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Thiffya



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Join date : 2010-05-07

PostSubject: Questions !   Sat May 08, 2010 8:12 pm

Hi, I've been offered admission to the iSci program and I would like to ask some questions prior to making my decision. I was not able to attend the information session, so hopefully I can get my questions answered through this forum.

- What are possible careers/job opportunities this program would provide after completion of the program?

- What degree(s) does this program provide you with upon graduation?

- On the forums, I noticed the repeated comments concerning the heavy work load for this program, so in comparison to other programs, how much more difficult would iSci be considered? I'm also interested in estimates of the average amount of time spent studying in relation to the amount of free time remaining weekly, as students in this program

- In addition, I noticed a few comments about this program being "unsafe", or rather risky (in terms of the probability of success), because it is a new program. As current students, what are your views on this comment?

- I know that this program does not have co-op, but are there any possible relevant internships?

- Lastly, out of curiousity, is it possible to know the number of applicants this program recieved and how many have been offered admission?


Thank you for your time and have a great weekend,
-Thiffya. T
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Scot Brown

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PostSubject: Re: Questions !   Sat May 08, 2010 9:36 pm

upon completion of iSci, you would be able to do anything in academic science related to your specialization or minor, teach, go into medicine, scientific writing and journalism, patent law as related to the sciences, non-academic science (i.e. government research and/or policy) and more (if i missed anything please add on). the possible concentrations are: Mathematics, Physics, Chemistry, Biology, Earth Sciences, Medical Radiation Sciences, Chemical Biology, Biochemistry, and Psychology, Neuroscience and Behaviour (or PNB). the possible minors are the areas of concentration plus Origins.

iSci provides you with an Honours BSc in integrated science, with a concentration in (your concentration) and/or a minor in your selected minor. keep in mind that if you concentrate in an area it is as if you have a BSc in that area(I am 99% sure), which is very convenient. iSci does its best to keep you (at the least) on par with other science students.

it is quite difficult because you are doing every subject at once and more. I can tell you that it is more difficult than a regular BSc first year (cant say more than first year, all i've done), but I cannot say to what degree.

with regards to iSci being "unsafe", it is because the first cohort has not graduated yet. iSci's development is taking place while you are in it which can be unsettling for some, but it causes your feedback to be valued more than it would be in other programs. because iSci is new, as the second cohort you guys will be forming it as much as we did. as you can see this has advantages as well as disadvantages, and for me the benefits outweighed the uncertainty.

unfortunately I am not sure if internships are offered, but students do have summer research placements across campus. that would be a question for Carolyn Eyles, the program director.

I do not know how many applications were recieved, but I believe over 600 were considered. out of those considered iTeach is trying to get 48 students for the second cohort after turned down offers, but I am not sure how many offers were actually sent out.

If you have anymore questions, feel free to post again or e-mail carolyn (I believe her e-mail address is on the iSci website www.science.mcmaster.ca/isci/)
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Adam Pantaleo



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PostSubject: Re: Questions !   Sat May 08, 2010 10:34 pm

Hi Thiffya,

I just thought I'd say something about the workload. In my opinion, iSci does involve much more work that most other first-year programs, and you will probably have less free time than other first-years. However, I think it also depends on two other things.

One is your learning style. Some people have the ability to learn very fast, while other people need to spend hours studying, reviewing, doing practice problems, etc. I happen to be a rather slow learner, and accordingly, I need to spend quite a bit of time studying in order to learn effectively. You can't really control how you learn; you just need to know what works best for you.

The other, and perhaps more important, is exactly how much you want to get out of iSci. By this, I mean, "how much time do you want to spend learning about science, solving problems, and trying new things?" You can spend almost all of your time on iSci: really get into the projects, put in a lot of effort, truly explore what you are learning, above and beyond of what is required. If you do this, you'll find you have very, very little free time, but you'll learn a lot. Of course, you don't have to do this if you don't want to. It's easy to find free time - you just need to balance it with your academics.

Ultimately, it's up to you. I can't say what's best. Everyone is different. I believe that you get what you put in - the more effort you put into iSci, the more you'll get out of it, in terms of new knowledge, new experiences, and new ideas.

To sum up, you'll have free time, as long as you make a point to make time. Ultimately, though, iSci does take a lot of effort. But it's not all about the stress... you're guaranteed to have fun too!

If you have any more questions, feel free to post them! And that goes for all potential/confirmed iSci students. I'd be happy to help, and I'm sure my classmates would be too.
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Prateek Gupta
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PostSubject: Re: Questions !   Sat May 08, 2010 11:49 pm

Hey, thanks for your questions! Scot and Adam did a great job in answering them.

