Sep 19, 2021  
Undergraduate Calendar 2018-2019 
Undergraduate Calendar 2018-2019 [-ARCHIVED CALENDAR-]

Bachelor of Health Sciences (Honours) Program

Michael G. DeGroote Centre for Learning and Discovery, Room 3300, ext. 22815


S.A. Ritz, B.Sc. (Hons), M.Ed., Ph.D.


T. M. Basilio

Program Overview

This program, first offered in September 2000, is an innovative interdisciplinary program in which students take responsibility for their learning and in which there is recognition that both the knowledge and skill sets developed by students are integral parts of preparing for either further study or entry into the workforce. The principles of independent learning and an emphasis on both content and process are central to the provision of education within the Faculty of Health Sciences, and are reflected in this program. In addition, this program reflects the established tradition within the Faculty of understanding health from biological, behavioural and population-based perspectives. The program will draw on individuals from within the Faculty of Health Sciences and the larger university community to provide students with exposure to basic and applied researchers as well as health care practitioners, enabling students to learn about and experience the study of health from these various perspectives. The program will utilize both a small group, inquiry based format as well as traditional lecture, lab, and tutorial based teaching formats to provide students with a solid knowledge base in health related sciences as well as the skills necessary to critically evaluate and synthesize health related information.

The program is designed to emphasize flexibility, recognizing that students may use this program to prepare for a variety of post graduate options including graduate work in medical sciences, professional schools and entry into the workforce. Beyond the first year students may select to focus on one perspective of health and develop relative expertise in this area, while other students may find that their needs are better met by pursuing a broader based program of study through their senior years.

The program begins in Level I and leads to the degree Bachelor of Health Sciences (Honours) upon successful completion of Level IV. The four-level program offers opportunity for specialization through electives and through individual study or thesis courses.


The BHSc (Honours) Program offers a
number of specializations to allow students to pursue a focused area of study on a particular topic. At the present time, we are offering two specializations for entry in Level II in Biomedical Sciences and Child
Health. A Level III entry for the Global Health Specialization is available in 2018/2019 only as we transition to a new curriculum structure for global health in collaboration with the Interdisciplinary Minor in Globalization Studies. Specialization offerings are reviewed regularly to ensure the student and program needs continue to be met, and may be revised or phased out.

Biomedical Sciences Specialization

The Biomedical Sciences Specialization will provide students with the option of concentrating their studies in biomedical science and research, building on the existing principles of excellence in the BHSc (Honours) program by addressing fundamental concepts and opportunities to develop knowledge and skills appropriate for biomedical research. This course of study will emphasize content in the biomedical sciences, along with the development of essential skills in problem-solving, critical thinking, scientific reasoning and logic, experimental design, and working independently and in teams. These transferable skills and principles in biomedical sciences will prepare students for a future in graduate-level research, industry, or professional school. Upon acceptance into the B.H.Sc. (Honours) program and the completion of Level I, students will apply to this specialization in March.

Global Health Specialization

Understanding the complex web of relationships and interactions in global health requires an interdisciplinary academic experience. The curriculum in global health in the Bachelor of Health Sciences (Honours) Program provides students with an environment that incorporates insight from the traditional academic fields of anthropology, philosophy, ethics and law, while drawing heavily on the expertise present within the Faculty of Health Sciences in the domains of biostatistics & epidemiology, health economics & policy, molecular medicine & pathology, and health research methodology while simultaneously exploring personal developmental and an academic skill set necessary for the role as contributors to global health issues. In collaboration with the Faculty of Social Sciences and the Institute for Globalization and the Human Condition, the Global Health curriculum in the BHSc (Honours) Program is evolving, and starting in the 2018-19 academic year, students interested in focusing their studies around Global Health topics can pursue global health curriculum as part of the Interdisciplinary Minor in Globalization Studies, choosing courses from the theme list in Globalization & Health. A modified form of the Global Health Specialization is available to Level III BHSc (Honours) Program students for entry in the 2018/19 academic year only.

Child Health Specialization

The Child Health Specialization offers students a unique opportunity to apply the Inquiry problem-based learning model within the dynamic context of child health, development and community involvement.

The Child Health Specialization curriculum based on three thematic pillars - education, research, and experiential/community learning -cuts across academic disciplines related to child health such as paediatrics, psychiatry, psychology, social work, developmental rehabilitation, education, etc.

The Child Health Specialization utilizes existing expertise within the McMaster University and Hamilton communities; by doing so it allows for the integration of theory and knowledge with experiential learning and research skill development within the challenging context of child health. World-renowned teachers/facilitators, researchers and clinicians from across disciplines serve as supervisors/mentors for students with an interest in child health.

