The earliest opportunity for me to take an un-funded graduate student would be May 2020.
Graduate school is a great opportunity to perform research and experience firsthand every step of the scientific process. In addition to this familiarity with science, you build core skills that are among a scientist's most transferrable: the ability to rapidly become knowledgeable in a new field, communicate that knowledge, and adapt to changes in that field. Graduate students are the core of the lab. They are expected to take ownership of their projects, work (largely) independently, think critically, actively seek out opportunities to expand their knowledge and skills, and be engaged in the projects of their colleagues as well as the academic community of their discipline.
Potential graduate students are encouraged to reach out to me, but must keep in mind that in order to be accepted they must meet all the requirements of the program they are applying to. I can currently take on students through the programs of Medical Sciences or Biochemistry, although some interdisciplinary research programs may also accomodate your application. As a general rule, graduate programs at McMaster absolutely require a BSc, with a B+ average in your last full-year's worth of relevant courses (e.g. science/research). Some exceptions may apply for applicants with 5+ years of relevant work experience.
MSc: A 2-yr program with a light courseload (~2 courses over two years) and heavy emphasis on research. An MSc student is guaranteed an annual stipend of ~$24,000, but is responsible for their own tuition & fees (~$8000). Due to the extremely high costs of tuition for international students ($17,096) relative to funding for MSc students, I cannot in good conscience consider applicants who are not Canadian or Permanent Residents unless they bring with them sufficient additional funding (>$3000/y) to ensure a reasonable standard of living.
PhD: A 4-yr program with a light-to-non-existent courseload (0-2 courses over 4 years) and heavy emphasis on research. Typically requires an MSc, although exceptional students with lab research experience may apply directly to a PhD program in Biochemistry from their BSc. A PhD student is guaranteed an annual stipend of ~$25,500 , but is responsible for their own tuition & fees (~$8000). Note that PhD students on a visa at McMaster now pay domestic tuition fees (Source).