Just to add on, I never understand why people think the program is unsafe or risky.

When it comes to academic success, if you're a hard, creative, smart worker, you will find success in the program, and you will find that A grades (80+) are very possible. When it comes to being 'unsafe,' the entire program is about opening doors - not closing them - and it provides students with endless opportunities in all facets of science from research, to graduate school, to professional school, to possible government and industry jobs.

Of course it was a risk the first year for us first year students, because we experienced it as a new program. But we can say safely that we were the 'guinea pigs,' we took that risk in an entirely new program, and we're for the most part totally happy with the decision we made. So hopefully we took some of the riskiness away from you guys. As Scot said, don't see it as a risk or an uncertain decision, as there is more than enough information to assess the pros and cons if you ask for it (feel free to e-mail profs, as they will give you lots of relevant info).

Thanks! And I hope you have a fun time making your decision!

Also just as a note, Scot left out "geography" as one of the possible concentrations (though I don't think anyone from the first iSci cohort is pursuing that option)
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Woot
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PostSubject: Re: Questions !   Mon May 10, 2010 5:09 pm

hey I was just wondering how concentration work? =P Do you need to compete against other iSci in order to get into the concentration you want? or is it free for all iSci?
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not a person



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Join date : 2010-01-12
Age : 24

PostSubject: Re: Questions !   Mon May 10, 2010 6:20 pm

Hi Woot!
you won't really need to worry about a concentration until the end of first year, but the way it works is that you get to choose up to four that you would like to consider pursuing (many people are quite torn and have trouble narrowing it down to 4). Then in June, you officially select one of them. This means that you have to use some of your electives in years 2, 3, and 4 to take courses specific to your concentration. For instance, I plan to do a concentration in biology, so next year I will take Isci, as well as a genetics class and one of three organic chemistry courses. I will then have two more slots to take whatever I want. As long as you have the required courses, it is possible to switch concentrations, so some students are taking the courses necessary for 2 or more concentrations if they can't make up their mind (possibly through summer school). Because the courses that are required for concentrations are very large courses, there is no competition. However, it's up to us to get into those required courses, so if we leave it to the last minute when the course is full, that's our problem. When it comes time to do thesis work in 4th year, their may be some competition with other isci students or possibly students from other departments, but it's hard to say because nobody's gotten that far yet. In any case, isci students have a dedicated team of faculty who make sure we will get what we want, so I'm not too worried about any competition.
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Prateek Gupta
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PostSubject: Re: Questions !   Tue May 11, 2010 10:54 am

hey, for concentration info check out: http://www.science.mcmaster.ca/isci/registered-students/concentrations

Also concentrations are optional. Alternatively, you can take a variety of electives or work towards a minor (in say something like sociology or French)
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Ryan Hopkins



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Join date : 2010-03-19
Age : 25
Location : Burlington, Ontario

PostSubject: Re: Questions !   Tue May 11, 2010 12:56 pm

Hey! Just a very quick question: a minor in Origins is possible?!?!?! I thought it looked really cool Razz...you pick that in second year, correct?
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Nicholas Pun



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PostSubject: Re: Questions !   Tue May 11, 2010 3:02 pm

yes 2nd year, and i'm pretty sure it's possible, but I think some of us thought that origins would be extremely similar to the type of stuff we do in the isci course.
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Ryan Hopkins



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PostSubject: Re: Questions !   Tue May 11, 2010 3:51 pm

Hmmmm interesting. Me and a buddy (he got into Humanities I at Mac), are trying to decide what to do for electives. What do you guys think? I'm willing to learn something new, but I want it to be interesting...
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Woot
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PostSubject: Re: Questions !   Tue May 11, 2010 5:25 pm

Thanks for the answer Smile It was helpful. Hmm, I have another question. I know ISCI 1A24 covers all sciences, including life sciences, but I was just wondering which life science course it involves. I know there are several different life science courses such as "Cellular and Molecular Biology," "Biodiversity, Evolution and Ecology," "Intro. to Psychology, Neuroscience & Behaviour," and "Foundations of Psychology, Neuroscience & Behaviour" Does ISCI 1A24 contain all of them or just few of them? (I am just trying to figure out how much work is involved) And if there are few of them, doesn't that mean I would have to take more sciences as elective in order to have prerequisites for future? Thanks
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Woot
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PostSubject: Re: Questions !   Tue May 11, 2010 5:53 pm

also, I took a good look at the program schedule, and there were a lot of iConS...I think I know what they are (from what I've heard from may@mac), but I was wondering if you guys have something like fomal lectures (I know you guys don't have as much) during iConS, because you would first have to learn the basics....
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Rachel Charney