Upon acceptance into the B.H.Sc. (Honours) program and the completion of Level I, students will apply to this specialization in March.

Program Goals

The overall goal of the program is to educate students in such a way that upon graduation students have a firm foundation in the health sciences, and the skills necessary to learn and adapt in subsequent educational or occupational environments.


To acquire a broad knowledge base that reflects the Faculty’s commitment to studying health from biological, behavioural and population-based perspectives. This should include an understanding of the structure, function and behaviour of the human body, the environmental determinants of health and the ways that these factors interact to result in disease or illness.


To acquire and apply the following skills as a student and member of society:

  1. Self directed learning skills: The ability to identify gaps in one’s own knowledge that prevent solving a problem, to formulate a plan that uses appropriate educational resources, and to obtain and synthesize the information needed to solve that problem.
  2. Critical thinking skills: The ability to evaluate the merit of information obtained in various ways and to present information in a way that shows evidence of a critical, reflective approach to information and problems.
  3. Synthesizing skills: The ability to understand that most problems can be analyzed from a number of perspectives, to identify these perspectives and to formulate solutions that are comprehensive and adequate reflections of various levels of analysis.
  4. Communication skills: The ability to communicate an issue in oral and written form, both effectively and concisely.

Personal Qualities

Individuals who successfully complete this program should be prepared to accept responsibility for a life-long process of learning and personal and professional growth. They should respect the various approaches to the study of health, and the beliefs associated with these studies, and should be open to new ways of learning and understanding. They should understand that health care is a collaborative process and be capable of working collegially with others, while being prepared to contribute to the well-being of those around them.

Admission Procedures and Requirements

Please note that the admission policy may be reviewed annually and the admission requirements may be changed in future years. As places in this program are limited, the admission process is competitive. Possession of the minimum requirements does not guarantee admission to the program.

Application to the B.H.Sc. (Honours) Program of the Faculty of Health Sciences implies acceptance of the admission policies, procedures and methods by which applicants are chosen.

Admission Procedures

Applicants From Ontario Secondary Schools

Applicants currently completing Grade 12 U or M courses apply through the:

Ontario Universities’ Application Centre (OUAC)
170 Research Lane
Guelph, ON, N1G 5E2

Applicants to BHSc (Honours) Level 1 must apply to OUAC by the specified deadline date. Secondary schools will forward mid-term and final transcripts directly to OUAC in support of applications.

Applicants are required to complete a mandatory Supplementary Application Form on-line by the specified deadline date. Supplementary Application details will be posted on the program website at:

Applicants With Qualifications Equivalent to Ontario Secondary School

Applicants from other provinces should contact the Ontario Universities’ Application Centre (OUAC) for an application package for admission consideration. Please refer to the OUAC address above. Applicants must also have their official transcripts forwarded to:

Office of the Registrar, Admissions
McMaster University Gilmour Hall Room 108
1280 Main Street West
Hamilton, Ontario, L8S 4L8

Applicants are also required to complete a mandatory Supplementary Application Form on-line by the specified deadline date. Supplementary Application details will be posted on the program website at:

Applicants from other countries should contact the Office of International Affairs at or (905) 525-9140, ext 24211 for details.

Transfer Applicants

Transfer applicants from McMaster University are required to complete a Program Application for Current Level I Students on-line via MOSAIC during March to April and a mandatory Supplementary Application on-line by the specified deadline date. Level 2 transfer applicants must apply for BHSc (Honours) in MOSAIC, not a sub-plan (for example; specialization). Applicants who apply for a sub-plan will not be reviewed for BHSc (Honours) and will be considered ineligible for this program. Applicants who receive and accept the admission offer and express their interest in a specialization, may be considered for a specialization if they are eligible and if space permits. Supplementary Application details will be posted on the program website at:

Applicants from other post-secondary institutions are required to apply through the Ontario Universities’ Application Centre (OUAC) (please refer to the OUAC address above) by April 1st and complete a mandatory Supplementary Application by the specified deadline date. Supplementary Application details will be posted on the program website at:

Second Degree Applicants

Applicants who have completed a University undergraduate degree or have completed more than one year of University undergraduate studies are ineligible to apply to the B.H.Sc. (Honours) Program.

Biomedical Sciences Specialization

Students registered in Health Sciences I who are interested in this specialization will apply during March to April via MOSAIC by completing the Program Application for Current Level I Students. Enrolment is limited to approximately 20 students entering in Level II.

