FAQs

M.Binf. Program

Is there an application deadline for the M.Binf. program?

Yes. Applications are due by March 31st each calendar year, for entrance into the program in September of the same year. Depending on how many offers are made after this first deadline, it is possible that a second round of applications will be considered in the summer of the same calendar year. Applications submitted after March 31st and before July 15th will only be considered for academically outstanding students.

I have some general questions about the application process for graduate programs at the University of Guelph. Is there a place where can I find some answers?

Many of your questions have undoubtedly been asked by other students. Please visit the Graduate and Postdoctoral Studies: Frequently Asked Questions website.

What documents do I need to submit for my M.Binf. application?

The program requires your OUAC application, unofficial transcripts and any relevant supporting documents, and two referee assessment forms with your application.  A CV and/or statement of interest are optional, but we encourage you to include these with your application.

I am an international student. How do I apply for a study permit? Can I apply for a student permit with a conditional offer of admission?

Please use the official offer of admission that you received from the Office of Graduate Studies to apply for your study permit. You can apply for a study permit with a conditional offer of admission. You may contact the University of Guelph International Student Advisor, Megan Sager, with questions about your transition to the University of Guelph.

I have accepted my offer in WebAdvisor. How do I register and select courses, and pay tuition, etc.?

Please see the Schedule of Dates in the Graduate Calendar to see when course selection opens/ends.  The Registration Guideline will guide you through the registration process.

I have accepted my offer in WebAdvisor. Where do I send my final transcripts?  Do they have to be submitted before I can register and begin classes?

Official and final transcripts may be submitted to the Office of Graduate and Postdoctoral Studies (OGPS) before the 14th class day of the Fall semester.  Please see the Schedule of Dates for academic deadlines. Students who do not submit their final transcript in time will be required to defer their application to the following year.

When can I start the M.Binf. program?

Students can only start the M.Binf. program on September 1st each calendar year.

Will I be funded during my M.Binf. degree?

No, M.Binf. students do not receive a minimum stipend.

Will I have the opportunity to apply for graduate teaching assistantships (GTA) during my M.Binf. degree?

The Bioinformatics program itself has no teaching assistantships available to students. However, it is a campus-wide policy that any student enrolled in a graduate program at Guelph can apply for a GTA; however, there is no guarantee that you will receive a GTA. For a complete list of GTA positions available on campus, please go to: Available TA Positions.

Am I eligible for scholarships and awards?

There are a number of graduate awards available at the University of Guelph. For a complete list of these awards, please go to: Graduate Award Search.

Can I do a Ph.D. in Bioinformatics after completing the M.Binf. program?

Absolutely. Many students who have graduated from the M.Binf. program have gone on to do a Ph.D. in bioinformatics or a related field.

Do I need to find an advisor before applying to the M.Binf. program?

No, you are not required to secure an advisor prior to applying to the M.Binf. program. In fact, we actively discourage you from securing an advisor before you begin the program.

Will I have a faculty advisor during my M.Binf. program?

Yes. In fact, each student in M.Binf. program will have 2 faculty advisors for their independent research project course (BINF*6999). One faculty member will typically have a “life sciences” background, while the other faculty member will typically have a “computational / statistical” background.

During the first semester of the program, students will be provided with a list of faculty who have expressed interest supervising a M.Binf. student by submitting a research project proposal to the BINF*6999 course instructor. Students will then need to interact independently with these faculty members. Once a M.Binf. student has secured the first faculty advisor, the second faculty advisor will be identified with the help of the first faculty advisor.

When do I need to secure my faculty advisors in the M.Binf. program?

Students will begin to interact with faculty members towards the end of the first semester / beginning of the second semester. Students will have finalized who their faculty advisors are by January 31st of each calendar year.

Do I have to take courses during my M.Binf. degree?

Yes, you will be required to take courses. Students are required to take a minimum of 4.0 course credits, which must include BINF*6110, BINF*6210, BINF*6890, BINF*6970, and BINF*6999. The student has many options available for the additional credits required.

