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Glossary of Important Terms

Becoming familiar with these terms will help when you go through the registration process as well as keeping your Student Account in good standing.

Account inquiry – Your student Account Inquiry displays a record of financial activity pertaining to you as a student. It is available 24/7 online through MOSAIC MOSAIC/Student Center/Finances. Students are responsible for reviewing all activity and balances regularly (we recommend monthly) Note: For students whose parents are involved in the payment of fees, we encourage you to include them in viewing your account regularly, as McMaster does not mail out invoices or statements.


Dropped courses – Any course dropped before the last day to add courses (Drop & Add deadline) within a term. Dropped courses are removed from your student record, and although are not subject to cancellation fees, may have financial consequences (i.e. reduce OSAP entitlement, loss of entrance scholarship, or adjusted supplementary fees)

Cancelled courses – Any course cancelled after the last day to add courses (Drop & Add deadline) within a term. Cancelled courses remain on your student record and are indicated as cancelled. Cancelled courses are subject to cancellation fees, and may have other financial consequences (i.e. reduced OSAP entitlement, loss of entrance scholarship or adjusted supplementary fees).

Fees – Fees refer to all tuition, supplementary, residence and meal plan, miscellaneous charges. For a breakdown of these fees please go to the Fee tile on our web site

Enrolled – You are enrolled as soon as you have selected and confirmed your course selections.

MOSAIC – MOSAIC is the main McMaster hub where students can access and manage their academic and financial success. By logging on, students will land on their home page containing targeted messaging and access to Avenue to Learn. There, they will find their Student Center (enrollment / financial) and Student Guide (information / links) .

Student Center (tab within MOSAIC)– Here you have access to everything to do with your academics, finances, and personal information. You can enroll, review and make payments to your student account, update personal contact information and more. From here you can also set up direct deposit for refunds, print reimbursement letters, invoices and much more.

Mandatory supplementary fees – these are non-refundable fees that help to support services available to students throughout the year. These fees are charged based on MSU/MAPS membership and are included in the amounts shown on our fees schedules. (Please see Tuition & Supplementary Fee Breakdown)

* MSU - McMaster Student’s Union (MSU) supplementary fees: These are mandatory fees assessed for students registered in 18 or more units at ANY time during a session, even if you drop/cancel back down below 18 units at a later date.

* McMaster Association of Part Time Students (MAPS) Supplementary Fees: These fees are assessed as long as you are registered and remain in 17 units or less at all times during the entire session (this includes cancelled courses).

Overload – Tuition fees are charged to a maximum of 30 units (33 for Engineering) as long as you remain enrolled within your required course load. Enrollment in more than the required course load, including cancelled courses (see definition above) will be assessed extra overload fees and are subject to cancellation fees.

Payment Methods
– McMaster University accepts a variety of methods of payment. The preferred method of payment is Online/telephone/Teller banking (made through your bank’s web site/call centre or at your branch). Please see Payment Methods for more options and details.

– The process whereby a student enrolls in a study plan and/or courses in their student center in MOSAIC.
Term – A term is a period of study within the academic year. For example, the Fall undergraduate term runs from September to December, the Winter term runs from January to April and the Spring/Summer terms run from May to August.

– A session is a period of study within a term. The Spring/Summer undergraduate term, for example, contains two sessions: Session 1 runs from May to June and Session 2 runs from July to August.
Undergraduate Student – An undergraduate student is a student enrolled in a study plan leading to a Bachelor’s Degree or to the degree of Doctor of Medicine.

UHIP - University Health Insurance Plan
– Health Insurance Plan that is required for all International Students.

– Units define the number of credits associated with a course. A unit is roughly equivalent to one lecture hour per week for one term or two hours of laboratories or seminars per week for one term. Three unit courses are usually one term in length where six unit courses are usually two terms.