Department of Molecular and Cellular Biology - Graduate Programs

Program Information for Future Students      Visit the Department

The MCB graduate program offers opportunities for interdisciplinary studies in molecular and cellular biology leading to the MSc and PhD degrees.

Students pursue research in an area of emphasis linked to their faculty advisor's research. The five areas of emphasis are:
- Biochemistry
- Cell Biology
- Microbiology
- Plant Biology
- Molecular Biology and Genetics

Faculty in Molecular and Cellular Biology also participate in the interdepartmental programs in Bioinformatics, Biophysics and the collaborative programs in Neuroscience and Toxicology.

The research groups directed by the faculty are engaged in the pursuit of fundamental and applied research questions involving diverse biological systems (plants, humans and other animals, prokaryotic and eukaryotic microbes). In general, they follow lines of scientific enquiry at the level of molecules to cells.

Please see the Graduate Studies website for additional information.

Graduate Financial Support

All graduate students are guaranteed financial support through research assistantships, teaching assistantships and/or internal/external scholarships. Students with insufficient command of the English language, however, may not qualify for a Teaching Assistantship.
Tri-council scholarship holders are eligible for a top up award.
More information regarding graduate stipends is available in the MCB Graduate Studies Handbook.

Admission Requirements

Applications for the program will be considered at any time and admission may be granted for entry in January, May or September.

M.Sc. Program:

Applicants must have completed a four-year honours undergraduate degree (or its equivalent) in a relevant discipline. Normally, the applicant must have achieved a “B” (75%) average or higher during the last two years of full-time study. In exceptional circumstances, students with a “B-minus” average (70%) will be considered provided there is strong supporting evidence of research aptitude and potential.

Ph.D. Program:

There are three pathways for admission:

    1. Students who have achieved an "A-minus" (80%) average or higher during the last two years of full-time study while completing a four-year honours BSc program (or its equivalent) and who provide evidence of research aptitude and potential based on laboratory research experience may apply to enter the PhD program directly, or
    2. An MSc student may apply to transfer to the PhD program before completing the MSc degree. To be eligible for transfer, the student must have completed a high quality undergraduate degree with a grade average of B+ or higher. Before applying for transfer to the PhD program students must complete courses MCB*6500 (Research Topics in Molecular and Cellular Biology) plus an additional course with at least 0.5 graduate course credit, attaining an overall A minus average (at least 80%). Applications for transfer must be approved by the end of the fourth semester in the MSc program.
    3. Applicants may have completed a recognized Masters degree in a relevant discipline with a minimum academic standing of "A-minus" (80%).
    Applicants whose first language is not English will be required to submit an English Language Certification.  See Language Requirements.

    Applicants must obtain the support of a faculty member willing to serve as their thesis advisor. We strongly recommend that potential graduate students contact faculty members who share their research interests BEFORE completing and submitting an official application form. A list of graduate faculty in the department is available here

    To assist our faculty in making a selection from the pool of interested students, we suggest you include in your correspondence the following:

      a) courses completed (plus the mark received)
      b) relevant research and/or work experience you have, and with whom
      c) whether you have a scholarship
      d) two or three academic or research references
      e) the reason for contacting our particular faculty

How to Apply

Prospective students should apply through the Office of the Associate Dean Research (ADR) at the College of Biological Science: CBS Graduate Admissions Secretary:

Before submitting an application, applicants are strongly encouraged to view the "Before you Apply" and "Admission Process" webpages on the ADR Future Student's site. Complete application instructions may also be found on the Office of Graduate Studies webpage or in the Graduate Calendar.