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On-Campus residency

Students in the Master of Communications Management (MCM) Program will attend three six-day on-campus residencies at McMaster University per year (mid-October, February, and June). Each residency period runs for six days from Saturday to Thursday with classes held between 8:00 am – 5:00 pm. Upcoming residencies are scheduled for:

  • Saturday, February 15th to Thursday, February 20th, 2020
  • Saturday, June 20th to Thursday, June 25th, 2020
  • Saturday, October 10th to Thursday, October 15th, 2020

Purpose of MCM residencies

The MCM residencies are a magical, intense time that provide students with hands-on learning experiences and the opportunity to forge in-person connections with their professors and cohort. The learning intensive residency schedules have students participating in lectures, special presentations, field trips, and group work. Each residency allows you to:

  • Interact with faculty, staff, and peers from a variety of backgrounds and geographies.
  • Meet with faculty members as they offer a functional overview of their course and guidelines.
  • Learn the skills necessary to work most effectively during the independent study and online interaction.
  • Expand your learning with experiential education activities.
  • Network during complimentary social events.
  • Balance Your mind and body with complimentary personal training sessions and healthy meals.

View a sample online schedule


Work-life balance

We know that most of our students have busy professional and personal lives. We recognize and meet the specialized needs, areas of interest, and schedules of today’s professional communicators. As a result, the MCM program uses a hybrid approach of brief on-campus residencies and online learning to allow for greater flexibility in work-life scheduling. The decision to pursue a master’s degree, while continuing to work full time, is a significant personal and professional decision. You may be studying in the MCM program for a number of reasons including professional development, career advancement, improved managerial skills and acumen, expanded business networks, or post-secondary teaching opportunities. Whatever your goals, we promise to support you before, during and after you complete your degree with us. 


Adjusting to the academic mindset

People from all walks of life study in the MCM program. Your cohort will include professionals from private, public, non-profit and for-profit sectors, scholars and researchers, and parents with young families. You will have to identify the priorities in your own personal and professional life and how to balance them with your educational journey. Remember that you’re not alone, and when life happens our faculty and your cohort will be there to support you. Here are some strategies our alumni and students have found useful for their MCM journey:

  • Set a regular weekly schedule for readings, lectures, and assignments–and stick to it.
  • Be ready to give up some leisure time. If you regularly set aside two hours Tuesday evenings to watch television, dedicate that time to studying instead.
  • Keep in contact with your cohort. Set up a Facebook group or find other ways to keep in regular contact throughout your MCM program.
  • Recognize that it is natural to feel the imposter syndrome but understand that you belong. If you feel out-of-place or anxious, talk to your professors or peers; someone else is likely feeling the same way.

Social events at MCM residency

We know that learning only begins in the classroom. That’s why we have three events that are held at every residency: the Saturday Night Residency Gala Dinner,  the MCM-CPRS Hamilton Master Class and the Alla Prossima Cocktail.

All three of these have become a tradition that students look forward to.

The Saturday Night Residency Gala Dinner is a somewhat formal dinner held in a beautiful setting that showcases the Hamilton and Niagara Region. In the past, we have held this special dinner at the Hamilton Club, Rousseau House, the Ancaster Mill, Rosewood Estates Winery, Peller Estates Winery and Trius Winery. We have a keynote speaker at each dinner, some of whom are listed below.

The MCM-CPRS Hamilton Master Class is a chance for an industry master to take the students on a deep dive in their specialization. We have experts come and speak to us on many different topics, ranging from analytics to market research, journalism to brand communication, artificial intelligence to personal brand management. We hold the Master Class jointly with our partners at CPRS Hamilton, Southwestern Ontario’s premier professional association for communications practitioners.

The Alla Prossima Cocktail is held on the terrace (when weather permits) at The Phoenix, which is McMaster’s beautiful graduate student pub. This casual early evening event is a chance for both the first year and second year cohorts as well as faculty, TAs and staff to mix and mingle in a relaxed atmosphere (the Phoenix looks a lot like Hogwarts) and get to know each other. It is always a lovely evening, full of warm conversation and anticipation of the end of residency.

The Residency Gala Dinner Keynote and the MCM-CPRS Hamilton Master Class are great ways of honouring the many industry masters in the public relations, journalism, advertising, marketing and data science/market research fields. The two speaker series have attracted a who’s who of Canadian professionals and entrepreneurs. Just to name a few: Linda Kuhn, Linda Andross, Tina McCorkindale, Terry O’Reilly, John Clinton, John Delacourt, Andrew Laing, Neil Parmenter, Jonathon Harris, Nik Nanos, Terry Fallis, Elaine Kunda, Christine Szustaczek, MCM, Frank Vassallo, MCM, Tanya Seajay, MCM, and many others!

Special residency events

The MCM program provides our students with special professional development events during each on-campus residency. These events provide networking and learning opportunities for MCM students, faculty and alumni and often feature a high profile guest speaker.

Previous events have included: 

  • A dinner at Trius Winery in Niagara-on-the-Lake to honour outgoing program director, Dr. Alex Sévigny, APR
  • A dinner at Peller Estates Winery to honour outgoing program director and founder, Dr. Terry Flynn, APR, FCPRS.
  • A dinner at Spencer’s by the Waterfront in Burlington, Ontario, sponsored by CNW Group to honour outgoing Dean of Business Paul Bates, a great supporter of the MCM
  • A guest lunch lecture by Terry Fallis, a partner in the leading public relations firm Thornley Fallis and best-selling author of The Best Laid Plans, winner of the 2010 Leacock Award.
  • A guest lunch lecture by Linda Kuhn, senior vice-president (communications and consumer affairs), Maple Leaf Foods
  • Special graduation lunches for each outgoing MCM cohort, on the day of their convocation, with their families proudly in attendance.