Delivering Excellence in Lifelong Learning

General FAQ's


General FAQ's 

  • All students must enrol for Continuing Education programs using the course selection tool on our website by selecting "enrol today".

    Watch the video below for a walk-through.

    If you are a current student or have ever been a McMaster student or employee, the easiest way to log in is to use your MacID (e.g. smithj) and password.

    If you do not know your MacID, you can use your student or employee number, and after providing additional information you can access the system.

    If you have never been a student or employee you can create a new account.

    For more information on this process, watch this short video:

  • We highly recommend students enrol well before the course start date for all courses to secure their spot and ensure timely access to the course and any required textbooks. Online registration deadlines are as follows:

    *MCE has implemented a late registration allowance for all course formats that run at least 11 weeks.  MCE will permit enrolment up until 2 weeks after the course start date.  Example: Course start date September 15, 2021; enrolment deadline September 29, 2021, 11:59pm EST. Please note registering after the course start date may delay course access and does not permit exceptions to coursework due dates, late textbook purchases, or the refund policy.  Some exceptions may apply. Late enrolment is not permitted in courses that are 10 weeks or less.  

    • Virtual Classroom (VC) Essentials workshops permit enrolment up until three days prior to the start date (unless otherwise indicated). Example: Start date September 14, enrolment deadline September 11, 11:59pm EST

    Deadlines vary for professional development courses and condensed/fast-track courses.

    Once enrolment closes, or courses are full, no further enrolments will be accepted. Please note enrolling after the course start date may delay course access and does not permit exceptions to coursework due dates, late textbook purchases, or the refund policy

  • In-person classes are held at One James North, (1 James St. North, Hamilton, Ontario) unless otherwise stated. Classrooms are located on the 1st and 2nd floors of the building. You can enter your classroom 30 minutes before start of class. Room numbers for each course are listed on video monitors throughout the building.

    Note: Some programs, such as Lean Six Sigma and Agile Project Management are delivered in alternative locations. This information will be listed in our Course Selection Tool. Information on location can be found on our Maps and Directions page

  • Your course outline will indicate if any textbooks or course materials are required.

    Course materials can be purchased at the Campus Store (main campus) or online.

  • Mosaic is McMaster's administrative information system, which includes finance, human resources and student administration components.

    The student administration components encompass Student Admissions, Academic Advisement, and some Registrar's Office Services.

    Highlights of options/services available in the Mosaic Student Center:

    • - grade report;
    • - personal timetable;
    • - academic information;
    • - degree audit reporting (now called "Academic Advisement");
    • - personal and academic records;
    • - tax certificates T2202A;
    • - personal information;
    • - mailing addresses;
    • - email addresses;
    • - emergency contact information.

    Log in using your Mac ID and password.


  • Your Mac ID is a unique, common identifier enabling single sign-on for a number of McMaster systems and applications (including registering online for Continuing Education courses). Your Mac ID is not your McMaster employee or student number. It often looks like a combination of your last name and first initial (e.g. smithj) and is normally the username part of your McMaster email address.

    To activate your Mac ID, you will need your student number, barcode and date of birth. First time students will receive their barcode number and student number via email from the University immediately upon enrolling in their first course.

    Follow the step-by-step instructions outlined in the email and be certain to make sure your password meets the designated criteria. If you have questions, please call us at (905) 525-9140 ext. 24321.

  • Student cards will be issued to new Continuing Education students on a request basis only – they will not be automatically mailed to new students.  If you wish to receive a student card, please complete this form and follow the steps here. Student cards can be used at McMaster libraries. Students cards are not issued for students taking the following programs: Short Courses, Infection Prevention and Control of Caregivers and Families and Caregiving Essentials.

    Term validation stickers will no longer be issued.

    Questions? Contact student services via the online chat that can be found on the registrar’s web page.

  • Occasionally an individual class session may be cancelled due to unforeseen circumstances (e.g. weather, instructor illness). McMaster Continuing Education will make every effort to notify affected students of any class cancellations.

