Delivering Excellence in Lifelong Learning
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McMaster University

Continuing Education

Here when you need us

Future Students


Before you go back to school, it's important to do your homework.

Whether you want to take your existing career to the next level, start a brand new career or learn for the sake of personal growth, it’s important to understand what’s involved when you go back to school.

Here are 5 of the top questions we're asked by prospective students:

Can anyone take a course, or do I have to apply and be accepted?

Most courses offered by McMaster University Centre for Continuing Education are open enrolment and don’t require an application. Check our program listing to see what’s required for your program of interest, or read the “Applications” section of our "Before enrolling" page.

Should I take my course online or in person?  What’s the difference? 

Online courses are becoming the most popular way for McMaster Continuing Education students to study. They work with your schedule, offering the flexibility to complete coursework at your own pace. Wherever you can access the internet, you can complete an online course. 

Alternatively, taking a class in person gives you the opportunity to collaborate with classmates and your instructor in a real-time setting. Most in-person courses run at our downtown Hamilton location.

To find out which learning formats are offered in each program, click on the formats link in the left-hand column of every program page.

What are the costs associated with going back to school? Do you offer financial support?

Course fees vary by program. Please view the Schedules & Fees link on your program page for specific course fees. Textbooks and course materials are additional costs. 

To learn more about the fees associated with returning to school please review the Financial FAQ page.

If you require assistance in funding your studies, there are several options available such as bursaries from the part-time student association. Refer to the Financial FAQ page for more information.

Will I need textbooks? Where can I purchase them?

Depending on your individual course requirements, you may need to buy textbooks or course materials may be provided in class. A few weeks before the class starts, you will need to check the campus store website. Enter your course number and the required materials will be listed. You can purchase them at the Campus Store (McMaster University main campus) or online. 

Read more about course materials.

How many hours per week will I need to dedicate to school?

All programs offered are part-time, which means that the workload and scheduling are designed for you to meet your professional, personal and academic obligations.

On average, we suggest that you budget between 6-10 hours per week per course for your school work. Of course, this number varies depending on the course and when assignments are due.​ In fast-track and condensed courses, workload will be higher per week and the course will be completed in fewer weeks.