Global Health Specialization

The Global Health Specialization has been restructured in collaboration with the Interdisciplinary Minor in Globalization Studies to create a Theme in Globalization & Health. In 2018-19 there will be a one-time intake of Level III students into a modified version of the specialization. Students registered in Health Sciences II who are interested in this specialization will apply during March and April via MOSAIC by completing the Application for Level II Admission. Enrolment is limited to approximately 20 students entering in Level III. Level I and II students interested in pursuing a focus in global health can pursue the Interdisciplinary Minor in Globalization Studies with a focus on globalization and health.

Child Health Specialization

Students registered in Health Sciences I who are interested in this specialization will apply during March to April via MOSAIC by completing the Program Application for Current Level I Students. Applicants may be asked to submit a statement of interest and may be interviewed. Enrolment is limited to approximately 30 students entering in Level II.

Admission Requirements

Applicants From Ontario Secondary Schools

The selection method for Ontario Secondary School applicants is by academic qualifications and a mandatory Supplementary Application. The majority of Level I offers of admission are made in early May. A minimum of 90% is required for consideration. In early May, the following grade information will be used: Semester schools: all final Grade 12 U and/or M courses from first semester or prior years, and second semester mid-term grades for Grade 12 U and/or M courses.

Non-semester schools: second term grades for full-year Grade 12 U and/or M courses. Offers based on interim and/or mid-term grades will be conditional upon maintaining satisfactory performance on final grades. Supplementary Applications are to be submitted electronically via the web at: A review of the mandatory Supplementary Application is a very important component of the admission selection process. Applicants who do not complete the Supplementary Application are not considered for admission.


The following are the minimum Grade 12 U and/or M requirements under the Ontario Secondary School curriculum:

  1. English U;
  2. Biology U;
  3. Chemistry U;
  4. one of Advanced Functions U, Calculus and Vectors U or Mathematics of Data Management U. For those applicants who present with more than one of these Mathematics courses, the highest grade on the transcript at the time of review will be used to calculate the admission average;
  5. One U or M non-math/non-science (note: courses in technological education, science or mathematics are not acceptable);
  6. One additional U or M course in any other subject area to total six courses.
Applicants With Qualifications Equivalent to Ontario Secondary School

Applicants from other provinces and countries must achieve the equivalent to the qualifications listed in the Grade 12 U or M course requirements in their secondary school graduation year.

Transfer Applicants

Transfer applicants will be admitted to the B.H.Sc. (Honours) Program from other programs at McMaster and from other post-secondary institutions. The process will be competitive and will be based on the student’s academic qualifications and a Supplementary Application. Enrolment is limited. Students interested in being considered for admission to Level II of the B.H.Sc. (Honours) Program must have completed the equivalent of six units of university Level I Biology and six units of university Level I Chemistry. A Grade Point Average of at least 10.0 (minimum overall average of A-) will be required for admission consideration. Transfer applicants who receive an admission offer to BHSc (Honours) and express an interest in a BHSc Specialization (Biomedical Sciences, Child Health or Global Health) may be considered on a case by case basis if space permits. However, there is no guarantee that space will be available in the specialization. In this case, Level 2 transfer students are admitted to the BHSc (Honours), regular program.


B.H.Sc. (Honours) students are eligible to apply for one of the following bursaries provided they are Canadian citizens and demonstrate financial need. Applications are available in Mosaic each Fall. The following bursaries have been generously donated to assist Bachelor of Health Sciences (Honours) students in financial need:

  • Ruth Murray Memorial B.H.Sc. Bursary
  • Loucks Family and Friends B.H.Sc. Bursary
  • Ron and Gina Fraser Health Sciences Bursary

For further information about bursaries, please refer to the Financial Aid & Scholarships website.

Academic Regulations

Student Academic Responsibility

You are responsible for adhering to the statement on student academic responsibility found in the General Academic Regulations  of this calendar.

Access to Courses

All undergraduate courses at McMaster have an enrolment capacity. The University is committed to making every effort to accommodate students in required courses so that their program of study is not extended. Unless otherwise specified, registration is on a first-come basis and in some cases priority is given to students from particular programs or Faculties. Students will be informed of their enrolment periods and are encouraged to enroll as soon as online enrolment is available to them in the Student Centre in Mosaic.

In addition to the regulations in the General Academic Regulations section of this Calendar, the following Program regulations apply.


This information is directed to B.H.Sc. students who are interested in completing a minor in another subject area. A minor is not available in the B.H.Sc. (Honours) Program.

