Sunday, October 28th, 10:00 a.m.-5:00 p.m. (Location: Hamilton)
  • Wednesday, November 7th, 7:00pm-9:00 p.m. (Location: Hamilton) 

This one-unit module will explore the concept of urban placemaking, a collaborative process of animating public and private spaces to strengthen the social and cultural fabric of cities. We will look at community-driven placemaking aimed at solving local issues such as food insecurity, economic instability, and social isolation, as well as developer-led placemaking initiatives with (often controversial) goals of revitalizing entire neighbourhoods.

This is an experiential, place-based course. We will discuss urban placemaking initiatives around the world, including the Rebuild Foundation in Chicago, Project Row Houses in Houston, and Prinzessinnengarten in Berlin. We will conduct site visits of several Toronto-based projects, including Daniels Spectrum, a community cultural hub that was built as part of the Regent Park Revitalization Plan. Using these spaces as case studies, students will participate in facilitated discussions about the challenges associated with ensuring that they are vibrant, community-driven, and financially sustainable.

Attendance is required for every session of the module on both Saturday and Sunday, as well as the evening of presentations following the course.

Please note that there is an additional $15 fee for this module and students will be responsible to cover their own travel costs associated with participating in the module (e.g. GO Transit and TTC passes).

ISCI 3IE1 (C05): Leadership Development in Science
Instructor: TBA
Offering: Fall, 2018
Application form due date: 7 September 2018 at 1:00pm 

Proposed Schedule:

  • Saturday September 22nd, 9:00am – 4:00pm
  • Tuesday October 16th, 7:00pm – 9:00pm
  • Tuesday November 6th, 7:00pm – 9:00pm
  • Tuesday December 4th, 7:00pm – 9:00pm

Leadership in science can take on a variety of forms. From advancing your individual career, to the increasingly important leadership role experts play in politics and broader society. Ensuring that you have the right leadership skills is crucial to your academic and professional journey. This course will act as an experiential learning opportunity for students that want to develop and optimize their leadership and mentorship skills. Students will be exposed to a variety of workshops that will allow them to reflect on their own personal leadership style, as well as gain insights and understanding into identifying and working with the skills and styles of others. Students will also learn about emotional intelligence and unconscious bias.

ISCI 3IE1 (C06): Mischief in the Harbour : The Invasion of the Round Goby and How Can We Protect and Rehabilitate Environmentally Significant Areas
Instructor: TBA
Offering: Fall, 2018.
Application form due date: 7 September 2018 at 1:00pm 
Proposed Schedule:

  • Saturday September 15th, 9:00am – 3:00pm
  • Sunday September 16th 9:00am – 3:00pm

This course is a collaborative initiative between McMaster students, the Bay Area Restoration Council (BARC) and CityLAB Hamilton to help support the environmental priority created by Our Future Hamilton’s 25 year community vision. The aim is to provide students with field-work experience in a relevant context while helping Hamilton.

This course will meet over two consecutive (Saturday and Sunday Sept 15-16th, 2018 from 9 am – 3 pm) days for field work at LaSalle Park in Burlington (transportation will be included). There will be an online component with readings to be completed before the course and a summative assignment conceptualizing a project to help rehabilitate an area of Hamilton Harbour.

Contact iSci

H.G. Thode Library, 306
McMaster University
1280 Main Street West Hamilton ON L8N 3Z5