  • Absolutely. McMaster’s Student Accessibility Services (SAS) supports students who have been diagnosed with a disability or disorder, such as a learning disability, ADHD, mental health diagnosis, chronic medical condition, sensory, neurological or mobility limitation. Students in need of accommodations are required to register with SAS before commencing a program or course.

    Questions about accommodations can be directed to the SAS office at 905-525-9140 x 28652 or

  • Avenue to Learn (A2L) is McMaster's online learning management system. This is where online courses take place. The system is also used by some in-person classes for readings and assignments. Visit to log in with your Mac ID.

    Avenue to Learn is McMaster’s branded version of Desire to Learn’s learning management system called Brightspace. The following video tutorials have been created by Desire to Learn to demonstrate how to navigate common tools in Avenue to Learn (Brightspace):

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Program Planning

  • McMaster’s Student Accessibility Services (SAS) supports students who have been diagnosed with a disability or disorder, such as a learning disability, ADHD, mental health diagnosis, chronic medical condition, sensory, neurological or mobility limitation. Students in need of accommodations are required to register with SAS before commencing a program or course.

    Questions about accommodations can be directed to the SAS office at 905-525-9140 x 28652 or

  • Diplomas require a minimum of 24 units of study, which include core compulsory courses (8 courses or more). Certificates require a minimum of 15 units of study (5 courses or more). Both the Certificate of Completion and Certificate of Professional Learning require 9 units of study (3 courses), however, the Certificate of Professional Learning will appear on your academic transcript, whereas the Certificate of Completion will not. Some programs require completion of a group of core courses, but other programs allow certificate students to select their courses from any on the list to meet their specific learning needs. Please refer to your course materials to see which applies.

  • Note: Not every program has a certificate and diploma stream.
    If your program has different stream options, it may be possible to switch between the two programs. In most cases, if you have already completed the certificate, you will need to choose the diploma program when you enrol in your next course. If the certificate is not yet complete, you can request a program transfer from the Program Manager.

    As per McMaster University Senate policy (May 2017), a course can be used no more than two times towards a McMaster University credential. At McMaster, the term credential refers to a Certificate, Certificate of Completion, Certificate of Professional Learning, Diploma, MyOWNMcMaster milestone, and an undergraduate degree. If you require more information, please be sure to contact us.

  • This is an individual decision. Some students enrol in one class per term, some enrol in more. Regardless of a student’s coursework load, the program is defined as a part-time program of study.

    Cohort programs:

    Students in a cohort begin their studies at the same time and progress
    through the program together following a prescribed order and schedule
    of classes, normally one per term. The following programs use a cohort format:

    - Health Informatics (September start)
    - Health Information Management
    (September start)
    - Metallurgy
    (September start + January start)

  • Accounting Program

    No. Students are required to meet course prerequisites, at the time of registration. Enrolment in any of the accounting courses is open to students who have satisfied any/all posted course prerequisites or equivalencies. Students are not permitted to register/start a course that has a prerequisite, without first completing all course activities, assignments and sitting the final examination of any/all posted prerequisites courses. Students who do not meet the prerequisites will be required to withdraw. In such cases, withdrawal/refund policies will apply.

  • This applies to in-person and virtual offerings only.
    Registration in 2 or more in-class courses that are scheduled simultaneously (i.e. same day/time) is prohibited.

  • For most programs, there is no requirement to complete the program once started. Students may take select courses that fulfill their individual needs or interests.

    Health Informatics, Health Information Management
    We suggest you send an email to the program account (, or and indicate which courses you are interested in completing.  You may be asked to pay the application fee or new student fee if permission is granted.

  • All programs offered by McMaster University Centre for Continuing Education are part-time programs, which means the workload and scheduling is designed for you to meet your professional, personal and academic obligations. On average, we suggest you budget between 6-10 hours per week for your coursework. Of course, this varies depending on the amount of content presented, or when assignments are due. It is important to remember that the courses are valued at a university undergraduate level; Therefore, the workload expectations will correspond to a university level of study.