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Join date : 2010-01-13

PostSubject: Re: Questions !   Tue May 11, 2010 6:44 pm

Ryan: You'll find that many electives will conflict with iSci, so I would recommend waiting until the timetable comes out before you decide what you want to take, so that you won't be disappointed. Once you see what is available to you, I'm sure that everyone will be happy to recommend electives that they enjoyed, and warn you about electives that they wished they hadn't taken Smile

Woot: If you look at the course calendar the second note lists the courses that are antirequisites to iSci. This means that iSci contains all of the essential material that would be taught in this course, and you will be prepared to take any second year course for which these courses are prerequisites. The Cellular and Molecular Biology course, as well as the Biodiversity, Evolution and Humanity course are covered in iSci. The only exception on the list is psychology; first year iSci does not cover the basics of the first year psych course. However, the psych department has agreed that we will have more than enough knowledge to take any second year psych course in second year iSci without ever having taken PSYCH 1X03 and 1XX3. The link to the iSci page in the course calendar is: http://registrar.mcmaster.ca/CALENDAR/current/pg1804.html

If you find any second year course that requires a first year course that isn't included in 'Note 2', then you would have to take that course as an elective. The only example I can think of right now is Linear Algebra, which is required for some second year math and physics courses, but is not included in iSci. I don't believe that there are other courses like this.

You can't figure out exactly how much work is included in iSci just by looking at the courses that it includes, because iSci doesn't include 100% of each of these courses. Enough is included that you will be prepared for all second year courses, but there also needs to be time for iSci specific course material!

When I think of a 'formal lecture', I imagine a lecture hall full of students, where the class just involves the professor talking for an hour. So in that respect, we do not have any formal lectures. But as you said, we do need to learn the basics, and in first year that is what iConS are used for, which is exactly why there are so many. Each professor has their own teaching style, so iConS are always different, but in general, iConS can be considered lectures - just way more relaxed and enjoyable than lectures in other first year classes. The professors try to make the iConS as interactive as they can, and they are happy to take questions or go over the information if someone is having trouble understanding it.

Later in the year, some of these iConS will be changed to Project iCons. During Project iConS, you have time to work on projects with your group, and professors will only come if students have questions about project material.
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Sarah Drohan



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PostSubject: Re: Questions !   Tue May 11, 2010 6:56 pm

I have an odd question but these are the kind of details I think about. I understand that in first year the iSci course is worth 24 credits and I saw the sample time table with labs, iConS and field trips. It is dissimilar to normal courses in that it does not seem to follow the same day, same room, same time regiment. I was wondering how you know where to go, what time to go there and what to bring if it is all under the same course? Thanks.
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Nicholas Pun



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PostSubject: Re: Questions !   Tue May 11, 2010 8:04 pm

it will be on the online learning client that mcmaster purchases (there will be a calendar). for this year it was on ELM (e-learn @ mac) which was disastrous at the beginning of the year (it didn't load when you needed it to load) and worked well afterwards provided you had a good internet connection. this is also the place they posted our marks some of our assignments, lecture ppts and notes, and an online submission tool if you were unable to attend a class. but to summarize: it will be online
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Krista Stemmler

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PostSubject: Re: Questions !   Tue May 11, 2010 8:16 pm

Hello Sarah,
I'm slightly obsessed with making calendars and to be quite frank this isn't too odd of a question considering the format of iSci. Every week the locations of classes change and sometimes classes are shortened, but all this information is given well in advance online. Some profs just prefer certain classrooms or labs can only be performed in certain rooms. I make a weekly calendar on Google so that I can draw out the schedule, but each person does their own thing.

It may sound difficult or annoying to have different locations depending on the class, but in general we always stick to the same rooms. The online system (we used ELM this year) is uber helpful because it states what each class is, where it is, who is teaching it, and when it occurs. Further, we don't have additional class time outside of what is initially scheduled on the course timetable, thus iSci won't conflict with electives.

I hope that helps.
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Woot
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PostSubject: Re: Questions !   Tue May 11, 2010 10:32 pm

Wow, thanks for the detailed explanations Smile Yeah, making a calender could sound a bit annoying, but I am sure we'll all get used to it Smile Another question, I know you guys have third floor of the thode library. I visited there and it was really nice. The problem is, by the time you guys get to 4th year, there would be around 200 student in integrated science program. Would they all fit in the room? Smile aha
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Fahim Naeem



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PostSubject: Re: Questions !   Tue May 11, 2010 11:25 pm

I'm sure we won't all fit at the same time. But keep in mind, when we are in fourth year, a lot of our courses will not be ISCI courses, so we will have classes at different times and locations, meaning that at some points iStudy will be busier than others. Also, a lot of us (iSci 2013) may be spending our time in labs and other research settings to complete our theses and projects instead of being in the iStudy. I hope that answers your question.
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Jyssika Russell



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PostSubject: Re: Questions !   Wed May 12, 2010 5:28 pm

iStudy (our name for 3rd floor Thode) has been mainly used as an all purpose study room this past year. I'm sure that its use will change as more students are added. I see the biggest benefit and use of iStudy is for all of our group work. We do a lot of group work and have a lot of group work sessions and meetings, and booking a study room for each of those occasions would be really tiring/difficult. I see iStudy becoming a place for more group work in the future.

