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Community Engagement

CityLAB Semester in Residence – FAQs & Application

CityLAB Semester in Residence logo.

Please read through the FAQs for applying to CityLAB Semester in Residence before applying.

If you have any questions, please contact Randy Kay, Outreach Director for Semester in Residence at


Applying to CityLAB Semester in Residence

There is a course outline, which is often updated after each semester. The course outline will include grading. Previous course outlines are available to view.

Overloading is possible, however, it is not recommended since the workload for the 15 units is intensive and demanding. If you want to overload, you can check with your program for approval should you wish to add a course.

If you’ve been approved, register for both courses at the same time, for a total 15 units (if you only register for one of the courses at a time you won’t be able to enroll).

Planning ahead is a great idea, but the permission phase only happens as part of the application process. You will have to wait until the year you apply for the permissions process to activate.

CMTYENGA 4A06 / CMTYENGA 4A09 cannot be taken as standalone courses; they must be taken together as a full 15-units as part of the broader CityLAB Semester in Residence program.

You have some time to enroll since you are already approved to join the SIR. You can enroll any time before the start of term.

At present, the Semester in Residence is only offered in the fall term (September to December).

The Semester at CityLAB courses are meant to be immersive experiences and will not necessarily fit everyone’s program requirements. Depending on your program, you may be able to use all or part of the credits towards your degree requirements, you should discuss this option as early as possible with the academic advisor within your Faculty.

Once we review applications we will let you know if you have been accepted into the program (mid-June). McMaster students accepted into the program will be provided with course permission and will be able to register as usual using Mosaic after they have been accepted. Redeemer students are encouraged to meet with Kim Lammers, Registrar ( to discuss available options. Redeemer students need a 7.0 cumulative GPA (70 or B-) to be eligible. If you have difficulties with the application form, please email Randy Kay, Outreach Director for Semester in Residence at

These classes are for passionate, motivated, and enthusiastic students who want to learn from the community, apply their studies to make positive change, and expand their personal and professional networks. Students in any faculty from McMaster or Redeemer are welcome to apply. We recommend that applicants speak with their academic advisors as soon as possible to see how they can incorporate the CityLAB courses into their program requirements. Students who have the following qualities will thrive in this course:

  • Self-starter
  • Strong leadership and teamwork skills
  • Comfort with uncertainty
  • Willingness to experiment
  • Adaptable
  • Curious


Semester at CityLAB is an intensive experience that will see you working on real challenges alongside the City of Hamilton, helping to make positive change for our city. Your city-building adventure begins September 2021!

This course is open to students from all faculties at McMaster University and Redeemer University who will be enrolled in Year 3 or above.

Please Note: The form cannot be saved if only partially completed, so please review the questions and consider your answers prior to beginning the form.

Inside CityLAB Semester in Residence

Semester in Residence students are expected to be available during regular City of Hamilton work hours, Monday to Friday 9 AM to 5 PM – A more detailed breakdown of hours will be developed and shared before the start of the term.

City of Hamilton staff submits a broad range of projects and challenges for students to work on throughout the year. We work with City staff and faculty to scope out appropriate projects for the Fall Semester in Residence program and a final list of approved projects will be presented in early September. The projects will be co-created between City staff, faculty members, and students, so they will change depending on specific interests, as long as they align with the City’s Strategic Priorities. Here’s a link to past projects and final reports.

Semester in Residence students in the program are assigned to Projects by the Instruction team, based on skills, interests, and to ensure interdisciplinary teams.

Currently, CityLAB SIR takes place remotely to comply with COVID-19 safety standards, using Microsoft Teams as a central learning platform.

Prior to COVID-19, the semester finds its home in downtown Hamilton in the CityLAB innovation hub, right beside City Hall at 58 Jackson Street West.

Our core teaching team is made up of an interdisciplinary team of educators:

Yes, as we found when we went ahead with a virtual semester in the fall of 2020. Given that face-to-face community engagement is impossible during this phase of the COVID-19 pandemic, learning and experimenting with ways to engage are valuable and viable.