    Fast-track/accelerated courses condense course material into a shorter timeframe. Students should budget additional hours per week when completing a full course in a condensed number of weeks (in person or online).

  • All of our programs are considered part-time. For cohort programs, students progress through the courses at a set pace. For non-cohort programs, students can complete courses at their own pace, subject to course availability and so long as any posted prerequisites are satisfied.

    The timeframes provided are only estimates. Individuals should gauge other time commitments to determine a realistic completion target.

    Accounting: There is no specified time frame within which students pursuing the Diploma in Accounting or the Certificate in Accounting must complete the requirements; however, on average, students typically complete the program requirements within 2 to 4 years. A fast-track option is available to finish within 12 months (September start, Hamilton location).

    Addiction Education: Students who work on several courses each semester tend to finish the diploma within 14 – 18 months.  Other students choose to work on the program at a more relaxed pace, and may even take a year off at some points. There is no time limit on the completion of either program (Diploma or Certificate).

    Business Administration: It is possible to complete the Certificate in less than eight months, but some students prefer to take more time. It is possible to complete the Diploma in less than a year, but some students prefer to take more time.

    Health Informatics, Health Information Management: These programs take approximately 2 years to complete. 

    Health Information Systems: This program takes approximately 9 months to complete.

    Human Resources Management: It is possible to complete the diploma in less than a year, but some students prefer to take more time.

    Marketing Diploma:
    It is possible to complete the diploma in less than a year, but some students prefer to take more time. 

    Metallurgy of Iron and Steel: This program takes approximately 2 years to complete. 

    Web Design Certificate: It is possible to complete the certificate in less than a year, but some students prefer to take more time. A typical student will take five terms, or 20 months, to complete.

  • Upon notification of your request to stop your studies, or to take a break from the cohort schedule, the program manager will contact you with options.  You may be permitted to rejoin your cohort and pick up the missed class with the next cohort group (pending course pre-requisites).  Grades from a completed course will remain on your official academic transcript and you will not need to retake a successfully completed course in the next cohort offering.  You may be asked to retake a previously completed course if the content of the course has changed since the time of your course completion.  

  • If all program requirements are offered in the online or online self-study format, there is no need to come to McMaster at any time, with the possible exception of exams.

    If the course includes an exam, and you live within 40 kilometers of Hamilton, you will be required to come to McMaster to write the exam. If you live outside of that range, you can arrange to have a proctored exam written in a pre-approved location.

    Students are responsible for any proctoring/mailing fees that the offsite testing centre may charge.

  • Units define the number of academic credits associated with a course. Units are assigned by the University based on course content and hours of instruction. Centre for Continuing Education courses range from one to three units with most being three units. A three-unit course is equivalent to a half-year undergraduate course.

  • In accordance to McMaster University’s General Academic Regulations, “it is imperative that students make every effort to meet the originally scheduled course requirements and it is a student’s responsibility to write examinations as scheduled.” Therefore, all students are expected to attend and complete the specific course requirements (i.e. attendance, assignments, and tests/exams) listed in the course outline on or by the date specified.

    Students who need to arrange for coursework accommodation, as a result of medical, personal or family reasons, must contact the course instructor within 48 hours of the originally scheduled due date.

    It is the student’s responsibility to contact the Program Manager/Program Associate to discuss accommodations and procedures related to deferred tests and/or examinations within 48 hours of the originally scheduled test/exam, as per policy. A deferred exam fee of $50 will be charged. The student must contact the Centre for Continuing Education to arrange payment. 

    Failure to contact the course instructor, in the case of missed coursework, or the Program Manager/Program Associate, in the case of a missed test/examination, within the specified 48 hours window will result in a grade of zero (0) on the coursework/exam and no further consideration will be granted.

    *Note: Supporting documentation will be required but will not ensure approval of accommodation(s).

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