While others have commented on iSci's "safety", I thought I'd call to attention how much McMaster has put into the program. Mac has put in a great deal of resources (i.e. time and money) into the program. They have renovated all of 3rd floor Thode, as well as hired two full-time profs just for iSci. I personally don't see them scratching the program, as they must have had a lot of faith to dedicate all those resources into building the program.

Also, iSci has always been greatly supported by the Dean of Science, who has personally attended some of our presentations. Support from the dean can be very important in the success of a new program
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Woot
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PostSubject: Re: Questions !   Sun May 16, 2010 9:46 am

hello again, sorry about having so many questions Sad (because I have a few more Razz ) First of all, how involved are you guys in the university? Do you guys all have lots of extra-curricular? or are you too busy to go for extra-curricular? and did you find electives easy (or at least easier than ISCI 1A24?) like did any of you guys end up with crazy mark like 12/12?.......... aha sorry about asking these bothersome questions Razz but I really want to know...lol
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Adam Pantaleo



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PostSubject: Re: Questions !   Sun May 16, 2010 11:16 am

I think everyone will have different answers to those questions. It is definitely possible to be involved in the university and to participate in extra-curriculars. Some people were very involved, I think, while others were not involved at all.

In my opinion, electives for the most part are much easier than iSci. =P

And although we haven't received our final marks yet, in terms of mid-year marks, yes, there were 12s.
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James SeongJun Han
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PostSubject: Re: Questions !   Mon May 17, 2010 10:59 pm

hey guys, hmmm I was just wondering, how difficult is Scientific Literacy? because even the name of it kinda scares me a bit Razz
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Scot Brown

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PostSubject: Re: Questions !   Mon May 17, 2010 11:45 pm

the professor in charge of scientific literacy is changing next year, which might make the course a bit different. during 2009/10 Sci Lit was tinkered with extensively because there are no comparable courses, and I suspect that this will continue into next year. generally Sci Lit is not overly hard, but can get on the nerves of people who do not enjoy or excel at reading and writing. although it can sound scary, I assure you it is not. Class is only 2 hours a week, and you will usually (not always) have a (small) weekly assignment.
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Prateek Gupta
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PostSubject: Re: Questions !   Tue May 18, 2010 12:24 am

don't worry about sci lit. it's going to be completely different from our experience, they are overhauling the curriculum for it, so we can't really give you much advice on the new format of it.
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James SeongJun Han
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PostSubject: Re: Questions !   Tue May 18, 2010 7:36 am

when you say different format, would that be a good thing or a bad thing?
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Krista Stemmler

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PostSubject: Re: Questions !   Tue May 18, 2010 10:30 am

For sure a good thing. The profs have taken the students advice on what needs to change along with what the profs want out of SciLit to rewrite the course. It should end up being a darn good class.
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Peanutbu
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PostSubject: Re: Questions !   Fri May 21, 2010 10:24 am

hey guys, I was just wondering how well iSci students did compared to other programs (life sci or health sci, or etc), in terms of average. Smile I know it depends on individuals, but as a group, which range would you guys belong in 70s or 80s or 90s range?

sorry, I know this sort of sounds personal, but I need to know, because (regardless of how much I enjoy science) I don't know if it would be a wise idea to work really really hard and get a 70....Smile
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Scot Brown

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PostSubject: Re: Questions !   Fri May 21, 2010 10:52 am

ermm... can't say I know of the average, but the people who work hard in iSci (you know who you are, and coincidentally I am not one of them) generally have 11s and 12s in the iSci disciplines (an average above 85 is an 11 and above 90 is a 12). so if you are a studious and responsible person (once again unlike me) you can get the high marks you may want or need for professional schools and post graduate programs.
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Fahim Naeem



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PostSubject: Re: Questions !   Fri May 21, 2010 11:40 am

As Scot said, if you put in the effort and take your work seriously, successful will follow. You shouldn't really worry about working really really hard and then ending up with a 70. If you work that hard, your marks will reflect it.
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