A Minor is an option available to a student enrolled in a four- or five-level program. A Minor consists of a minimum of 24 units in the Minor subject. No more than six of these units can be at Level I, unless otherwise stated in the specific requirements of the Minor. A student is responsible for registering for courses to be applied towards a Minor using elective units only. In the case of cross-listed courses, students must ensure that they register in the appropriate subject for the Minor designation. Those who have the necessary requirements may apply for recognition of that Minor when they graduate. If recognition for a Minor is granted, this recognition will be recorded on the student’s transcript. Minors cannot be revoked once approved. Students may return for a second degree in the subject in which they have obtained a Minor, but only at the Honours level. For further information please refer to Minors  in the General Academic Regulations  section in this Calendar.

Continuation in the Program

Students who have a minimum GPA of 6.0 may continue in the program.

If a GPA of 3.0 to 5.9 is obtained a student may remain in the program but will be placed on program probation for one reviewing period. A student may be on program probation only once.

Students previously on program probation who achieve a GPA between 3.0 and 5.4, may transfer to the B.H.Sc. General Program and, with permission, take B.H.Sc. required courses (for which all course prerequisites have been met). Students in this situation must attend a mandatory preregistration academic advising session in the BHSc Program office. Students who, at next review, achieve a GPA of at least 5.5 may transfer to the B.H.Sc. (Honours) program. Students who fail to meet the minimum requirements for transfer to B.H.Sc. (Honours) by the end of 90 units, must transfer to a non-BHSc program for which he/she qualifies or graduate with a B.H.Sc. three year degree provided a minimum 3.5 GPA is achieved and all program requirements have been met.

Students whose GPA is less than 3.0 at any academic review may not continue at the University.

Letters of Permission

Students enrolled in the B.H.Sc. (Honours) Program may apply to take courses at another university on a Letter of Permission via MOSAIC. Students must achieve a grade of at least C- to receive credit.

Students are responsible to forward the transcript from the other university directly to the Assistant Dean (MDCL-3308). If a grade of C- or better is attained, the transcript designation reads T indicating transfer credit, or NC indicating not complete if less than a C- grade is attained.

Courses taken at another university cannot be used to satisfy the university’s minimum residence requirements, will not be included in the calculation of the Cumulative or Fall/Winter Averages, and therefore cannot be used to raise standing. Students may take up to six units of courses towards a Minor on a Letter of Permission.

Students must be in good standing to be eligible to take courses on a Letter of Permission.

Level of Registration

A student with six or more units incomplete at any level may proceed to the next level of the program only with the permission of the B.H.Sc. (Honours) Program Office.

Reinstatement to the B.H. Sc. (Honours) Program

A student who may Not Continue at the University may apply for reinstatement. Students seeking reinstatement should complete the Reinstatement Request Form available at the Office of the Registrar (Gilmour Hall, Room 108). The completed form and the $100 fee must be submitted to the Office of the Registrar by July 15 for September entry and November 30 for January entry.

The form should explain the reasons for the student’s inadequate performance, corroborated by two letters of support, and should also include relevant documentary evidence such as, for example, a physician’s letter documenting an illness that may have impacted upon the student’s prior academic performance. Reinstatement cases will be carefully screened and the evidence considered will include the student’s academic performance before and following admission to McMaster, as well as the nature of the reasons cited in the letter, the letters of support and the accompanying documentation. Reinstatement is not guaranteed.

If students are reinstated to the University, their Grade Point Average will be re-set to 0.0 on zero units, although students may, at the discretion of the Faculty, retain credit for prior work. Following reinstatement, students will be on academic probation and must complete a minimum of 60 units of work after reinstatement to be eligible for graduation with Distinction or other recognition based on the Grade Point Average. If at any review after reinstatement the student’s Grade Point Average falls below 3.5, the student will be required to withdraw from the University for a period of at least 12 months.

Registration and Course Changes

It is the responsibility of the student to ensure that the program of work undertaken meets the requirements for the degree. It is highly recommended that you review your advisement report in MOSAIC each time you drop or add courses and seek academic counselling from the B.H.Sc. (Honours) Program Office if you have any questions. Dates for final registration and course changes appear in the Sessional Dates  section of this Calendar and are enforced.

Academic Counselling

Academic counselling is available throughout the year from the B.H.Sc. (Honours) Program Office. It is recommended that students make an appointment with an advisor from the program office if they have any questions.


A GPA of 5.0 is required for graduation.

Students who successfully complete Level III of the program may request permission from the B.H.Sc. (Honours) Program Office to graduate with a three-level B.H.Sc. degree. Please refer to the General Academic Regulations  section in this Calendar for additional information related to graduation.


    Bachelor of Health Sciences (Honours)