Can I be paid by my faculty advisors for work that I do in my BINF*6999 independent research project?

No, students may not receive funding from their advisors or any other faculty member in support of the research they are carrying out as part of BINF*6999 course.

Can I extend my BINF*6999 into a fourth semester?

Yes, this is possible. Some students, in agreement with their faculty advisors, may decide that the scope of their independent research project can be extended into a 4th semester. Details regarding extending BINF*6999 will be provided to students by the course instructor.

Can I work part-time during the M.Binf. program?

Yes, you are free to work part-time during the M.Binf. program. There are lab jobs available on campus that may enhance and complement your experiences in the M.Binf. program. However, you are not allowed to be paid for any work related to the BINF*6999 course.

M.Sc. and Ph.D. programs

Is there an application deadline for the M.Sc. and Ph.D. programs?

There is no application deadline for these programs. However, applicants are strongly encouraged to have secured a faculty advisor prior to submitting an application to the University.

What documents do I need to submit for my M.Sc. or Ph.D. application?

These programs require your OUAC application, unofficial transcripts and any relevant supporting documents, and two referee assessment forms with your application.  A CV and/or statement of interest are optional, but we encourage you to include these with your application.

Do I need to find an advisor before applying to the program?

It is highly recommended that students who apply to either the M.Sc. or Ph.D. programs secure an advisor prior to submitting their application. While a student can apply to the program without securing an advisor, please note that you will not be accepted into either the M.Sc. or Ph.D. programs without an advisor who has agreed to pay your salary.

How do I find an advisor for the M.Sc. or Ph.D. program?

As with most graduate research programs, students must reach out to faculty directly to identify an advisor. The bioinformatics program at the University of Guelph does not provide you with any assistance connecting with potential M.Sc. or Ph.D. advisors. The list of approved bioinformatics graduate faculty at the University of Guelph can be found on this website.

When can I start the M.Sc. or Ph.D. programs?

Students can begin these programs January 1st, May 1st, and September 1st each year. Please note that offers of admission will only be issued in cases where a member of Bioinformatics Graduate Faculty has agreed to be the advisor.

Will I be funded during my M.Sc. / Ph.D. degree?

Yes, students can expect to receive a stipend when enrolled in either the M.Sc. or Ph.D. degree. The funding scheme for the student will depend on the department/college to which your faculty advisor belongs. For example, if the student’s faculty advisor is in the College of Biological Sciences, then the student’s funding scheme will abide by the rules of this college.

Will I have the opportunity to apply for graduate teaching assistantships (GTA) during my M.Sc. / Ph.D. degree?

Similar to the funding scheme, GTAs are handled according to the rules and regulations established in the department / college of your faculty advisor. Therefore, your ability to apply for GTAs will depend on the department / college to which your faculty advisor belongs.

Am I eligible for scholarships and awards?

There are a number of graduate awards available at the University of Guelph. For a complete list of these awards, please go to: Graduate Award Search. Please note that the application process will depend on the department / college to which your faculty advisor belongs. All students can apply for external scholarships managed by provincial and federal funding agencies (e.g., NSERC, CIHR, OGS, etc).

Do I have to take courses during my M.Sc. or Ph.D. program?

Yes, you will be required to take courses.

For the M.Sc. program, students are required to take a minimum of 2.0 course credits, which must include BINF*6110 and BINF*6210. The student’s advisory committee may require additional courses be taken.

For the Ph.D. program, students are required to take BINF*6500. This course is typically taken in the first year of graduate work and lasts 2 semesters. The student’s advisory committee may require that additional courses be taken.

Can I fast track from the M.Sc. program to the Ph.D. program?

Yes, students can switch to the Ph.D. program during their M.Sc. program. This can only happen if the student, the faculty advisor, and members of the graduate advisory committee are all in agreement. If everyone is in agreement, then this switch must happen during the student’s 4th semester of the M.Sc. program.

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