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.
I completed my previous degree(s) outside of Canada. How do I determine my eligibility and my approximate Ontario-equivalent GPA from those studies?
Please look at the International Credential Guidelines and select the country your previous degree was in to determine information regarding eligibility and approximate GPA. Please note that your previous educational institution(s) must be accredited in order for your application to be considered.
I am an international applicant. Do I need to submit English proficiency test scores?
English proficiency test scores are not required for applicants whose first language is English. For applicants who speak English as a second or additional language, you may request consideration for a waiver of the English language requirement after you submit your application if you have successfully completed a Bachelor's or Master's university degree in English in Canada. In all other situations, an English proficiency test score is required 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 with questions about your transition to the University of Guelph.
I am an international student. Can I apply for a post-graduation work permit once I complete one of the programs?
Please contact the University of Guelph International Student Advisor for information regarding post-graduation work permits.
I have been out of school for a while now. Can I use professional references instead of academic references?
Yes, if you have relevant work experience, you are welcome to use professional references instead of academic references. Remember that your references should be able to speak of your research potential and other skills relevant to the graduate program you are applying to.
Is there an application deadline for the M.Binf. program?
Yes. Applications are due by the last day of February 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 the last day of February and before June 15th will only be considered for academically outstanding domestic prospective students. For the September 2023 intake, we will be considering applications received up to February 28, 2023, on a rolling basis.
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/resume and statement of research interest are required effective for the September 2022 intake.
*Please do not upload Exam Marksheets - transcripts are required.
My previous degree program is not listed as one of the eligible programs. How can I determine if my previous degree meets the eligibility requirements?
Degree program names and even courses taken vary by institution. The admissions team would be looking for courses in the biological sciences within your transcript, specifically molecular biology and genetics. Additionally, you should have taken at least one statistics course (for credit).
In addition, for international institutions, please refer to the country in the International Credential Guidelines to determine the equivalency of your previous degree.
What is meant by a Statement of Research Intent?
When applying to M.Binf., you will be prompted to submit a Statement of Research Intent as part of your application package.
This document can be thought of as a cover letter for the program you wish to apply to. As such, a Statement of Research Intent typically discusses:
- The area(s) of Bioinformatics research you are particularly interested in and your career goals
- How your academic and other experiences make you a suitable candidate for the Bioinformatics graduate program you are applying for
- How the Bioinformatics graduate program will help you to achieve your career goals
- Why you believe this particular graduate program at the University of Guelph is the most ideal for pursuing your career goals
The Statement of Research Intent should be structured as a 500-word short essay.
I received my offer letter for the M.Binf. program, why does it say the "expected completion period of program" is 6 semesters?
The 6 semesters is the overall program duration at the University across all Master's programs, so that language is standard in all letters. While the MBINF program is designed to be completed in 3-4 semesters, students may complete a Master's program over 6 semesters if they wish to do so, such as if a student wishes to take extra courses, with approval from the Graduate Coordinator. It is essential to take the core courses prior to BINF*6999.
I have accepted my offer in WebAdvisor. How do I register and select courses, and pay tuition, etc.?
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. Please do not upload Exam Marksheets - transcripts are required.
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 of the MBINF program?
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 of the MBINF program (the BINF*6999 course would then be two semesters long instead of one semester long). 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.
Can I work full-time during the M.Binf. program?
It is strongly discouraged to attempt to work full-time while completing the M.Binf. program, as it is a full-time graduate program. Students who would like to pursue graduate studies part-time may wish to consider the M.Sc. in Bioinformatics; note that a stipend may not be provided for part-time M.Sc. students.
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 required to have secured a faculty advisor prior to submitting an application to the University. Interested candidates are encouraged
to apply at least four months prior to the intended start date (6-8 months prior for international applicants).
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.
*Please do not upload Exam Marksheets - transcripts are required.
Do I need to find an advisor before applying to the program?
Yes, students who apply to either the M.Sc. or Ph.D. programs must secure an advisor prior to submitting their application. For the M.Sc. and Ph.D. programs, applicants will only be considered if they have an agreed advisor. Please take a look at our tips for finding a M.Sc. or Ph.D. supervisor.
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. Please take a look at our tips for finding a M.Sc. or Ph.D. supervisor.
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. See the Funding page for more details.
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.